The world has changed. The sole face, the sole name that seems to compete with Mickey Mouse or Ronald McDonald or a Pokemon figure for instant awareness among children seems to be Martin Luther King. The world does change. And, it can change for the better.
I have a dream …
Thus, my young children know who MLK is without even needing prompting from their parents. He is, even for my 3-year old, a hero, a name of excitement and power.
Thus, they paid attention when I took them to hear the man who I told them might be, hopefully will be the Martin Luther King of the 21st Century: Van Jones.
For those who follow my blogging, my focus is clear: energy and global warming challenges. I blog as part of my efforts to help us (US) chart and sail a course through the perfect storm created by Peak Oil, Global Warming, Peak Water, Population Growth, and the myriad other intertwined challenges to a good future for your, my, our children and all of us (and all for the US).
Through my path of discovery, through my engagement on these issues, I have had a chance to find real heroes (here at DailyKos and elsewhere). Van Jones is truly a hero. He speaks with power, with insight, with passion, with eloquence to the challenges and opportunities of combining “green” issues with dealing with the challenges of equity in our society and across the globe.
A decade ago, Van created the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
JUSTICE + OPPORTUNITY + PEACE
Working for justice in the system, opportunity in our cities, and peace in our streets.
One of the four initiatives within the center, the Green Collar Jobs Campaign:
The “green wave” is coming.
A new, multi-billion dollar economic sector is emerging, bringing new opportunities in green construction, clean technology, urban agriculture and energy. Our goal: ensure that this green economy is strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
Green-Collar Jobs Campaign creates opportunities in the green economy for poor people and people of color through policy advocacy, public outreach, and an employment pipeline - the Green Jobs Corps.
And, from this effort emerged Green For All which “has a simple but ambitious mission: to help build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.”
“It’s time the African American community had a part in the discussion on climate change,” said Jones. “We’re not going to solve global warming just with expensive consumer choices like buying hybrid cars and shopping for organic food. People need to realize that you don’t have to be white or wealthy to benefit from going green.”
Van Jones (the Ella Baker Center, Green For All), working with partners like the Apollo Alliance and 1 Sky, has had an impact. One of the bright lights of the 2007 Energy Bill is the $125 million for green-collar job training opportunities which provides enough resources for training about 30,000 workers a year in “green-collar” jobs. And, 20 percent of that is targeted for “a green Pathways Out of Poverty Program” to specifically get this taining to low-income Americans “who have the greatest need for training and career pathways in the clean-energy economy.” This $125 million is simply a beginning, a downpayment on what is required and the opportunities before us. But, that $125 million occurred in no small part because of Van Jones passion, eloquence, and strength.
On this Martin Luther King Day, “I have a dream …” I have a dream that we, in the United States and Globally, find a path to combine the fostering of a climate-friendly economy with the path toward an equitable society. Eco-Equity. True sustainability requires this combination. As I look around at my Pantheon of Heroes, Van Jones stands out as a man who is playing a major role in fostering that dream.
We can all help makeAmerica
Are you doing your part toENERGIZE AMERICA?
NOTE: Looking for additional ways to take action? Consider investing in a progressive future. Note that the Ella Baker Center and Energize America are two of the eleven organizations in the Energy Independence and Environment Progressive Fund.