Living in a time when failed banks, corporate bailouts, and increased unemployment is the daily norm in the States, many of us are struggling with the question of whether or not to invest in the U.S. market. Green America, a nonprofit organization known for its promotion of green and fair trade business principles, wrote in their Real Green newsletter last fall about how investing to be green (and saving green) is a reality. We all know investing our hard-earned cash comes with many risks, especially for those of you like myself who are currently enrolled in undergraduate programs footing hefty tuition bills. Green America’s staff writer, Tracy Fernandez Rysavy, shows us how we can invest responsibly in our communities no matter how high or low our risk tolerance is.

Determining your risk tolerance is the first step in pursuing new investments. Everybody’s risk tolerance is different based on age, industry, and savings. Rysavy suggests speaking with a financial advisor to determine your “investment comfort zone”. For those who would rather take less of a risk, market-linked CDs are a great alternative to directly investing in the stock market. Financial advisor, Ed Winslow, who is the founder of Protect Money Investments, says that market-linked CDs are hard to find at community investing banks. However, your financial advisor can direct you towards banks known for their social and environmental activism. On the other hand, Michelle Weber of Edwards Jones believes in investing directly into the stock market. A social investing financial advisor, Weber states that despite the ups and downs the economy experiences, overall progress is being made. Thus, the opportunity for moneymaking in the stock market is still a reality.

Once you have determined the kind of investment best for you, make an effort to specifically invest in federally insured socially responsible investing (SRI) accounts. Rysavy suggests heading over to Community Invest, an organization who directs investors to community investing institutions. These institutions work on boosting the economies of low-income communities. To assist you with navigating the SRI world, head over to Green Pages where SRI advisors and mutual funds are listed, so you can find causes you and progressive companies and firms mutually support. Many financial advisers, like Brian Laverty of High Impact Investments, forecasts that companies who are enacting greener policies are moving forward in their respective markets compared to companies who are behind socially and environmentally. When it comes to long-term finances, Laverty expects green businesses to come out on top. Therefore, it is smart to invest in companies who support our communities and environment.

But what about college students, many of whom spearhead progressive initiatives through demonstration, writing, and fundraising, but do not have the financial means themselves to take a risk in SRI? Being a student who has accumulated probably too many student loans and attends a private university in Washington, D.C., investing is not exactly on my to-do list. However, I was able to make a low-risk investment in a local business in Lima, Peru through a non-profit organization called Kiva. Kiva extends small loans to prospective business owners across the globe. The beauty of Kiva is you can choose whom you are loaning to. I loaned $25 in November of 2009 to Marisol, a married mother of 2, who sells baked goods out of her husband’s hardware store. I chose Marisol because, at the time, I was preparing to jet off to Cusco, Peru to work at a community center over my holiday break. I thought it would be another fantastic way to show my support for the country. I was paid back in monthly installments of $5 through April 2010 and was repaid 100% of my investment. Best of all, the current repayment rate to lenders is 98.79%. Even though you do not net a gain or profit from this investment, the satisfaction of furthering future small business owners with their business ventures truly gives you that warm fuzzy feeling. The best is when Kiva sends a message to you about the progress of those you loaned to.

In all, you do not have to work on Wall Street to know how to invest wisely. Neither do you have to have deep pockets to make a smart, sound investment. Better yet, there are numerous opportunities for you to invest in specific companies and firms who share your wish for improved communities and a cleaner environment. Spend your money wisely and happy investing!

-Derek Rogers


“We can’t do this anymore.”, writes New York Times writer Thomas Friedman in a recent op-ed article.

manufacturingspaceballFriedman reference is to our recent economic ideologies that have landed us in smack in the middle of an unprecedented global recession. He continues, “We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero, whereby buildings, cars, factories and homes are designed not only to generate as much energy as they use but to be infinitely recyclable in as many parts as possible. Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.”


In the past, economic recessions often been met with sullen struggling at the level of the individual, to ‘weather the storm’ in order to maintain remnants of a quality of life threatened by a suddenly merciless economic environment. However, Friedman’s point raises question about how we face these economic doldrums and the fundamental choices we have as individuals, especially in our present context. Instead of trying to find meager ways to maintain our quality of life’, Friedman is essentially asking us to reinvent our systems, our way of thinking, to align closer to the quality of life we should be living. Ultimately, could this recession be an opportunity to provide a more full existence to our daily grind?

Today, more than ever before, our collective history, global identity and advances in technology have paved the way to answer this question in a way to create a new kind of economic ‘recession’. Instead of wallowing in the gloom, we can realize that we are poised to turn potential for global suffering into milestone for human civilization, one that opens up new and creative ways to live in balance with the world. Even better, the economy is already moving to meet you halfway! Where there was once a prolific need to feed the conspicuously consuming machine, now there is a burgeoning job market specifically geared to promoting a sustainable world. As individuals, this means we are all tasked now to take control of our way of life, and realign it with the fundamental principles of the world around us.

