It must be lost in the jumbled priorities of Washington. And it’s a real shame. Because with a little help, cities like Baltimore could bail out the entire country.
Everyone seems to agree that America needs to become energy independent. And that we need to find a way to lower energy prices. And that we need to find a way to cut down on fossil fuels and greenhouse emissions. In short, America needs to “go green.”
Greening America would require that we retrofit, reboot and re-power the nation — so that we are using clean, safe, renewable, cheap and homegrown energy. We can’t create a clean energy revolution without reviving the productive power of cities like Baltimore. It’s time for America to start building again, and cities are the best places to house the green economic renaissance.
Weatherizing buildings, constructing wind farms, manufacturing wind turbines, fabricating solar panels, installing solar technology — all that needs to happen right here. The process will create millions of new jobs in the United States — not overseas. In fact, a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors says that an aggressive switch to clean energy and energy efficiency would create FOUR MILLION new jobs.
That kind of economic transformation would also cut greenhouse gas emissions, lower pollution, cut energy prices and free us from dependence on oil and coal. All that is needed is for Congress to put a price on carbon emissions; the money the government collects by charging for greenhouse gas pollution could create a pot of money to retrofit and repower the country.
And then cities that were the blue-collar backbone of our economy could reemerge as our green-collar powerhouses.
That’s good news for cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, and everywhere in between — full of people hungry for a reliable paycheck and a higher purpose. We need to get moving. September marked the country’s ninth consecutive month of job losses, and the steepest one-month job loss in more than five years.
The bailout may get the credit markets flowing again. But it will not be the banks who rescue the country and the economy.
It will be cities like Baltimore — which have the power to bail out ordinary people and the planet, too.
For more ideas about how to solve our economic and environmental problems at the same time, check out my new book, The Green Collar Economy