Green Collar Economy

You might have noticed that there’s an ad on the top far right side of the JJP site promoting JJP guest blogger Van Jones‘ new book Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. It’s available in bookstores and online tomorrow. You can pre-order now — vote with your $ before you vote in Nov on what’s important to you. JJP is proud to join in the push to sell at least 5,000 copies in pre-release. If we succeed, Van may become the first African American with a bestseller on environmental issues. To order, click on the ad or follow one of the links here so they know you’re coming from JJP. By pre-ordering not only can you be green, you can save some green, ya dig? It’s now $10 off the list price over at Amazon. Look, if we can do something about climate change and get your underemployed cousin Ray-Ray, Boo or Tyrone (or yourself – times are hard) a job, isn’t that 2 steps in a positive direction? Do you want your cousin Ray-Ray, Boo or Tyrone to stop borrowing money from you or your mama, yes or no? Finally, someone has a real solution for you.

The Green Collar Economy provides real, visionary solutions to the economic crisis and the climate crisis.  If it has a big opening, we really do have a real shot at getting these solutions into the hands of Obama and McCain and onto the bookshelves of members of Congress, not to mention hundreds of thousands of American households. Van is proposing a Green New Deal.

“This book illustrates the link between the struggle to restore the environment and the need to revive the US economy. Van Jones demonstrates conclusively that the best solutions for the survivability of our planet are also the best solutions for everyday Americans.”

– Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner

“In The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones turns conventional environmentalism on its head. This book is less about green consumers – more about green workers. It’s less about our private choices as individuals – more about our collective action as citizens. It’s less about building hybrid cars – more about building a hybrid political movement, one that can fuse together our best social and ecological solutions. Watch out: this book could change everything.”

– Larry Brilliant,

“Brother Van Jones is a visionary who spells out real solutions in black and white – and, of course, green. Van’s vision of a thriving, green economy doesn’t have throw-away things or throw-away people. It’s the kind of environmentalism everyone can get behind.”

– Mario Van Peebles, actor and producer, Mario’s Green House

Help get the message to Congress!

Consider buying an extra couple of copies for your Member of Congress.

Ship them to:

Green for All
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612

Van Jones’ organization Green for All will send you a thank you receipt for your in-kind donations and they’ll send the autographed copies to your congressperson – and to every congressperson, governor and state representative in the country. Our elected leaders know that we need policies that can uplift the American economy while saving the planet.

More about the book after the jump including an excerpt.

More than ever our country needs real solutions to our energy, economic and ecological crises. Answers to these tough questions are between the covers of The Green Collar Economy:

  • How can the next U.S. president create millions of new green jobs?
  • How can we lower energy prices without drilling our shorelines and burning up our planet?
  • How can the government help create energy independence – at practically zero cost to the tax payer?
  • What is eco-apartheid? What is eco-equity?


The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

By Van Jones

Published by HarperOne

Available October 7, 2008

From the introduction:

First, the bad news: the pain at the gas pump is just the beginning. Because our society has remained so dependent on oil in every aspect of our lives, petroleum prices are the Achilles’ heel of the entire economy. This weakness can and will send the entire country into a particular kind of a tailspin.

The reason is straightforward. It takes energy to make anything and everything. So when energy costs go up, all prices tend to go up. At the same time, those very same steep energy prices eat into consumer confidence. They depress nonessential spending and discourage hiring. So consumers stop buying, employers hold back on making job offers, and tourists travel much less. As a result, the economy starts to stall—with all the attendant job loss and pain. Yet prices throughout the economy, driven by rising fuel costs, keep going up just the same. The result is that society finds itself stretched on the rack, with soaring costs and plunging jobs pulling the body of the nation in opposite directions.

And so we find ourselves stuck with a dual crisis and a major dilemma. Should we use even dirtier fossil fuels to rev up the economy and in turn bake the planet? Or should we stop using oil and coal tomorrow and wreck the economy?

Whom do we love and care about more? Our children—and their immediate need for a viable economy? Or our grandchildren—and their long-term need for a viable planet? Go ahead—choose one.

Fortunately, this dilemma is a false choice. It is true that we cannot drill and burn our way out of our present economic and energy problems. We can, however, invent and invest our way out. Choosing to do so on a massive scale would have the practical benefit of cutting energy prices enough—and generating enough work—to pull the U.S. economy out of its present death spiral. But the true benefits would be much greater than that.

The possibility of an economic recovery based on clean energy (to increase supply) and on wasting less energy (to cut demand) is not a daydream. There is already a huge green economy developing. It is growing despite inadequate and inconsistent support from a public sector that is still easily cowed by the big polluters. In 2006, renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies generated 8.5 million new jobs, nearly $970 billion in revenue and more than $100 billion in industry profits. This is happening while the government is still giving billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil and coal companies. Imagine what would happen if the public sector fully and passionately supported the shift to clean, renewable power—and gave those supports to the next generation of power producers. Fossil fuels are a finite resource doing infinite damage. As long as we rely on fossil fuels to power our society, our economy is at risk for stagflation—and our planetary home is at risk too.

Ironically, that’s where the good news begins. The generations living today get to retrofit, reboot, and reenergize a nation. We get to rescue and reinvent the U.S. economy. We may as well do it right the first time. We may as well move the society as dramatically as we can, in the direction of a fully clean and renewable system. The more aggressive we are, the better off we will be. There is a better future out there.

So who will do the hard and noble work of actually building the green economy? The answer: millions of ordinary people, many of whom do not have good jobs right now. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, the major barriers to a more rapid adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency are not financial, legal, technical, or ideological. One big problem is simply that green employers can’t find enough trained, green-collar workers to do all the jobs.

The “green” in “green-collar” is about preserving and enhancing environmental quality—literally saving the Earth. Green-collar jobs are in the growing industries that are helping us kick the oil habit, curb greenhouse-gas emissions, eliminate toxins, and protect natural systems. Today, green-collar workers are installing solar panels, retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, refining waste oil into biodiesel, erecting wind farms, repairing hybrid cars, building green rooftops, planting trees, constructing transit lines, and so much more. California has shown that a state can still grow its economy while reducing the rise in greenhouse-gas emissions. The nation can do the same thing.

We have the chance now to create new markets, new technology, new industries, and a new workforce. Let’s do it right—with good wages, equal opportunity, and pathways to success for those whom the pollution-based economy left behind.

Imagine a Green New Deal—with a pivotal role for green entrepreneurs, a strategic and limited role for government, and an honored place for labor and social activists. Such a force would change the direction of our society. It would put the government on the side of the problem solvers in the U.S. economy, not the problem makers—and bring us all together.

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