3328055815_f531056d21In a recent online article by CNN, there is clear reason to start seeing if a job in renewable energy is something you might consider. Aside from an $11 billions being earmarked specifically to help people move toward homes using on renewable energy, job creation focusing on long term technologies such as fuel-cells is currently on the rise.

At, similar rumblings are becoming clearer. Specifically, they reveal the growing need for jobs in sustainable practices, not just renewable energy. They list out green jobs likely to grow in numbers for the next decade, from more locally-based farmers, urban planners focused on lowering overall city carbon production, and more closed-loop manufacturers focused solely on creating an industry for active recycling.

And in case you are wondering what green jobs are the top ten to grab, here’s a list of the top ten:

pv-installer1-Conservation Biologist

2-Farmer Forester

3-Solar Power Installer

4-Energy Efficiency Builder

5-Wind Turbine Manufacturer

6-Conservation biologist

7-Green MBA and Entrepreneur

8-Recylcer Sustainability

9-Systems Developer

10-Urban Planner

CO: Obama signs economic recovery bill in Denver Photo By aflcio2008Just days after the huge economic recovery stimulus bill was passed and Obama signed it into law, critics on both sides put it their two cents. Economists and regular Joes can’t seem to agree whether the stimulus is a great move or a bad decision. However, there is one group of people who are celebrating the passage. The Green Movement seems to be one of the winners of the bill. The bill sets aside millions of funding for green development. From mass transit to solar energy, the bill definitely is a win for a growing industry.

Wind Power Photo By Luis AlvesImmediately following the passage several green groups celebrated in the news, including Green America.  They have released a great list of the “5 best stimulus provisions for a greener America.” And their list is full of hopeful parts of the stimulus plan including: 9.5 billion for energy efficient revitalization of federal buildings, 6 billion towards in loans for solar and wind projects, 11 million to modernize the electricity grid, and 17.5 billion for public transportation including high speed rail. Green America also celebrated that 50 million in funding of new nuclear and coal plants was cut out of the bill.

Green Jobs Now Sarasota - Sarasota, FL Photo By greenforall.orgThese are major victories in the green economy and we can only hope that this really will stimulate the economy as well convince the majority of America to switch to a greener lifestyle. This bill has potential to create millions of new jobs as well as jumpstart a move to a greener America! So we say congratulations to all of us who have been working to bring the green movement into the forefront! Even though a huge victory has happened, it doesn’t mean we can stop pushing. Stay involved with organizations like Green America and Green Jobs Now. And most of all try to to stay green in your daily life.

Ok so we have all heard of white collar and blue collar jobs, but what is all this about green collars? In the rough times of economic downturn, its important to keep focused on the next wave now hitting the marketplace: Green Collar Jobs!

Economic forecasters are seeing the “Green Collar Job” market on the horizon and expect it to fuel our economy as the manufacturing and service industry is falling.  So perk up all you college students out there and start doing your research.  You could be the next leaders of this exciting and revolutionary industry!

So what exactly is a Green Job and how do you even begin to define something so vague and so broad?  Well, America is making changes (hopefully) to move away from our dependency on oil and as we do companies are starting to catch on. From urban planning to eco-friendly operations, companies are looking for engineers, architects, consultants, contractors, marketing professionals, etc. (the list goes on forever) that have an eye and expertise for all things green that make a positive impact on our planet.  A recent study by American Solar Energy Society reported that there were a shockingly huge 8.5 million jobs created by the growing environmental trends in 2006 and another 40 million will be created by 2030.  So seriously kids, even if you’re not an environmentalist, you should strongly consider joining the movement just for the employment opportunities!  Our world is a transitioning into a Green World and with it we need people like you to fill the expanding job market.

So where do you find these types of jobs? Well there are a number of job search sites that focus on eco like the Environmental Career Opportunities website.  They update their site every two weeks and have over 500 green jobs listed – so make sure to check it out.   There’s also the Environmental Career Center and Green Engineering Jobs. Another great way to find Green Jobs is through local universities and the Federal, State, and local governments.  Schools and governments are also expanding their employment pool to include jobs considered to be a part of the Green Collar Market!
On September 27th there will be a national day of action to bring more attention to the growing green job market organized by a movement called Green Jobs Now. The day will be filled with grassroots events throughout the country aiming to draw attention to the need for more Green Jobs and funding so that environmentalism can more easily become a part of our daily lives.  Even YOU can sign the Green Jobs petition, participate in an event near you or even host your own event in your neighborhood!

This is a very exciting time for our ever-changing world, as well as for small eco-minded companies like ourselves!  We really hope Green Jobs Now and other events like it will draw the attention of both political candidates and the general public to keep environmental issues at the forefront.  With all the negativity about the recession, its certainly refreshing to focus on the dawning of a new and hopeful era!

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