Green Economy Can Aid Environment, Reduce Poverty, Researcher Says

Article ID: 555450

Released: 21-Aug-2009 1:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Middle Tennessee State University

Newswise — A recent report suggests that a $150 billion national investment in a “green economy” could not only boost the employment picture, but also create new pathways out of poverty for many low-income workers—and one Middle Tennessee State University researcher agrees wholeheartedly.

Dr. Sekou Franklin, assistant professor of political science, has utilized the Political Economy Research Institute’s study on green-economy investment to carry out his own research as it relates to Middle Tennessee. Subsequently, among other outcomes, he’s determined that such an investment has the potential to create nearly 15,000 new jobs in his region alone.

A volunteer for a Nashville-based task force on green jobs, Franklin—describing how he came to his “go green-based” conclusions—says, “The PERI Group out of Massachusetts was responsible for doing a 12-stage study on clean-energy investment, and Tennessee was included in that 12-stage study, so we used that broader research and that broader frame to write a proposal that I did research for on a green-jobs program for low-income workers.”

Related to Franklin’s green-jobs proposal, there exists a variety of “clean-energy” jobs that require only a high-school degree or less, including roofers, electricians, insulation workers and sheet-metal workers, among other occupations, he notes.

Moreover, according to the MTSU professor’s Tennessee-related study, mass-transit investment is an area ripe for development when it comes to creating environmentally sound practices. Such green investment, Franklin notes, can lead to far-reaching outcomes that ultimately reduce unemployment and raise the overall standard of living for lower socio-economic households.

Plus, with the aforementioned $150 billion investment in what has been dubbed the “clean-energy economy,” Nashville and its 6th Congressional District has the potential to generate some 15,000 new jobs, per the national report issued by PERI. (Researchers based their figures on the federal stimulus package, the climate bill before the House and reauthorization of the federal transportation bill in the fall.)

Franklin, similarly, agrees with the national study’s findings, asserting that a renewed commitment to mass transit in Middle Tennessee is an area that would provide a significant and sustainable return on any green-economy investment.

“We need a broader public-transportation system that links Nashville to Murfreesboro to Cookeville, so that low-income workers can get to work and also in order to reduce fossil fuels,” he observes.

With such a system, he adds, not only the economy but also the environment would benefit by the reduced number of “people in cars spending money on gas and oil, (and then) having that released into the environment.”


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