Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Van Jones in the White House!

Obama has just recruited environmental justice activist Van Jones to join the Council on Environmental Quality as a special advisor for green jobs.

I cannot overstate how much I LOVE this man.  He has been an advocate for green jobs as a solution to the environmental crisis and the growing economic inequality in the U.S. since before the economic crisis, but his work is even more important now.  He is the founder of the advocacy group Green For All, which advocates for government commitment to creating jobs and providing job training - especially for people from disadvantages communities - that will move the US toward a clean energy economy.  He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.  To top it all off, he is also an amazing and inspirational speaker.  
Most importantly, I think Van Jones and Majora Carter and other activists like them represent the beginning of the end of the racially-exclusive environmental movement.  Up until very recently, the mainstream environmental movement has been very limited to upper middle class white people, and some would even argue that women were kept out of the leadership of the movement as well.  Now environmental leaders like Jones and Carter (both black) are changing all of that.  Van Jones advocates changing the whole system - not just the pollution.  Taking the pollution out of a broken (read: racist, sexist, violent, etc.) system will only leave a racist world with solar-powered wars fought over the lithium for batteries.  ...And yeah, it's really easy to recognize that we have a lot of problems, but Van Jones also has a solution, which is why I'm glad he's starting at the White House next week.