Earlier this week, many of us took a day to reflect on and celebrate hard-working Americans and their efforts to build a better country, better communities, and better lives for all of us. Work is not just about putting in your hours and getting a paycheck. Work is also about accomplishment and independence and recognition. In many ways, work is about dignity.
When we revel in America's great tradition of hard work -- and lest anyone doubt it, we work our tails off as a nation -- it is important that we all remember the great challenge and employment opportunity that exists in energy, clean energy. The clean energy sector employs 680,000 people nationwide and grew 19 percent from 2011 to 2012. That's more people than in the airline business, for instance. And I swear to you the overall number of jobs in the airline business didn't grow by 19 percent last year.
Let's face it: Job creation in the clean energy sector is happening. It's happening disproportionately in states, like California, with effective legal frameworks. And we've only just scratched the surface. So, we should ask the follow-up question: Why is no one celebrating our accomplishments? Why are we not trying to build on them as fast and furiously as we can? Why aren't we looking forward to our advanced energy future, instead of trying to protect the status quo?
Next year on Labor Day, let us hope that we also celebrate the hard work and accomplishments our nation is seeing in this critical sector.