Work Green, Earn Green hosted by Jay Tipton, a former WorkingNation producer and current environmental protection scholar, who is on a mission to not only find out what a green job is, but where they are today, where they’ll be in the future, and how American workers can land one.
Iowa’s SOS call: save our soil!
As the country’s leading producer of corn, centuries of continuous agriculture have depleted Iowa’s soil of organic matter and released tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but a few simple steps could turn it all around and turn the state into the Fort Knox of carbon storage.
The Mississippi moonshot
Mississippi’s economy continues to suffer as leadership remains loyal to legacy petrochemical industries, but a few innovative companies breaking ground within the state are opening the workforce’s eyes to the idea that greener gigs can offer bigger bucks.
A very special Earth Day episode
Friday, April 22nd, 2022, marks the 52nd anniversary of the beginning of the modern environmental movement, more commonly known as Earth Day. However, unlike most holidays, birthdays, and other annual celebrations, the meaning surrounding this global event has evolved over the past five decades as the understanding of our environmental impact has grown.
To dive a bit deeper into the semantics, Jay hosts a dialogue with environmental consultant and special advisor to the CDP Paula DiPerna about how the intentions behind Earth Day have shifted throughout her storied career, and how they could still stand to become more impactful. Beyond Earth Day itself, Paula and Jay discuss other words and phrases commonly associated with – and used in conjunction with – the green economy, whose meanings have been watered down or misappropriated over the years. Terms like “sustainability,” “carbon pollution,” and “net zero” are all ripe for picking as their ubiquity has stripped them of any tangible outcomes or environmental benefit.
Jay and Paula conclude with suggestions for how we can use language to our advantage in driving home how significant our planet is, especially in today’s day and age when the domestic and global economies are so indelibly linked to the availability of natural resources. Because at the end of the day, more clearly-defined environmental protections begets a more robust economy, and with a more robust economy comes many millions of life-sustaining jobs.
Featuring: Jay Tipton, Paula DiPerna
Produced by: Alicia Clark
Executive Produced by: Melissa Panzer, Joan Lynch, Art Bilger
Written by: Jay Tipton, Alicia Clark, Mike Zunic
Talent Producer: Emily Lallouz
Edited and Sound Mixed by: Lynz Floren
Assistant Editor: Mengfang Yang
Music by: Avocado Junkie
Made possible by: the Walton Family Foundation
The electrification of Illinois
With the signing of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act into law, Illinois has become the first coal-producing state – and the first midwestern state – to commit to a carbon-free future, and the bill was proposed in part by the state’s labor unions.
To get a sense of the scale of the goals CEJA lays out, Jay speaks with environmental expert Paula DiPerna, who ran the Joyce Foundation out of Chicago and founded the Chicago Climate Exchange. Paula explains that what sets Illinois apart from other states is that their union leaders have stopped trying to hang on to legacy jobs and have instead embraced the burgeoning green economy. Jay digs in a little deeper by chatting with Pat Devaney, the secretary treasurer for the AFL-CIO, who explains how the unions saw the shortcomings of previous legislation and decided to put together a proposal of their own that guaranteed prevailing wage and labor standards on renewable energy projects.
Next, Jay hears from Naomi Davis, founder of Blacks In Green, to hear how workforce development programs are providing not only pipelines to green jobs, but also pathways to business ownership for black and brown residents who have historically been shut out of the clean energy movement. And while on the subject of workforce development, Jay pops into Heartland Community college to hear from administrators, teachers, and students about how auto workers are preparing to meet CEJA’s most ambitious targets: getting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
And as the state works to electrify both its consumer and public transit, renewable energy developers will be erecting large-scale wind and solar projects. Jay rounds out his trip through Through the Prairie State by talking to Jon Carson, founder of Trajectory Energy Partners, about how well-suited Illinois’ rural farmlands are to provide the groundwork needed to meet the state’s growing energy demands.
CREDITS:Featuring: Jay Tipton, Paula DiPerna, Pat Devaney, Naomi Davis, Keith Cornille, Mike Deavers, Kyle Klein, Jon CarsonProduced by: Alicia ClarkExecutive Produced by: Melissa Panzer, Joan Lynch, Art BilgerWritten by: Jay Tipton, Alicia Clark, Mike ZunicAssociate Producer: Eve BilgerTalent Producer: Emily LallouzEdited and Sound Mixed by: Lynz FlorenAssistant Editor: Mengfang YangMusic by: Avocado JunkieMade possible by: the Walton Family Foundation
Arkansas: Rice, rice, baby!
As home to several major food corporations, nearly every food in the grocery aisle ties back to Arkansas in some way, shape, or form. One common denominator: rice. As both a staple food and a key ingredient in a multitude of processed foods, the state’s cash crop is grown not on major industrial farming operations, but on 2,300 individually-owned family farms that have been passed down from generation to generation. However, as clean as a bowl of rice may sound, it packs a dirty little secret: methane emissions.
