You are on page 1of 8

1

Daniel Forster
Dr. Habte Woldu
IMS 3310.004
14 October 2015

Daniel Forster
Dr. Habte Woldu
IMS 3310.004
14 October 2015
BlueGreen Alliance
For decades, environmentalists and labor unions have feuded over which battle is the
most important: the battle against climate change, or the battle against the struggling economy
and unemployment? Environmentalists focus on the battle that the world fights with itself against
global warming and deforestation. With CO2 emissions at an all time high and controversial
practices like fracking taking place all over the US, environmentalist organizations like the Sierra
Club are committed to combat the destructive nature of these massive industries. (Sierra). The
fight against these industries creates tension between the environmental organizations and the
companies that are employing thousands of employees and profiting from oil and industrial
manufacturing. Environmentalists argue that continuing on the path of big business without
regard for the sustainability of its practices will be the downfall of the world economy.
Meanwhile, the companies that are in the industries of oil, industrial manufacturing, and mass
agriculture argue that changing the infrastructure of these industries could be detrimental to the
economy because it would cause massive job loss in these industries. The problem with this
conflict between the environmentalists and the big businesses is that they are both correct in their
arguments. Nevertheless, something must be done in order to sustain the world that we live in,
but the world also must figure out a way to make changes without destroying the economy.
In 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance was created in coalition with the United Steelworkers
and the Sierra Club to focus on environmental policy and quantity and quality of jobs in the
emerging green economy (Ball 155). The BlueGreen Associations addresses four main issues in

its work. The first is to increase investments in clean energy sources which will help create
new green jobs, reduce global warming, help make the US more energy independent. The second
concern is addressing climate change by pushing a comprehensive legislation which can help
create new jobs and reduce polluting emissions. The third is a renewal of Americas middle class
by increasing trade and jobs located in the US. The fourth concern addresses control of toxic
chemicals and the development of environmentally safer alternatives through what it calls
green chemistry (Ball 155).
One major step that the BlueGreen Alliance has taken towards increasing investments in
clean energy sources was the Apollo Alliance Project. In 2011, Apollo Alliance teamed up with
the BlueGreen Alliance with a mission to create millions of jobs in the United States in the
industry of green energy. According to their mission statement, This powerful merged
organization will continue to partner with labor unions, environmental groups, businesses and
community organizations to advance a bold vision of how America create good jobs, reduce
pollution and our dependence on foreign oil, and ensure America is a leader in the 21st century
economy. (BlueGreen). The Apollo Alliance envisioned The New Apollo Program. This 10year, $500 billion investment plan aims to create 5 million good-paying, green-collar jobs and
broadly shared prosperity while helping to solve the climate crisis, the energy crisis, and the
economic crisis facing our nation. (Apollo). The first installment of this plan is called the
Apollo Economic Recovery Act. This Act provides funding of $50 Billion to create 650,000 direct
jobs and an additional 1.3 million indirect jobs across the country. This act also provides training
for 300,000 more Americans to increase participation in the green energy industry. All of the
training is carried out through education programs, workforce development, and apprenticeships.
(Apollo). This portion of the Apollo Economic Recovery Act directly correlates with the

BlueGreen Alliances first issue that it vows to address referring to the creating of jobs in the
green energy industry.
The second issue that the BlueGreen alliance mentioned in their mission statement was to
address climate change by pushing a comprehensive legislation which can help create new jobs
and reduce polluting emissions. (Ball 155). The Apollo Recovery Act plans to do this by raising
$6 billion to invest in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. The idea is to rebuild
Americas infrastructure to create a more sustainable and energy efficient country. This act also
calls for the investment of $900 million to fully fund the Weatherization Assistance Program,
which would be used for weatherization of low-income households. This alone would create
136,000 jobs and provide $3.3 billion in energy savings and other benefits to low-income
communities. (Apollo). In addition, The New Apollo Program also calls for $11 billion to be
invested in transmission grids in order to better connect consumers to renewable energy
resources, improve reliability and efficiency, enhance emergency response, and reduce the
systems vulnerability to natural disaster and attack. (Apollo). This investment would also
create 130,000 direct and indirect jobs and create a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions across the
country. Public transit is also addressed in this proposal. An investment of $6 billion investment
in intracity rail, regional rail, Amtrak systems, and bicycle/pedestrian facilities would create a
more energy efficient system and create 246,000 jobs. One final proposal that Apollo Alliance
makes is that $8 billion be invested in fixing the crumbling bridges and roads in the United
States. Apollo Alliance chooses to focus on this type of fix-it-first strategy because it would
not require further deforestation in order to create highways, but would work to rebuild the worn
down roads that have poor traffic flow, leading to less fuel consumption. This investment, while
also reducing fuel emissions in the future, would also create 246,000 jobs. These investments in

