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The Green Career Ladder: A Step-By-Step Guide to Profitable Careers In Sustainable Energy

The Green Career Ladder: A Step-By-Step Guide to Profitable Careers In Sustainable Energy

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The Green Career Ladder: A Step-By-Step Guide to Profitable Careers In Sustainable Energy

249 pages
2 heures
Apr 26, 2016


Why choose between making a difference and making a living? In this ground-breaking guide to Green careers, sustainability expert Bob Oedy reveals the emerging career opportunities that make it possible for you to help save the planet and build a significant personal income at the same time, regardless of your political affiliation or level of training.

Whether you're a student preparing for a Green lifestyle, a recent graduate looking for your first job, or are contemplating a switch to a Greener second career, The Green Career Ladder will guide you through every stage of the process, including:

Where to find the best training
Landing your first job
Identifying responsible companies that pay well
Living a Green lifestyle
Starting your own business
How to control your own future, make good money, and live a fulfilling life
Leaving a legacy for future generations

This fast-reading, down-to-earth guide blends sustainable ideals with practical realities to give you realistic insights about today's growing Green marketplace. You'll learn why Green is finally here to stay and how to chart your own path to success, both today and tomorrow.
Apr 26, 2016

À propos de l'auteur

Bob Oedy is an American punk rock musician, singer and songwriter. He's the author of three books including The Punk Rock Las Vegas Survival Guide. Bob plays guitar for The Grim, sings for Glue Gun, published four studio albums, three seven-inches and his music appeared on numerous compilation records. Bob is a graduate of The National Labor College in Maryland where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labor Studies. He also holds an Associate in Science Degree in Electronics from Pierce College. Bob is a proud parent and lives with his sixteen-year-old son in Los Angeles, California. His hobbies are music, Punk Rock Bowling, photography, public speaking, writing and camping.

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The Green Career Ladder - Bob Oedy


Introduction: The Dream That Wouldn’t Die

There’s no longer doubt that the jobs and industries of tomorrow will involve harnessing renewable sources of energy. The only question is whether America will lead that future.

—President Barack Obama

Weekly Radio Address, March 21, 2009

In June of 1979, I watched with pride and hope as President Jimmy Carter announced a new solar strategy to move our Nation toward true energy security and abundant, readily available energy supplies.

Carter hoped that America would get 20% of its energy from the sun by the end of the 20th century. To encourage that goal, he had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House West Wing to power a water-heating system.¹

I remember thinking: Yeah! Now we’ve got leadership from the top! It seemed like a natural response to the Arab oil embargoes of 1967 and 1973, and the beginning of a promising future. I felt certain that we would never go back to buying oil from the Middle East.

My feelings were confirmed a few months later when Iranian militants seized the American embassy, beginning a 444-day hostage crisis. In the innocence and excitement of youth I figured it would be just a matter of weeks and months before businesses caught on and developed huge new solar- and wind-powered generators that would end our dependence on foreign oil forever.

It never happened.

The price of oil plunged in the 1980s, making solar power and other alternatives look expensive in the short run. About the same time the hostages came home, and an impatient America chose to continue as an oil-guzzling nation. Carter’s solar research budget was cut from $124 million in 1980 to $59 million in 1982.²

For those who hoped we’d be further along by now, the three decades from 1979 to 2009 were a long and discouraging dry spell. But the Green revolution could only be delayed, not stopped.

Now the tide of public opinion has turned in favor of Green energy once again. There’s a lot of catching up to do, but there’s also a drive to get the job done now. For those of you who are considering a Green career, the opportunities to find work and make very good money have never been better.

Why Green now?

The election of Barack Obama did not begin today’s explosion of Green opportunity—it merely confirmed that more Americans are committed to a sustainable future than ever before. Whatever your political affiliation may be, there are many good reasons why Green is finally coming of age.

Worldwide demand and new unrest in the Middle East have combined to create some of the largest oil price spikes in history, and many analysts believe even higher prices are yet to come. Rising gasoline prices and growing concern about climate change have created a greater sense of urgency than in the past, encouraging public support for Green energy.

Large corporations are also scrambling to find more sustainable power sources. Among the leaders are Intel Corporation, which uses more than 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year, and PepsiCo, which uses 1.1 billion.³

Some of these companies have a legitimate desire to make the world a better place. Others are merely responding to a popular trend among their customers. Many more are hedging their bets as federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions become more likely. Whether their motives are noble or not (and in many cases they are), their desire to take action is stronger than ever before, and that’s going to mean a lot more Green jobs.

At the same time, significant advances have made clean energy sources more efficient, more diverse, and—most importantly—more profitable.

I can prove this point from my own experience. In 2005 an affiliate of my trade union, the Electrical Training Institute of Los Angeles, installed a solar power system on the roof of the training center. It provides nearly half a Megawatt of power for a 144,000 square foot facility (nearly 900,000 kW hours per year). At the time of construction it was one of the 10 largest privately-owned systems in the United States. It no longer holds that record.

The original budget plan estimated that the system would pay for itself in 7-9 years. In fact, the savings turned out to be significantly higher than anticipated. It’s now expected to see a full return on investment in just 4½ years.

