Hello, Jack and Jill Politics. My name is Van Jones. I’m a 40-year-old Black civil rights attorney who has spent his adult life fighting for the equal protection and equal opportunity we were promised so long ago. And the latest developments in Washington and on Wall Street leave me more convinced than ever that a focus on creating green-collar jobs is the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time to get there.

I mean, let me get this straight. NOW it’s a crisis?

Really? You don’t say?


Earlier this year, the home mortgage crisis may have resulted in the biggest erasure of Black wealth since our enslavement. Think about that: billions of dollars in Black wealth was accumulated painstakingly over generations. And some unGodly percentage was wiped out in six months.

In other words: the same six months that saw the rise of Obama saw the collapse of a large section of the Black middle class. The mortgage implosion was a quiet Katrina that left Black folks, from coast to coast, drowning on dry land.

But unfortunately, nobody came forward with a trillion dollar bail-out package for us. No reparations for what happened “way back then.” No rescue helicopters in New Orleans in 2005. And no rescue package for what is happening right now.

So it looks like African-Americans are going to have to work hand-in-hand with other struggling communities – to fashion a rescue package for ourselves. I think we can handle it.

Fortunately, some very cutting edge ideas are finally starting to catch on – especially in the hood, where new ideas are desperately needed. On Saturday, thousands of people in more than 600 locations across the country will be rallying. They will demand we fix the economy by creating millions of “Green Jobs Now!”

This set of “green” rallies in fact will display every color of the rainbow. Many of the events will boast “unlikely faces in unlikely places” – including Black churches, Native American reservations and even Appalachia. September 27th may mark the birth of a genuine eco-populism in the United States.

The basic idea is that we need an economy that is based less on borrowing from overseas, more on building stuff here at home. We need to rely less on overseas credit, more on the creativity in our own backyards. Clean and green industries (like solar panel fabrication/installation, wind turbine manufacturing, water conservation, green building, building weatherization and organic food) can create millions of green-collar jobs, here at home.

The government should get firmly behind promoting these industries – which would let America fight pollution and poverty, at the same time. If we are going to spend billions, let’s bail out the people – and the planet, too. Within the agenda of using green solutions to reboot the U.S. economy, we can fight to make sure that the pie is shared equitably, with people of all colors.

A green collar job is a blue collar job, but one that has been upgraded to better respect the environment. They should be family-supporting jobs, with labor protections and good benefits. They can be the backbone of a renewed economy. And we need them, now more than ever, because most of the blue collar ladders into the middle class have been packed up and shipped overseas. Now we need to build some green ladders that our folks can climb up and out of poverty.

Americans need to accept that we can’t drill and burn our way out of problems. But we can invent and invest our way out. America’s number one resource is not oil. And it certainly is not tricky mortgages. America’s number one resource is her people – including OUR people. If we put people to work, retrofitting, rebooting, rebuilding and repowering America.

Many groups – including my own, Green For All – are rallying behind the call for a Clean Energy Corps, which does just that.

Of course, Black folks need more than green jobs. We need green CAREERS, leading to green entrepreneurship and ownership of green enterprises. And at a collective level, we need green COMMUNITIES, ones that boast clean air, clean water, expansive parks and safe streets. This movement for green jobs is a first step on the journey. We need to get on this green train, bum rush the engine room – and ride it till the WHEELS fall off! :)

Check out the website: www.GreenJobsNow.com. … Sign the petition and get involved.

Green Jobs Now Video

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