Help Design Richmond’s Green-Blue Economy of the Future

Help Design Richmond’s Green-Blue Economy of the Future

By Justine Burt

Block Island Wind Farm

Block Island Wind Farm

California has ambitious environmental policy goals in place. By 2030, 30% of our land and waterways will be conserved. After 2035, 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero emission. By 2045, 100% of electricity will come from renewable sources.

Closing the gap between our goals and where we are today will require millions of new green jobs. Building offshore wind turbines, retrofitting buildings for all electric, and recycling waste materials into new products are just a few examples of the kinds of projects that will build a just, equitable, resilient and sustainable future.

The Richmond Green-Blue New Deal Workforce Development Plan team is currently seeking input from Richmond residents about which green-blue projects to prioritize.

Richmond faces many challenges such as asthma rates higher than surrounding communities, illegal dumping, a growing unhoused population, and soil contamination. The Richmond Green-Blue New Deal is matching up these concerns to green-blue projects that will address these challenges: electrification of the transportation sector, building deconstruction and salvage, construction of new housing units, and brownfields cleanup and development.

The goal of the Richmond Green-Blue New Deal is to move green-blue projects to the starting line by the end of 2023 and catalyze creation of 1,000 new jobs in energy, buildings, transportation, recycling, food systems, nature, and brownfields, among others. As the Richmond Green-Blue New Deal team gathers feedback from the community about the kinds of projects residents and workers prefer, we are studying which of the six elements of success are already in place.

  •       - Is the project scope clearly defined?
  •       - Who will the workers be?
  •       - Is there a local champion who will lead the charge?
  •       - What additional training will be needed?
  •       - Is there demand for this green-blue good or service?
  •       - Where will investment come from?

When we have answers for all the above questions, a project will move closer to the starting line.

Overlaying these opportunities are three important expectations. First, frontline communities – those hit first and worst by environmental pollution and climate change – will not continue to bear a disproportionate share of these burdens as we transform our economy from extractive to regenerative.

Second, green-blue jobs will be high road jobs which means they pay enough to support workers, offer benefits, and provide career advancement opportunities. As a worker develops more skills, they should earn more.

The third expectation is that in the Just Transition to a clean energy future, fossil fuel workers will not be left behind. Those working in extractive industries will have opportunities to take training that builds on existing skill sets and move into green-blue jobs in their area of interest. Within this framework and these overlays, we are planning a transition to a more just, equitable, resilient, and sustainable future.  

If you have not yet had a chance to fill out the Richmond Green-Blue New Deal survey, visit this link before March 15. Feel free to share the link with a few people who live or work in Richmond.

Questions or comments? Contact Justine Burt at [email protected].