Comparing Medieval Green Jobs of Yesteryear with the New Millennium Green Jobs of Today!

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under ECO-CAREERS, Jobs

There has been such a spate of articles written on the web recently predicting the best “green careers” of the future that it got us to thinking about the “green occupations” of yesteryear – specifically during the Middle Ages – a time in which 90% of the population were farmer peasants tied to small plots of land owned by their feudal lords. There were, however, craft guilds and merchant guilds that provided a higher status and a better way of living but at the same time there were threatening outbreaks of the bubonic plague and wars which coupled with medical ignorance made certain eco-related jobs very dangerous indeed such as the “leech collector” and the “ratoner” or “rat catcher”. Let us now take a look at some of the environmentally-conscious jobs of medieval yesteryear and see which ones are comparable in scope to those of the “green-collar jobs” of today and our sustainable future.

1- Today’s “FORESTER” is yesteryear’s medieval “VERDERER”: An Official in Charge of the Royal Forest whose main duty was to protect the habitat of deer and boar for the crown.
2- Today’s “ECO FASHION DESIGNER” is yesteryear’s medieval “CLOTHIER”: A Clothes Designer for the Nobles that required having a knowledge of various fine and expensive materials
3- Today’s “LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT” is yesteryear’s medieval “GARDENER”: The Medieval Gardener’s work was critical to the safety and protection of his lord’s castle. He was responsible for the upkeep on the infra-structure and physical appearances of the lord’s castle and estates which included digging defensive ditches and keeping the castle walls clear of ivy and or anything else that could be used to climb the castle walls.
4- Today’s “VEGAN NUTRITIONIST” is yesteryear’s medieval “HERBALIST”: The Medieval Herbalist was usually a member of a religious order such as a Monk or Friar whose work included growing, cooking, boiling, drying, and steaming plants, roots, and herbs that were natural healing agents for maintaining and improving a person’s health.
5- Today’s “CLIMATOLOGIST” is yesteryear’s medieval “ASTROLOGER”: Many medieval astrologers were highly respected scholars who carried around special almanacs and star charts from which they could predict weather systems and the growth of crops for a local area.
6- Today’s “BICYCLE MECHANIC” is yesteryear’s medieval “LORIMER”: a Maker of Horse Gear adept a making small ironware.
7- Today’s “WASTE DISPOSAL MANAGER” is yesteryear’s medieval “RAG AND BONE MAN”: A medieval person who would travel down the streets with a wheelbarrow or horse-drawn cart into which people could throw their rubbish for a small fee or favor.
8- Today’s “GREEN INTERIOR DESIGNER” is yesteryear’s medieval “GLAZIER”: A medieval stained-glass artist who would cut, fit, and paint glass into windows and doors.
9- Today’s “ENVIRONMENTAL ARCHITECT” is yesteryear’s medieval “DRY STONE WALLER”:
A medieval person who would build stone walls utilizing stones taken from the fields and fitted together tightly without any cement or mortar to make boundary markers, field walls, or enclosures.
10-Today’s “SOLAR INSTALLATION TECHNICIAN” is yesteryear’s medieval “LAMPWRIGHT”: A medieval person who made and installed lanterns and lamps in medieval castles and lodges.

Note that medieval era jobs were a reflection of medieval era measurements – in many instances measurements were the same ones used during the height of the Roman Empire – hence it would take a few more centuries before scientifically-based measurements would truly have an impact on the development of environmental careers i.e. emissions management, wastewater management, toxicology, hydrology, and pollution control. As for the next generation of green-collar jobs, nanotechnology promises to be the next breakthrough in the development of tomorrow’s sustainable way of life. We can only hope that a regulatory framework to assess and control environmental risks of this technology’s atomic and molecular dimensions will be accompanied by prudent lessons learned from our past.

Predictions from an Eco-Crystal Ball: The Green Reinvention of American Jobs!

It is not a question of ‘WHEN’ or ‘IF’ the American economy will recover from this latest recession, but ‘WHERE’ will the green-collar jobs of tomorrow be most predominant? And WHAT link is there between green entrepreneurship and geography? It is that very question that I shall attempt to answer herewith: Where will the greatest geographic concentration of tomorrow’s sustainable communities and green entrepreneurs be located within the boundaries of the continental USA?

To begin, the growth of tomorrow’s green-collar jobs looks the brightest in America’s urban centers. Indeed, the green gentrification of America’s largest cities was just recently given a tremendous boost by President Obama’s “Green Building Initiative” launched on Dec. 2, 2011 which amounts to a $4 Billion investment in energy upgrades in public and private buildings over the next two years. The hope is that the upgrades will make America’s buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade and that it will create about 50,000 jobs in the hard-hit construction industry.

Large American cities and their contiguous municipalities are also home to the greatest concentrations of angel investor groups and social venture capital firms in the country whose commitment to Triple Bottom Line Investing (commonly called the three P’s: People, Planet, & Profits) has spurred on new clean-tech startups and new health technologies. Start-up companies are where the jobs are created and access to low-cost capital is critical. Indeed, between 2008 and 2010, green job growth outpaced traditional job growth at a rate of nearly 2-to-1 in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan centers.