Today’s solar cells generate 40 times as much power as the ones Jimmy Carter had installed on the roof of the White House in the late 70s.⁴ And the sun isn’t just rising on solar energy:

• The oil barons of Texas have become wind barons, beating California as the top wind power state since 2006

• Two United States Air Force bases—Minot in North Dakota and Dyess in Texas—are powered exclusively by wind and biomass, and at least 52 others run partially on renewable sources

• Part-electric and all-electric cars are more available in nearly every price range: from the practical Toyota Prius to the sporty Tesla Roadster (0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds!)

• A new solar power system was installed on a grounds maintenance building at the White House in 2002 (by George W. Bush), along with two new water-heating systems

• Innovative companies are working to tap the power of ocean tides and river currents, a technology which could be ready for widespread use as early as 2020

It’s too soon to say whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, will be a historical turning point, but it signals the strongest government support we’ve seen in three decades. The Act allocates $20 billion in tax incentives for clean energy, including:

• The creation of an advanced research agency for energy, modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which developed the Internet

• Support for Energy Frontier Research Centers, which could lead to breakthroughs in energy storage, super-efficient engines, and solar cells as cheap as paint

• Supporting U.S. manufacturing of advanced batteries needed for plug-in hybrids, renewable energy backup, and other applications

• $1.2 billon for research infrastructure for the Department of Energy’s national labs

At about the same time, the Obama administration estimated that every dollar of tax benefit in the stimulus package had the potential to generate an additional dollar of research and development spending in the short run, and $2 in the long run. This stimulus may prove to be the beginning of an exciting new phase of Green opportunity, but there will also be challenges along the way.

How Green is Green?

A lot of large, established companies are getting into Green energy because they see it as an opportunity for growth. But they’re not necessarily the ones that are going to push Green because it’s a great thing. They’re pushing Green because there’s some money rolling in and they want a piece of it.

Many of the companies doing solar, for example, are not doing just solar. They’ll do a nuclear power plant next if it pays money. As you pursue your Green career, you may find yourself working for this kind of company. You might get a job installing solar panels today, then be expected to install pipe on a refinery tomorrow.

I’m not bringing this up to discourage you. I just want you to go into each job situation with your eyes wide open so that you’ll see what all the pros and cons are. Is it all Green work, or is it partially Green? Will it be worthwhile to work for a semi-Green company to get training and experience? Or is the company just trying to greenwash their image to get government perks and impress their customers?

Understand up front that there may be some compromise when you go to work for certain shops. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t have to compromise, but that’s a reality that has to be dealt with. I envision a future where a solar- or wind-driven equivalent of Exxon-Mobil makes this kind of ethical struggle obsolete, but those companies don’t exist yet. It’s my hope that someday you’ll work for one…or start one yourself.

Will it last this time?

In my heart, I can see America becoming completely energy independent. But I also remember thinking that in the 1970s. Will history repeat itself? Will we make a little progress only to backslide until the next energy crisis?

I believe that we won’t for one good reason: profit. The nightly news may sound much the same as it did during the oil embargoes of the ’60s and ’70s, but Green energy has also moved beyond its infancy. Today, Green offers the promise of another kind of green: the kind you can spend.

I’d love to see the world wake up and invest in clean energy because it’s the right thing to do. But what’s happening this time around is an awareness that we can do the right thing and make a lot of money in the process. Noble or not, the profit motive is starting new businesses, driving research and development, and creating new jobs that will ultimately make our world a better place.

How to save the planet AND get rich

This book is written for the next generation of Green pioneers: high school and college-age students who are considering a career in clean energy. It’s also for more experienced readers in related fields who are looking to switch to a profitable and fulfilling Green career.

This is a book about opportunity, but it’s also a book about reality. Working in Green energy is like working in the entertainment industry; there are a lot of people who want to get into the industry for reasons that have nothing to do with money. They’re willing to take a pay cut because they want to follow their dream, and there are plenty of companies willing to exploit that idealism to get cheap labor.

I don’t want you to fall into that trap. I want to see you succeed and reach the pinnacle of your dreams. In the pages that follow, I’ll show you the ropes of The Green Career Ladder, including:

• Where to get the best training

• Landing your first job

• How to identify truly Green companies that pay good wages

• Living a Green lifestyle

• Starting your own Green business

• How to control your own future, make good money, live a fulfilling life, and leave a meaningful legacy for future generations

To achieve your greatest potential, you’ll need a plan. You’ll need to look beyond where you are now to where you intend to be in the future. Your plan will probably evolve and change as time goes by, but simply having one will dramatically improve your chance of success. (I’ll show you a quick and easy way to develop your plan in Step 2.)

Although the dream of renewable energy is the heart and soul of this book, I won’t spend a lot of time discussing current research and development. Technology is a moving target, and Green technology is moving so fast that technical details could easily be obsolete before this book rolls off the presses. Instead, I’ll focus on how to find and go after the best opportunities, both today and tomorrow.

But while technologies evolve and change, the ultimate goal of clean, renewable energy does not. And though the path to a sustainable future is still uncertain, one thing is very clear: there has never been a better time to start a profitable career in Green energy.

In the past we had to choose between doing what was good for the planet or doing what made good money. Today it’s possible to do both, and this book will show you how.

Step 1: Finding Green Opportunities

"No one has to wait for a sudden burst of intelligence, a bolt of lightning, or

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