rebuilding infrastructure line up perfectly with BlueGreen Alliances goal to create a more energy
efficient country.
BlueGreen Alliances third goal was to create a stronger middle-class by creating jobs.
The New Apollo Program directly reflects the third goal. The program looks to create a total of
1.3 million new jobs. Unemployment is often the catalyst in creating a weak middle class. With
these now jobs being created, 1.3 million people could be put back to work in well paying
positions. To take it into perspective, as of October 2014, just under 9 million people were
unemployed in the United States in total. 1.3 million jobs is the equivalent of 21% of the total
unemployment in this country (US). A project that could reduce the unemployment of this
country by 21% would have a profound impact on our middle class. However, it is also
important to analyze how many jobs would be lost from the industries that would become
extinct. API has reported that 9.8 million direct and indirect jobs are established in the industry
of US gas and oil. This is 5.6% of the total employment in the US. (OilPro).Of course,
transitioning the US towards energy efficiency would not immediately eliminate these jobs from
existence, but over time there would be less demand for workers in gas and oil. This could be
considered a major downside to the work that BlueGreen is trying to get done. However, as the
industry of green energy grows, the demand for jobs would also grow.
The BlueGreen Alliance also aims to create better infrastructure in the US for recycling.
According to BlueGreen, Right now, our nation recycles only about 33 percent of our solid
waste and just 30 percent of construction and demolition waste. As a result, a large amount of
waste still simply ends up in landfills across America. (BlueGreen). The BlueGreen Alliance
also mention on their website that there is a huge missed opportunity in what they call e-waste.
Eighty percent of Americas electronics are sent to other countries to be recycled. Broken or

obsolete computers, cell phones, printers, and electronics end up in places like China, India,
Vietnam, Pakistan, Ghana or Nigeria to be disassembled and burned, often by children, to
recover various metals they contain. (BlueGreen). BlueGreen later added that increasing the
national recycling rate to 75% would actually create 2.3 million jobs. This would also result in a
massive drop in carbon emissions equivalent to the benefits of removing 50 million cars from the
road. BlueGreen alliance has supported the Executive order by President Obama which sets a
goal for 75% recycling rate by 2030. The implementation of this order is achieved through
federal agencies, their contractors, vendors, and other companies in the federal governments
supply chain (Policy). BlueGreen also mentioned that approximately 60 percent of homes have
residential recycling collection services, but only about half of those with the service available
recycle regularly. (Policy). In order to create more awareness about recycling, BlueGreen has
joined the national effort to spread knowledge about recycling across the country. BlueGreen has
also pushed for greater U.S. policy support for existing international and foreign laws to slow
the export of these hazardous products [Used Electronics] to developing nations such as China,
India, Ghana, Nigeria, and others. (Policy). BlueGreen argues that the reuse or recycling of
these materials would create jobs in the US as well as decrease emissions.
The BlueGreen Alliance has a very tough task in uniting environmentalists with labor
unions. Of course, labor unions are mainly concerned with the well-being of their members and
their families, meanwhile environmentalists point out the fact that something has to change in
order for the world to sustain itself. However, no matter which side you are on, it is easy to
support BlueGreen Alliances ambitions. Their goals include the creation of a much more
sustainable and efficient United States with the additional creation of millions of jobs. The New
Apollo Program has not completely succeeded, but with The Apollo Economic Recovery Act

making an impact of 650,000 direct jobs and 1.3 million indirect jobs, BlueGreen Alliance has
broken ground on something huge. There is a lot of funding that still needs to go into The New
Apollo Program before we can come anywhere near the 5 million jobs that the program
envisioned, but the Apollo Alliance has hit the ground running. BlueGreen Alliance has also
taken a supporting role in the movement for a better recycling program in the United States. The
plan to increase the recycling rate in the US to 75% by 2030 would create 2.3 million jobs and
make a huge environmental impact. The BlueGreen Alliance is certainly an extremely important
organization for the future of the United States. (Policy). Although their goals seem slightly out
of reach, they give Americans hope for a sustainable future and a stable economy.

Works Cited
Ball, Donald A. "Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability."International Business:
The Challenge of Global Competition. 13th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2013. 155.
Print.
"BlueGreen Alliance." BlueGreen Alliance. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.
<http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/>.
Glas, Kim. "Keep the Crude Oil Export Ban to Protect Jobs, Environment." The Huffington Post.
TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.
How Many People Work in the Oil and Gas industry globally? OilPro. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.
Policy Statement on Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling: A Jobs, Energy Savings and
Global Warming Solution. BlueGreen Alliance. BlueGreen Alliance. Nov 2011. Web. 11
Oct 2015.
Sierra Club - Ways to Give. Sierra Club. 2015. Web. 11 October 2015.
The Apollo Economic Recovery Act. Apollo Alliance. Blue Green Alliance. Web. 11
October 2015.
US Unemployment. Department of Numbers. Department of Numbers. September 2015. Web.
11 October 2015.