As the U.S. works to reduce its carbon pollution, green jobs are booming. More than 3 million workers across the country are now employed in the clean energy industry.

As lead organizer for the Green Workers Alliance, Nico Ries (they/them) wants to make sure opportunities in clean energy continue to grow and that companies provide workers with fair wages and safe conditions.

“So often we see folks talking about, ‘Oh, we need better jobs,’ but it’s at the expense of climate, and then climate ignoring issues in labor,” Ries says. “So we’re really trying to be this kind of conduit between the two and saying, ‘No, we need to aggressively fight climate change, and we need to make sure that these are good-paying jobs.’”

So the alliance organizes workers to push for policies that support green jobs. And it advocates for higher labor standards — for example, in the solar industry, where Ries says many people are hired through temp agencies and wages can vary widely.

“My thing is, if we’re going to transition off of fossil fuels, we need to make sure these jobs are jobs that are actually taking care of folks and that they don’t get left behind,” they say.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media