The Greening of American Workers

FSA photo of Illinois railroad worker William London, 1942 (Courtesy Library of Congress via the Commons on Flickr)

Industrial America has ever been one of environmentalism’s staunchest enemies.  Efforts to set higher standards for food and drug safety, for purer air and water, and for cleaner and less toxic methods in agriculture, manufacturing, and the extractive industries must all contend with this constant drag.  The pollution and spoliation of our environment and the globe’s finite resources is ongoing.  One wonders what lever might be applied, in addition to the tired ones of law and conscience.

Looking at this picture suggests another form of pressure, namely, the green convictions of a younger generation of American workers.  Many children of factory workers, for instance, now refuse to consider careers in manufacturing, for the simple reason that they see it as dangerous and dirty.  And when we look at many of the ugly industrial regions on the country, with their belching smokestacks and their tankers of waste, we can easily see why they disapprove.

I wonder whether in time the greening of America’s young people might have a powerful effect in getting American industry to clean up, too.  The US economy will wither if its productive enterprises can no longer claim the loyalty and commitment of its most talented and discerning youth.

Image from this source.

2 responses

  1. I find it just amazing and ever so “too bad” that so few air/water purity bills exist. Almost all the large industrial companies that continuously bleed bad air and water into our environment CAN afford to “clean up their act.”

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