3.11.2008

van jones ~ a local hero for america

today i'd like to offer a deviation from my normal subject matter to share the thoughts of a man who has inspired me more than anyone to actually get behind a movement for progress and change. i think it would be irresponsible of me to not share this, actually. that's just how moved i am.
"the chief moral obligation of the 21st century is to build a green economy that is strong enough to lift people out of poverty. those communities that were locked out of the last century's pollution-based economy must be locked into the new, clean and renewable economy.
our youth need green-collar jobs, not jails."

"to me it’s no surprise that the country that has the world’s biggest pollution problem also has the most prisons. we’ve got a disposable mind-set: disposable products, disposable species, disposable people. we don’t see our sisters and brothers, much less all the animal species, as sacred. the failure to honor the sacred is at the root of both problems. "
"for the eco-elites, the idea of energy independence is exciting just by itself. for the person who is dealing with bread-and-butter, grits-and-gravy concerns, that’s all just pie in the sky. nobody is showing people of modest means how they will benefit from green energy. green is the new gold for rich eco-entrepreneurs, but it can be just one more burden for low-income people if they get stuck paying higher rates."
"it’s important from both a moral standpoint and a purely crass political point of view that we create a “new-deal” coalition among green businesspeople, labor, the poor, and people of color. you unite groups by offering immediate, as well as long-term, benefits for each constituency. for poor people, that could take the form of job opportunities, better mass transportation, and free bus passes. obviously, you’ll want to split the business community: the problem makers should get nothing but grief; the problem solvers should get plenty of support. right now the problem makers — the warmongers, the polluters, the clear-cutters, the incarcerators — get all the support they need from the government. the problem solvers — the solar engineers and the people who are growing local and organic produce — get very little support from any level of government. we want to lure the government away from the problem makers and put it back on the side of the problem solvers: give them the tax breaks, the subsidies, and the incentives, and starve those other guys."
"social problems are driving ecological problems, which are feeding back into social problems. you have to deal with both at the same time. if you try to fix poverty with suburban sprawl and pollution-based economic development, you are going to sink the environment. but if you preserve the environment by outlawing development, you then strand poor people and displace workers. they’re not going to starve to death so that you can have trees. they are going to fight for their survival. you have got to come up with economic development that honors the real constraints of the natural world. all roads lead to the same solution: a green-collar-jobs agenda that puts people to work reengineering our production, waste, energy, and water processes."
all quotes from van jones.
i just learned of him from an awe-inspiring interview in my march '08 sun magazine. the whole thing is definitely worth reading: here.
van's website is here.

all photos {except the van photos} from ralf stockmann's flickr site. van jones photos from the full circle fund flickr site.

7 comments:

Alex said...

Amazing Anj...amazing how he has pulled it all together into a lucid vision...the future is going to require some major change...major beyond our wildest imagination...and if we don't choose to change...the change will become inevitable...and involuntary...it's called revolution...

thanks for sharing...

tangobaby said...

Wow. This is an incredible person. I hope we are smart enough to follow his wise words.

studio wellspring said...

hi alex & tangobaby ~ i'm so glad you were moved by him too. please do take the time to read the whole article sometime, it's so worth it. he is exactly the type of person who needs to be heard. i'm fully on the van jones band wagon. ;o)

Patricia Gray said...

Thanks for sharing the wise & timely wisdom of this amazing man.

Anonymous said...

totally agree with you on Van Jones - I had the pleasure of meeting him at a roundtable on Green Finance in 2006, and he practically received a ovation merely from his comments! He is amazing and it's making me so happy to see him getting the accolades he deserves.

found your blog through AT, by the way.

Elizabeth said...

This is amazing discovery! Once again Studio wellspring, you connect us to the bigger idea. I am going to read the whole article.
Thanks, E
P.S. I gives me hope.

paris parfait said...

How wonderful! Thanks for this great post about a fascinating person!