Pazhae Horace has a summer job with California Youth Energy Services, or CYES. It’s a program that hires youth aged 15-22 to do free “green house calls” in their communities. They go into people’s homes to evaluate energy and water efficiency, and then help install things like water-saving shower heads, or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Horace is 22, and this is her third summer working for the CYES site in Berkeley and Emeryville. She says that, at first, she was worried about talking to strangers, but now she really likes meeting new people, and helping them become more green.
We hear a lot about green jobs these days – those in renewable energy like solar, or wind, or retrofitting houses so they stay warmer. President Obama, campaigning in 2008, promised that investing $150 billion in clean energy would generate five million jobs. But after $90 billion from the stimulus, only a fraction of that number have been created.
San Francisco is trying to be green. The city has committed to an aggressive Climate Action Plan that calls for reducing carbon emissions by a quarter by the year 2017 – and getting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. The city also awards millions of dollars in grants for environmental cleanup programs.