In order to assess just how green rice farming truly is, Jay speaks with fourth-generation rice farmer Jennifer James, who discusses the farming technologies helping her to conserve water and soil in hopes of preserving the land for her son. To get a better sense as to whether Jennifer’s green efforts are representative of the industry as a whole, Jay chats with Riceland’s VP of Sales, Mark Holt, about how the farmer-owned co-op works to process, sell, and distribute the farmers’ yields, all while disseminating environmentally-friendly practices that trickle down from food manufacturers. One of rice’s biggest purchasers happens to be Anheuser-Busch, so Jay calls upon Agronomy Manager Bill Jones to explain how a brewery is helping green initiatives get to scale via model farms and strategic sourcing programs.
Looking forward, Jay learns from Dr. Alton B. Johnson, director of the Rice and Research Extension Center at the University of Arkansas, about the methods going into developing new strains of rice that will require less water and, in turn, emit less methane. He’s also shocked to hear about the innovative ways in which Riceland is putting its rice waste to use in hopes of offsetting some of the crop’s less desirable greenhouse effects. Finally, Jay speaks to Jennifer’s son Dylan about how college is helping Arkansas’ future farmers be on the cutting edge of rice innovation.
CREDITS:Featuring: Jay Tipton, Jennifer James, Paula DiPerna, Mark Holt, Bill Jones, Dr. Alton B. Johnson, Dylan JamesProduced by: Alicia ClarkExecutive Produced by: Melissa Panzer, Joan Lynch, Art BilgerWritten by: Jay Tipton, Alicia Clark, Mike ZunicAssociate Producer: Eve BilgerTalent Producer: Emily LallouzEdited and Sound Mixed by: Lynz FlorenAssistant Editor: Mengfang YangMusic by: Avocado JunkieMade possible by: the Walton Family Foundation
Colorado provides the green-print to success
As a former fossil fuel state that has swung both red and blue, Colorado has become a national leader when it comes to green innovation. To better understand how the state could give rise to so many environmentally-friendly enterprises, Jay speaks with professor of entrepreneurship Jeff York who explains the three factors Colorado has working in its favor: renewable energy standards, an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, and a ubiquitous love of the outdoors.
Next, Jay sets out to see how businesses of all shapes and sizes came to call Colorado home. In the case of Motili, VP of Sales Matt Sallee reveals how a national HVAC provider pivoted into an energy efficiency operation. On a smaller scale, Eric Adamson of Tortuga Agtech explains why he picked Denver over Silicon Valley as the location to build his crop-picking agricultural robots. And for those of us with homegrown operations, Jay speaks with Ashley Tindall, founder of Soul Bean Roasters, a coffee roasting company with the goal of zero waste, to see how Fort Collins provided the opportunity to wed her passions for coffee and sustainability together.
A trip to Colorado wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Rockies, and so Jay heads to Aspen to hear from world-renowned environmental activist Auden Schendler about how Colorado’s ski industries are adapting to shorter ski seasons, and to find out what green businesses they have invested in to provide proof of concept for scalable change. Finally, Jay talks to Mario Molina of Protect Our Winters to get a sense of the impact winter recreation has on the local economy.
CREDITS:Featuring: Jay Tipton, Jeff York, Matt Sallee, Paula DiPerna, Eric Adamson, Ashley Tindall, Auden Schendler, Mario MolinaProduced by: Alicia ClarkExecutive Produced by: Melissa Panzer, Joan Lynch, Art BilgerWritten by: Jay Tipton, Alicia Clark, Mike ZunicEdited and Sound Mixed by: Lynz FlorenMusic by: Avocado JunkieMade possible by: the Walton Family Foundation
Learning Outside of the Classroom !
As a recently retired school principal, I am excited and amazed to continue learning about complicated science topics outside of the classroom and school walls. I have actually taken notes to keep up and better understaand the issues. I feel like Jay is the "Ken Burns" of Green Topics, Issues, Challenges and Opportunities by bringing these issues to a wide audience for awareness, appreciation, and opportunities to improve life , especially economically, for all on this beautiful planet that God has given us. I can't wait to listen to the next episode and share these podcasts with teachers who will certainly share with their students. Keep up the great work , Jay and team.
As an architectural professional with a minor in Sustainable design, I can attest to the confusion and importance of “green jobs” I truly appreciated the perspective that every job will eventually need to be green, and “ it’s not the sidecar, it’s the train” as far as the importance of considering environmental preservation in every industry. Not only have I been informed, I too have been inspired to continuously ask: is my/ your job green enough?
Lots of great info
Green jobs will are so important moving forward. It’s time to open up people’s minds to the new career possibilities that benefit our environment.