Written by Sarah Lansdale Friday, 04 June 2010 00:00
We often hear the labeling of so many different aspects of today’s world as “going green.” We hear about a building going green, a company going green, a person going green or even an entire town going green.
However, the latest trend has been about the economy… going green. What Long Islanders don’t realize is how the region can use a green economy to provide opportunity and access to all and create a healthier environment and more stable market.
The emerging green economy holds great opportunity for Long Island, especially for our low-to-moderate income, urban neighborhoods. Many different elements comprise this market including green jobs, green communities, and green transportation. As with any economic system these elements are fundamentally connected.
Today, more and more business sectors are going green. The retail and trade industry, the hospitality industry, the manufacturing industry and even the government are focusing on emerging markets and the movement towards sustainability. With billions of dollars allocated to the creation of green jobs, many Long Islanders are wondering what types of jobs these are, who is getting them and what skills and resources it will take to obtain them?
Communities across Long Island have joined the green movement by sharing practices on revitalizing their local downtowns. Local towns, such as Wyandanch, are paving the way in generating jobs, stimulating a range of housing options and restoring environmental quality. Communities with brownfields have the chance to turn an ugly blemish on their town into a multitude of economic benefits. The renovation of contaminated properties creates long-term commercial and industrial jobs in many low-to-moderate income neighborhoods where brownfields often reside.
Green transportation deals with rethinking the way we travel and use our means of transport. To use more public transportation, without relying on our automobiles to take us everywhere, would increase environmental health throughout our region. Redeveloping and creating local downtowns where Long Islanders could walk to and from different businesses and stores would generate “foot traffic” as opposed to the congestion-filled, often frustrating automobile traffic.
As the economy remains unstable, this economic motivation is exactly what Long Island needs. With so many different factors, such as the role that higher education plays in this issue, the incentives and policies that help businesses join in the effort, and the equitability of a green economy, Long Islanders need to be prepared.
Ask yourself these questions and see if you’re equipped for the coming change: Who is going green? How are they doing it? What jobs exist now?
What jobs are emerging? What can we do to stimulate a green economy on Long Island?
Sarah Lansdale is the executive director of Sustainable Long Island, which focuses on creating real change in our region by promoting sustainable development. Sustainable Long Island works with residents, municipal leaders, businesspeople and all interested stakeholders to help them plan and implement sustainable development initiatives in their communities. Visit www.sustainableli.org, or call 516-873-0230.