The growth of new eco-political alliances within America’s major cities is also shaping the green jobs sector of tomorrow. The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance offers a green jobs apprenticeship program. The Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh offers funding for energy innovation programs and green-energy related careers. The Boston Harbor Island Alliance offers eco-recreation and eco-tourism development opportunities and Air Alliance Houston offers school children health and science lessons. But perhaps the most significant eco-political partnership to have emerged in America in just the last six years is the ‘BlueGreen Alliance Foundation’, a non-profit coalition between labor unions and environmental organizations now 14 million members strong – “dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy”. And one of their major challenges is to green American cities while advancing social equity.

But not all urban centers are equal when one considers the most sustainable cities in America – Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California. And now with the 2008 establishment of the “Pacific Coast Collaborative”, an agreement by which the governmental leaders of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska have pledged to work together to find common solutions to regional and global challenges — Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are now positioned to be North America’s greatest centers of green innovation and sustainable resource management in the 7th largest economy in the world.

There are other factors at work as well that will continue to make Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California the greatest powerhouse engines of green job growth of tomorrow. One is a culture that tolerates and encourages failure. Second is an abundance of public policies that promote entrepreneurship, environmental stewardship, and progressive urban planning. Third is the abundance of renewable resources, natural beauty, and distinctive quality-of-life features that attracts both entrepreneurs and investors to set up business in these locations. Fourth, the entrepreneurial infrastructure amongst these three cities and within these three cities are truly amazing. Here are but a few:
Portland, Oregon –
(1) Creative Entrepreneurs Anonymous –
(2) Greener Good (Women’s Marketing Group) –
(3) OVP Venture Partners
(4) Oregon Angel Fund
(5) Oregon Entrepreneurs Network
(6) Oregon Microenterprise
(7) Oregon Networking
(8) Portland Angel
(9) Reference Capital
(10) SmartForest
(11) The Oregon Native American Business & Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN)
(12) Voyager
(13) Women Entrepreneurs of
(14) Women’s Investment Network –
(15) Young Women Social Entrepreneurs –

Seattle, Washington –
(1) Alliance of Angels –
(2) Entrepreneurs’ Organization –
(3) Ignite Seattle –
(4) Innovate Washington –
(5) Madrona Venture Group –
(6) Northwest Entrepreneur Network –
(7) Power Chicks International –
(8) Puget Sound Venture Club –
(9) Seattle Tech Startups –
(10) Seattle University’s Entrepreneurship Center –
(11) Seraph Capital Forum –
(12) Tech Cafe –
(13) TiE –
(14) Zino Society –

San Francisco, CA-
(1) Asian American Business Connection –
(2) Bay Area Social Enterprise –
(3) Berkeley Business Mixers –
(4) Change-Agent Entrepreneurs Bay Area –
(5) Eco-Tuesday –
(6) Fashion Entrepreneurs –
(7) Fearless Women Entrepreneur Network (FWEN) –
(8) Genuine Networking Association (GNA) –
(9) Golden Gate Angels –
(10) Granite Ventures –
(11) Ladies of Green Building –
(12) Next Level Networking –
(13) Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center –
(14) San Francisco Entrepreneur/Investor Network (SFEIN) –
(15) San Francisco & Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Meetup –
(16) “Women Business Owner” San Francisco Professional Network –

In conclusion, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are great cities in the process of reinventing themselves and our notion of 21st century sustainable living through their improved transportation systems, traffic signals, parking meters, bike lanes, esplanades, integrated green buildings, smart grid infrastructure, efficient water treatment management and recycling methods – and – I predict that this is where the greatest geographic concentration of tomorrow’s sustainable communities and green entrepreneurs will be located and in turn the greatest reinvention of American jobs.

Humorous Eco-Inspired Quotes – Part IV: By Some Famous American Television Celebs

I’ll let you be the judge of what’s funny but sometimes when you least expect it – a certain quip from a celebrity catches your breath with its nuanced eco-twist. Here then below is a list of my favorite eco-inspired quotes taken from a lighthearted comedic perspective:

1-“There’s so much plastic in this culture that vinyl leopard skin is becoming an endangered synthetic.” – Lily Tomlin

2-“A two pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry-that’s Thanksgiving dinner at Three Mile Island.” – Johnny Carson

3- “That’s the thing about Mother Nature, she really doesn’t care what economic bracket you’re in.” – Whoopi Goldberg

4-“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.” – George Carlin

5-“According to a survey in this week’s Time magazine, 85% of Americans think global warming is happening. The other 15% work for the White House.” – Jay Leno

6-“It’s hard for the modern generation to understand Thoreau, who lived beside a pond but didn’t own water skis or a snorkel.” – Loudon Wainwright III

7-“Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.” – David Letterman

8-“ Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” – Robin Williams

9-“You know what happens when windmills collapse into the sea? A splash.” – Bill Maher

10- “Yesterday, a group of scientists warned that because of global warming, sea levels will rise so much that parts of New Jersey will be under water. The bad news? Parts of New Jersey won’t be under water.” – Conan O’Brien

11-“Do you really think they have chemical weapons stronger than living next to New Jersey?” – Jon Stewart

12-“Now I know why I haven’t paid any attention to this global warming fad. It makes horrible television.” – Stephen Colbert

13-“Researches at Yale found a connection between brain cancer and work environment. The No. 1 most dangerous job for developing brain cancer? Plutonium hat model.” – Jimmy Fallon

14-“We don’t hate giraffes here, we just put them in their place.” –Craig Ferguson

15- “Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot.” – Ellen DeGeneres

16-“It’s absolutely stupid that we live without an ozone layer. We have men, we’ve got rockets, we’ve got saran wrap – FIX IT!!!” – Lewis Black