Green roofs, green jobs


DC Greenworks

By Cathleen O’Grady

Green infrastructure projects can have an impact far beyond the obvious. While green roofs provide insulation, create cleaner environments, and help to conserve water, they also help to alleviate poverty and create jobs.

Vincent C. Gray, the mayor of Washington, DC, has recently launched the “Sustainable DC” initiative, a focus on creating green infrastructure for sustainable energy and resource management, while simultaneously creating green jobs. Our current Natural World beneficiary DC Greenworks is one of the major players in this initiative, training low-skilled unemployed or underemployed people in the installation and management of green roofs and water conservation. Previously, DC Greenworks has partnered with organizations such as the Coalition for the Homeless and StriveDC to provide hands-on green job training and alleviate unemployment. Most recently, they have trained 40 students from the Potomac Job Corps Center in green infrastructure techniques.

DC GreenworksThe green roofs also play a role in feeding the hungry: In partnership with Bread for the City, DC Greenworks has created an urban farm of 3,000 square feet that is not only used for education about nutrition, green infrastructure, and social justice, but also provides vegetables and herbs used by Bread for the City. Urban agriculture projects often go hand in hand with education: The vegetable garden at the KIPP DC WILL Academy creates a perfect opportunity to provide education about gardening and nutrition, and the innovative Truck Farm can be transported from school to school to create engaging educational projects.

To learn more about the education and training projects implemented by DC Greenworks, visit their website, or for more information about how green roofs work, take a look at their information pages.