Domestic Work is Real Work


Did you know there is a whole sector of American workers who do not have the right to organize, to overtime pay, or legal protection from workplace discrimination and harassment? Domestic workers, such as those providing care for children and the elderly, are actually exempt from a large number of the employment rights many Americans take for granted. Excluded from the Fair […]

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Buying Sweatshop-Free in the USA


In the last issue of the Green American, we looked at labor abuses in the US. We’d found that the Made in the USA label doesn’t necessarily mean the product was made under decent (or even legal) working conditions. US workers are often subjected to sweatshop-like conditions, sexual violence, prison-like working conditions, and other forms of exploitation. Fortunately, there are […]

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July 2013 “Faces of the Green Pages”: Solar Service, Inc.; Niles, IL

As a regular featured speaker at our Chicago Green Festivals, Solar Service, Inc. owner Brandon Leavitt enjoys seeing his customers from 36 years of Chicagoland solar installations drop by to say hello. “We’ve counted more than a dozen of our customers at the shows, some of them clients from 30 years ago whose solar systems are still going strong,” says Brandon. We asked him to tell us more about his first solar installation and about his inspiration to start his solar company… Green America: What does your business do and what are your most popular products? Brandon Leavitt: Solar Service designs and installs both solar PV and solar heat and hot water systems for new and existing residential, commercial, municipal and multi-family buildings in the Chicago area.  Today, our most popular products are multi-family solar hot water systems and residential and commercial grid connected PV. What makes Solar Service green? Brandon: Obviously, by selling and promoting the use of renewable energy systems we are a green business at our core. Also, Our solar thermal panels are made in Florida and Minnesota.  The solar storage tanks are manufactured in the USA. The vast majority of our PV panels are produced and/or assembled in the USA.  We have never purchased PV panels made in China. We are a ’family friendly’ company where our employees’ needs for flexible work time are respected.  We have always recycled our in-office plastics, glass, metals, batteries and […]

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Summer of Solidarity for Economic Justice


The Summer of Solidarity Tour is a new, innovative approach to building relationships between union activists and local organizations working for economic justice. The Tour is a 17-day, 15-city coast-to-coast grassroots program that will bring together Steelworker local union activists and community groups. The goal is to support local economic justice struggles and to connect them with broader strategies addressing […]

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Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference


Green America is an endorser of the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference: We know that climate change is a reality. Hurricane Sandy and last year’s drought showed us what the impacts of climate change can do to our communities, to our economy and to our environment. Deficiencies in our water, energy and transportation systems, increasing food prices and water shortages […]

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Invest Fossil-Free

Deforestation in West Borneo

We can make a US clean-energy economy a reality by refusing to invest in companies that are destroying our planet. Instead, we can shift our investment dollars into clean energy, and support public policies that move us away from fossil fuels. Green America is proud to partner with on the national Go Fossil Free divestment campaign. The financial services […]

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New Solutions for Clean Energy

In order to properly tackle the gargantuan problem of climate change, we will have to employ a variety of solutions. There is no one technology improvement or policy change that will lower our emissions, clean our air and protect our resources over the long term. What we need is the right combination of policy proposals, scientific funding, clean energy adoption and international cooperation. Here are a few interesting links to provide an idea of the kinds of solutions being discusses right now: Renewable energy industries have started pushing innovative financing options that may be able to help increase their ability to draw revenue from investors like oil and gas companies. Currently, renewable energy companies are not eligible for real estate investment trusts (REITs) or master limited partnerships (MLPs). Both of these mechanisms are utilized by fossil fuel producers to seek out investors who are willing to accept a lower rate of return because the investor pool is so large. Opening up clean energy projects to these resources might allow for more financing and has been projected to cost less than $1 billion over a ten year period (compared to $11 billion for tax credit programs). This relatively new and unproven solution has yet to be applied to clean energy and we would love to hear your opinion on how effective you think they would be. The feed-in tariff is another mechanism that has been able to make an impact on […]

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