Man planting tree. Courtesy IStock.
The economy is in deep decline. The environment needs serious help. Could it be time for the nation to revive Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps with a new 21st Century mission?
In light of the recent economic crisis — and the deep benefits such a corps would provide — that’s exactly what The Wilderness Society and others have proposed to Congress--and it appears they're listening. Last week, an economic stimulus bill that includes green jobs on our nation's public lands was approved by both the House and the Senate and is awaiting final approval. This time, a modern-day CCC would help fight global warming. Instead of pollution that lasts, we will be taking the first step to solutions that last, putting people to work and putting our country on a path to clean sources of energy.
Inspired by Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, The Wilderness Society spearheaded the effort to create needed jobs while ensuring funding for the vast backlog of work on our refuges, in our parks and in our national forests.
Joining with six national environmental organizations, The Wilderness Society proposed to Congress that it include in any economic stimulus package a proposal called Green Jobs Restoring the Land. This proposal would restore critical ecosystems in the face of global warming. It would also create thousands of jobs in communities across the country.
As Congress finalizes an economic revitalization plan for the nation’s ailing economy, part of its focus is on creating “green jobs” — jobs weatherizing homes, installing solar hot water systems and rooftop solar electricity, and building wind turbines. However, this is also the moment where we need jobs that directly protect our land, watersheds and fish and wildlife habitat to restore and maintain the health of critical ecosystems. Impacts from global warming are already being seen across the country as wildfires increase and hurricanes get more intense, glaciers rapidly shrink and droughts grow — placing critical ecosystems in harm’s way. Our economy, our public health, and the viability of many communities depends on protecting these natural resources.
The Green Jobs Restoring the Land proposal strives to achieve similar goals to Roosevelt’s CCC, which created more than 2.5 million jobs from 1933 to 1941 conserving natural resources and wild lands, and lessening the nation’s considerable unemployment.
The green jobs proposal would create thousands of jobs, many in rural areas; not to mention the related positive economic impacts associated with job-related spending such as purchasing supplies, renting equipment, and increased local spending.
Among the many important jobs to be done, workers employed through these funds will remove invasive species, restore watersheds, repair fish culverts, remove damaged and unwanted roads in forests and plant native trees.
Human health depends on the health of our forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands and open spaces. Our economy is also dependent upon thriving natural systems. Economic sectors tied to outdoor recreation contribute over $700 billion to the U.S. economy every year. More broadly, ecosystems also contribute to trillions of dollars of economic benefits through services they provide, cleaning our air and water, pollinating our crops and trapping and storing greenhouse gases.
The Wilderness Society will continue to press for the creation of jobs that defend against global warming — a wise choice for the economy, the environment, and the nation. Click here to learn more.