Jobs have been on my mind a lot lately…if by lately, you mean the past three years or so. It’s a lot less depressing to envision what the job market would look like in a sustainable economy than to think about the shitty choices it offers now. And if we’re going to build a better economy, we have to start by imagining it, right?
So here are ten more ways that people could make a living in a new economy:
This would be a win-win all-around, as it would lower carbon emissions, decrease traffic, and provide exercise to the bike messengers. Here in the US, we don’t have the necessary infrastructure for such wide-scale biking: but building it would create even more jobs in construction and urban planning.
2.) Cupcake bakers. Because a revolution without cupcakes is not one worth having.
3.) Artists, writers, performers, and other creators of all stripes.
As my friend Bethany says, “The truth is, we don’t know what is possible. Which is why the pushers of envelopes, the stretchers of bodies and minds, the pioneers, the prophets, poets, and weirdoes are so vitally important.” See also this piece about why artists and designers are just as necessary as more “practical” jobs.
Libraries are a perfect example of a non-commercial, community-oriented space, and we need more–not fewer–of them.
5.) Scientists and ecologists working to repair the natural world.
I was so inspired when I heard George Monbiot’s TED Talk about rewilding the world on public radio. Imagine if we, as a society, took even half the resources we currently put into making smaller and faster technologies, and put them toward studying and rejuvenating our wild spaces.
9.) Making educational videos on YouTube.
YouTube isn’t just for cat videos: there’s a world of learning to be found there. In one of the corners of YouTube where I hang out, there are the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, who started the educational channels Crash Course, SciShow, The Brain Scoop, Sexplanations, and The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. John’s wife is also starting a new channel called The Art Assignment. And that’s just the tip of the fascinating educational-video-iceberg.
In addition, John and Hank founded Subbable, a subscription service that allows audiences to fund the video-makers they love so that their shows can remain both free and free of advertising. I think this model has a ton of potential for creators of all sorts.
10.) Chefs and bike messengers working for CSA-style programs that distribute prepared food. We have one such program, Once A Week, here in the Boston area, and it’s awesome. It’s not cheap–which is why I’ve only bought their food once–but in an economy where everyone makes a living wage, people could afford to support such businesses.