[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/03/02/green.jobs.training/art.wind.turbine.gi.jpg" caption="The green job sector may not be big enough to jumpstart the employment."]
Special to CNN
After the release of a miserable June jobs report, President Obama stood with a group of green company CEOs and told reporters that "men and women like these will help lead us out of this recession and into a better future."
But if the White House puts too many eggs in the green recovery basket, we may all be disappointed. The green sector is simply not large enough or competitive enough to be a major engine of job creation.
The CEOs who stood with Obama lead smart, innovative and, in many cases, rapidly growing firms. But green firms in the United States are small and employ relatively few people.
Applied Materials, one of the larger companies at the meeting and a producer of solar cells, employs 13,000 people worldwide and only 6,000 in the United States. Hara, a smaller company at the table, uses computer models to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Hara employs 30 people in the United States.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/art.chuckleavellwithtrees.jpg caption="In addition to being the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones for the last 27 years, Chuck Leavell writes that he is 'passionate about what trees and forests do for us.'"]
Environmentalist, Author and Musician
In an age where we often hear about the alarming worldwide effects of climate change, global warming, and greenhouse gases, it is easy to forget that some solutions lie within our grasp.
Trees, particularly in urban areas, provide numerous benefits. They improve air and water quality, conserve water and reduce storm runoff, help reduce heat caused by buildings and pavement, and absorb carbon. It is up to us to ensure these trees are providing the maximum benefit and that we do our part to keep them healthy.
That's where research comes in. On July 19, America's largest fundraiser for tree research, the STIHL Tour des Trees, will kick off from New York City. Cyclists from across the world gather each year to travel more than 500 miles across different routes through the United States to benefit the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund and to raise awareness for the need for research to keep urban trees and forests healthy.
I am passionate about what trees and forests do for us. My wife, Rose Lane, and I are tree farmers in Georgia, carrying on a tradition of good stewardship of the land that her grandparents passed down to us and that was begun by earlier generations of the family more than 100 years ago. We do our best to care for the land in a responsible way, to set an example for our two daughters and two grandsons about caring for the earth.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/science/05/07/eco.baskingsharks/art.basking.jpg caption="Ted Danson says a closed sign on a beach led him on a 20-year quest to save the world's oceans."]
Special to CNN
Today, Monday, June 8, we recognize the first U.N.-sanctioned World Oceans Day. The event comes after years of pressure from conservation groups and thousands of activists who clamored for everyone to know and understand what's happening in our oceans.
I became an ocean activist in 1987. It was the fifth year of "Cheers" and my family moved into a neighborhood that was on the water, in Santa Monica, California. One day I took my daughters to the beach to go swimming, but it was "closed" and I couldn't answer my daughter's question why.
That's really how it started. That and "Cheers" was paying me a lot of money and I felt I had better be responsible with it. So, I started to get involved.
It turned out in our new neighborhood there was a fight to keep Occidental Petroleum from drilling 60 oil wells on Will Rogers State Beach in Los Angeles. They wanted to slant drill into the Santa Monica Bay. The fight was led by a man named Robert Sulnick and we became great friends and found a way to beat them.
Dr Fred Boltz
Today, Conservation International will present Anderson Cooper with our most prestigious award – the Global Conservation Hero Award – in honor of the entire team responsible for CNN’s Planet in Peril Series.
It’s the first time that we’ve ever given the award for journalism. Previously it has gone to some very powerful people – the former head of the World Bank and to the CEO of Wal-Mart – for the huge strides that they have taken in protecting the environment.
This year’s award reflects the major achievement of Planet in Peril which has fearlessly engaged the American public in issues that the mainstream media had previously been reluctant to cover.
The key to the show’s success – and to the award that we are presenting to the team that made them – is their incredible determination to tackle huge and complex subjects head-on and to make them accessible to ordinary people. Whether it is the spread of diseases from wildlife to humans or the conflicts developing over natural resources that sustain us all, the shows made connections between what is happening in some of the world’s poorest nations and what is happening right here in the US.
And now, more than ever, it is critical that people in this country understand how completely connected the US is to the rest of the world. At the end of this year the governments of the world will meet in Copenhagen to agree a plan for what needs to be done to address climate change, and the US will be one of the most important players in that debate.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/24/art.afghan.park.lake.jpg caption="Lake Kara is the largest of the six lakes in Band-e-Amir."]
Editor’s Note: This week, Afghanistan opened its first official national park. It’s called Band-e-Amir and was officially announced by the country’s National Environmental Protection Agency. This designation affords legal protection to the lakes and surrounding landscape – about 230 square-miles – and ensures its sustainable environmental management. The land is mostly dry grassland and desert highland habitat with six lakes. Estimates suggest approximately 5,000 people live in the 14 villages that make up the region. The Wildlife Conservation Society has been working with local organizations to set up the management of the Band-e-Amir.
Dr. Peter D. Smallwood
Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society-Afghanistan
“You’re working WHERE?” I’m running the Wildlife Conservation Society’s project in Afghanistan.
“But… is there any wildlife LEFT in Afghanistan?”
This is a fairly typical start to conversations I have on my short trips outside of Afghanistan. Even here in Kabul, when I meet up with other NGO workers, they always ask: is there any wildlife left? The answer is yes.
Afghanistan is roughly the size of Texas, but is much more diverse than one would expect for a landlocked country of this size, sandwiched in between Iran and Pakistan. Typically, one thinks of the deserts of Kandahar and Helmand when thinking of Afghanistan, but there’s much more to this country: high mountains and alpine valleys in the north east are home to Marco Polo Sheep (like the American Bighorn sheep, only bigger), Ibex (wild goat), and the illusive, legendary snow leopards hunt them. Great Brown bears roam those mountains too.
There are beautiful forests in the steep eastern mountains: evergreen forests, some with pistachio and old walnut trees mixed in. Markhor goats and Asiatic black bear live here, along with Persian leopards and several other cat and fox species. There is a lot of wildlife left. And much of it is in trouble. It’s the usual trouble: habitat destruction, overhunting, overgrazing of the grasslands, crowding out the wildlife.