When a major U.S. company figures out a way to make cash out of sewage, you know that green businesses have come into their own. The problem is, until now green entrepreneurs haven’t had their own national business organization to lobby for their interests in Congress. Well, problem solved: a local organization called the Green Chamber of San Diego County has just relaunched itself as the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, a national organization dedicated to building strategic entrepreneurial alliances to foster innovation, job creation, and energy efficiency.
Lobbying for Green Jobs
The new Green Chamber might not find a very receptive audience in Congress these days (at least, not on one side of the aisle), but it’s a safe bet that the Obama administration will be all ears. A good deal of the Recovery Act has been geared toward creating green jobs, and the Administration has been fostering a number of other strategies that help grow green businesses, from reclaiming polluted land for clean energy, to a manure-to-biogas program for livestock operations.
Public Subsidies for Private Business
Public programs that support private businesses are nothing new. After all, the public has been giving hefty subsidies to the fossil fuel industry for generations – though in a case of biting the hand that feeds you, the fossil fuel industry has not been very kind to the public. Just in recent memory there’s the Tennessee coal ash spill, the Massey coal mine disaster and mountaintop coal mining, the Gulf oil spill, natural gas explosions and pollution from fracking, and ongoing public health impacts. If it practically seems like America is at war with its own fossil fuels then I guess it wouldn’t be stretching a point to include an actual war in that list (according to former President Bush, that is).
Two U.S. Chambers are Better than One
It’s fair to ask why green businesses need their own chamber of commerce. After all, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, so you’d think that would pretty much serve their interests. However, lately that particular chamber has been focusing a lot of time and energy on throwing obstacles in the path of the emerging green economy, to the extent that a growing number of major U.S. companies – Nike, Microsoft and Apple, to name just a few – have either formally distanced themselves from the Chamber’s policies on climate change or have quite their membership outright.
A Run on Green Jobs
The Chamber is also losing support from its own local chapters due to its stance on climate change and health care reform, too, but I digress. The bottom line is, green businesses are proving they can put people to work at jobs that not only pay the rent but also help to help foster a safer, healthier, and more enjoyable environment. Beats me why anybody wouldn’t want to lobby for that. Um…yeah, why not?
Image: Money (altered) by yomanimos on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.