Graduation is a time of transition and new challenges. For many of us who recently graduated, or will in the coming years, it is also a moment of deep uncertainty. We face both the immediate challenge of surging youth unemployment, and the long-term threat of a world plagued by catastrophic climate change.
Our future hinges on another transition: America’s shift to a new clean energy economy.
Our generation was hit disproportionately hard by the recession. A Pew Research study showed that fully 37% of young people aged 18-29 were unemployed or involuntarily out of the workforce in 2009. Unfortunately, 2010 isn’t looking much better.
While no one piece of legislation will solve both our economic and environmental crises, passing a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill will have a dramatic impact on both issues.
A 21st century clean energy economy has the potential to create millions of new jobs that can’t be shipped overseas. It has the potential to create a sustainable future powered by clean, efficient, renewable energy sources.
Several recent independent analyses showed the the American Power Act proposed by Senators Kerry and Lieberman would create an average of 203,000 to 440,000 new jobs per year between 2012 and 2020.
Clean energy has the potential to become one of the country’s largest industries, and already wind power employs more Americans than coal. These jobs, and a clean energy industry bolstered by the American innovation that would be unleashed by comprehensive energy reform, could become the driving industry in our economic engine.
It’s up to our leaders in Washington to unlock this potential by passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation.
To show Congress we need clean energy jobs, we are collecting résumés from young people to deliver to the Senate and demand they give us this opportunity.