Environmental Justice

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I expect that soon we will be hearing more about ideas like “environmental justice” and “eco-equity.” That’s because today, the Obama administration announced that Van Jones has been appointed as the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If you haven’t heard of Van Jones before, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about him in the future.


My introduction to Jones came a few years ago when I learned of his work as founder and director of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, CA. There he fought for justice for juvenile offenders with campaigns like Books Not Bars.

Books Not Bars fights to redirect California’s resources away from youth incarceration and towards youth opportunities. We engage in grassroots campaigns using media advocacy, policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and alliance building.

Currently, we are working to close California’s abusive, expensive youth prisons and replace them with rehabilitation centers and community-based programs.

You may be wondering what a man with that background knows about green jobs. Follow me below and you’ll see how his life mission progressed.

In 2005, Jones started the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign at the Ella Baker Center, which eventually led to the launch of a new nonprofit, Green For All.

Green For All is a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

By advocating for local, state and federal commitment to job creation, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities – Green For All fights both poverty and pollution at the same time.

Listen to how Jones makes the connection.

From an article about Jones in The New Yorker, here is how he describes our current situation.

The floor has been torn out from under the American people,” he said. “That’s the bad news. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their pensions, their 401(k)s. But I know from my personal life sometimes something really bad has to happen before something really good can happen. It’s when you get dumped or fired or fail that test that you have to look at yourself and figure out, What am I going to do now? And we’re at that moment. Sometimes a breakdown can lead to a breakthrough…

You have construction workers who are idle, and they’re going to be idle for twelve months, twenty-four months, thirty-six months,” he said. “They’re not going to be able to build anything. Let them rebuild everything. We have people coming home from wars, coming home from prisons, coming out of high school with no job prospects whatsoever. Let us connect the people who most need work with the work that most needs to be done…

Yes, it may be difficult to address climate change and poverty at the same time, he says, but it’s even harder to do so separately.

More than anything, the man knows how to inspire.

Here are some links to additional information about Jones:

He is author of the book Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix America’s Two Biggest Problems

As part of the documentary series This Brave Nation, he participated in a discussion with Carl Pope, founder of the Sierra Club.

He is co-founder of Color for Change, an advocacy initiative launched in response to Hurricane Katrina that gives African Americans a vehicle for action.



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  1. Jones talk last year at the National Conference on Media Reform. In that context (before the November election), I was particularly impressed with advice he gave to those of us in alternative media about the changes we were about to face. Here is what I wrote at the time.

    But he challenged us all that we will not have won come November. We have to learn how to move from protest to governance. And he outlined 4 things we’ll need to do:

    1. Hold the President accountable. And he stressed the “hold him” part of that.

    2. Move from agitation to education. We are used to using the hammer to tear down what’s wrong and will need to learn that the hammer can also be used to build things.

    3. Stay united and get away from the kind of thinking that there is one right answer and anyone who doesn’t agree is a sellout.

    4. Don’t give up on our ideals.

  2. Hijack my own thread to say that my computer has been infected with spyware protect 2009. I’ve already run AVG 7.5 and NVT malware remover tool and it’s still infected. Any ideas from anyone?

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