An actionable plan for redesigning our economy to both protect the environment and create fulfilling jobsthe nuts and bolts of a Green New Deal
American society currently faces a crisis in the world of work between outsourcing, automation, the gig economy, and low levels of employee engagement. At the same time, our transportation systems and means for producing energy, materials, and food are degrading life support systems on Earth. The solution, however, is simple: we must abandon “business as usual” and draw up a blueprint for creating meaningful jobs that will also dramatically reduce waste and restore the natural world.
The Great Pivot is that blueprint. It details 30 projects for developing advanced energy communities, low-carbon mobility systems, a circular economy, a rejuvenated food production system, and restoring nature. It starts, of course, with people. Americans want work that gives their lives purpose and meaning. First, however, we must ensure that everyone has shelter, food, and access to affordable healthcare and childcare, especially those lower on the socioeconomic ladder. By doing so, those securing meaningful work for the first time will be able to pull themselves up financially, while those currently working disappointingly unfulfilling jobs will jump to more meaningful employment, whether starting their own business or joining an existing team.
The financial sector also wants more sustainability projects to invest in. By harnessing Silicon Valley’s startup culture of disrupting lumbering, inefficient industries, the Great Pivot will create both more effective and efficient jobs and manifold investment opportunities. Make no mistake: the investment needed to kickstart a sustainable future is considerable, but this money will go directly into the pockets of the millions of people doing this meaningful work, thereby providing the necessities of a stable, middle class life.
With this bold vision we will not only save the environment, but in the process of creating millions of meaningful jobs, we will save ourselves. A sustainable future needs us to envision it, and it needs us to make it happen. It’s time to make the Great Pivot.
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About the Author
Justine Burt is the Founder + CEO of Appraccel, an environmental sustainability consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in sustainability behavior change in energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and waste prevention. Over the past 20 years she has delivered results for clients at NASA Ames Research Center, the U.S. House of Representatives, Alameda County StopWaste, businesses in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, and retail, various universities, the Clean Coalition and the Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition. Justine has a B.A. in Economics from Lafayette College and a M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.
Table of Contents
Lengthening Our Time Horizons: Introduction to the Great Pivot xi
1 Building a World of Meaningful Work 1
2 Pathways to the American Dream 21
3 A Vision of a Sustainable Future 31
4 Meaningful Jobs for Advanced Energy Communities 49
5 Meaningful Jobs for Low-Carbon Mobility 69
6 Meaningful Jobs for a Circular Economy 94
7 Meaningful Jobs for Reducing Food Waste 120
8 Meaningful Jobs to Restore Nature 133
9 Disrupting Business As Usual 175
10 Investing in the World We Want 192
11 Delivering on the Promise of Meaningful Work 221
12 The Green New Deal 235