American Climate Corps Will Get People Into Green Jobs, Boost Mental Health

"Most young people aren’t sure how to take action. Biden’s program could provide much-needed structure."

"In the depths of the Great Depression in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned Congress that millions of Americans were idly “walking the streets,” presenting a threat to the country’s stability, even though they “would infinitely prefer to work.” It’s part of the reason he proposed the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program that would hire men to preserve forests, prevent soil erosion, and control floods. “More important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work,” Roosevelt said.

President Joe Biden referenced that line last month when he announced the launch of the American Climate Corps, a government jobs program inspired by Roosevelt’s that tackles the environmental problems of the 21st century. Besides the obvious benefits of restoring wetlands and installing solar panels, the climate corps is intended to pave a path to green careers for those who sign up. Another advantage of joining, though less-discussed, is that it could help alleviate widespread climate anxiety, channeling young people’s concern into concrete, hands-on work. More than half of Americans are anxious, to some degree, about how climate change is affecting their mental health. There are only about 250 job listings on the climate corps site right now, though some of those openings have multiple positions. The White House expects to employ 20,000 people over the program’s first year.

While the vast majority of 18- to 28-year-olds in the United States say they’re worried about climate change, two-thirds of them are unsure what they can do to make a difference, according to polling from the think tank Data for Progress in 2022. The combination is ripe for “climate anxiety,” a catch-all term for the feelings of grief, fear, and distress that’s not so much a clinical diagnosis as a logical response to living through the hottest period on Earth in 125,000 years."

Kate Yoder reports for Grist May 16, 2024.


"Community Colleges Offer Clean Energy Training As Climate-Related Jobs Expand Across America" (AP)

Source: Grist, 05/20/2024