Sunday, February 28, 2010

What About Van Jones's Green Collar Economy?

Van Jones said all the right words accepting the NAACP's President's Award at the organization's Image Awards show Friday night, Feb. 26. He reminded viewers of the impact going green can have on the American economy and families, and he sent a message of love to Glenn Beck, the man who McCarthyed Jones out of his White House post.

Maybe through extending a hand in love to Beck, Jones can move people other than Beck off the page of entertaining paranoid conspiracy theories about communism onto the practical topics he discusses in his book The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems (HarperOne, 272 pp., 2009). A writer who reviewed the book at the Yale Economic Review wrote:

In The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones, renowned community activist and civil rights lawyer, cogently demonstrates that the choice we have been called to make between environmentalism on the one hand and economic growth and poverty alleviation on the other is a pseudo-dilemma.As a result of the depletion of nonrenewable resources and the consequent soaring fossil fuel prices, the American economy runs the risk of stagnation. Here is where, notes Jones, economic growth and environmental protection converge. He argues 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.” Besides breaking America’s foreign oil dependence, the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources on a massive scale would cut energy prices and generate enough jobs to pull the U.S. economy out of its present death spiral. If the U.S. economy is to be rescued, we need to “retrofit, reboot, and reenergize” America.According to Jones, green-collar jobs are the one solution to fix America’s two biggest problems: poverty and environmental degradation. (Read more), an organization to which Jones sent a thank you in his acceptance speech, has produced a series of videos that helps make the kinds of ideas presented in the book real. One of them is featured below.


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