Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   7 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Van Jones Has An Answer

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/4/11

Become a Fan
  (1 fan)
- Advertisement -

Many Baby Boomers have been recently saying how glad they are to be at the end of their lives and careers rather than at the beginning. Who could possibly muster hope in the face of the declining job market, an assault on the middle class, environmental degradation, financial ruination, dismemberment of public services and the high cost of education?

And yet, after hearing Van Jones speak Wednesday night at Kalamazoo College, I wished I were 20 again.

"You have an extraordinary opportunity to write history in today's highly unusual situation," said Jones to more than 400 students. "In just six weeks, you have totally transformed what's possible in this country."

He was referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has proliferated to 900 U.S. cities and spread from London to Sydney as a protest against corporate greed and income inequality as well as a call for fairness to the 99 percent.

"Your generation is bigger than the Baby Boomers, more diverse, more technologically savvy, ecologically aware and communitarian in values," said Jones. "Your enthusiasm made history in 2008 [with the election of Barak Obama], then you sat down in 2010 and made history [with the GOP takeover of Congress and state governorships] and then got up again in 2011 [with Occupy Wall Street]. Whatever you do, you make history--and now you have a chance to restore the nation."

Who wouldn't want to be a part of the next generation?

Yet, the activist and author of Green Collar Economy has been attacked for promoting green jobs because it makes money for Al Gore (who was already rich), and for being a militant racist, radical Marxist, 9/11 conspiracy theorist and bad-mouthing GOP-hater (according to Glen Beck).

Such name calling is a tactic used by people who would rather ignore our world's energy predicaments and hold on to a past when we didn't worry about such things. They pooh-pooh climate change, want to drill for more oil and natural gas, mine more coal, minimize regulations, reduce taxes, blame immigrants and gays for our problems and cut public services.

- Advertisement -

Jones, however, is clearly focused on the future and he has an impressively long list of accomplishments to prove it, including TIME Magazine's recognition of him in 2009 as one of the world's 100 most influential people.

"Everything good for the environment is a job," Jones said. "People could be put back to work by building a green economy with solar panels, wind turbines and retrofitting homes as a start."

So far, 2.4 million green jobs have been created including 100,000 in the solar industry and 100,000 in wind with three million more if Congress passed the President's jobs bill, according to the Brookings Institution.

Continuing to depend on fossil fuels for our energy is a futile endeavor as they are too limited in supply and too dirty to burn for our health or the earth's. This fact is not only accepted by environmental "hawks" but by the U.S. military, which is the "biggest driver of green energy," said Jones.

A September report of the Pew Charitable Trusts explains how and why the Pentagon is reducing its use and reliance on fossil fuels. "From Barracks to Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America's Armed Forces" states that DoD clean energy investments increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion, and are projected to eclipse $10 billion annually by 2030.

- Advertisement -

The Pentagon also assumes climate change is integral to every scenario of its planning process, said Jones, because it is seen as a dangerous "threat multiplier," which means that if left unchecked, global warming could lead to resource wars, environmental refugees and failed states in Asia, Africa and the Middle East--places where American troops are stationed today.

"We can't drill and burn our way to prosperity but we can invest and invent [in a green economy]," said Jones who called on the audience to be enterprising entrepreneurs, use smart technology to its best advantage, and re-invent the American Dream.

He called this a moral challenge akin to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mandela where we need the wisdom of all people to solve our problems. And that includes the wealthiest one percent with the 99 percent.

Next Page  1  |  2

Olga Bonfiglio is a Huffington Post contributor and author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq. She has written for several magazines and newspapers on the subjects of food, social justice and religion. She (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Michigan Can Be a Leader in Dealing With Climate Change

Some Sociological Explanations for Climate Change Denial

Inauguration Day 2009

How Music Helped Save New Orleans After Katrina

Big Government and Big Corporations Befriend the Local Food Movement

Hiroshima Day Reflection on Nuclear Weapons


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Green is where the future lies.  Let's get wi... by Olga Bonfiglio on Friday, Nov 4, 2011 at 12:36:02 PM
We seek the middle ground between a high-flying Ly... by Luis Magno on Friday, Nov 4, 2011 at 11:32:27 PM
That's pretty harsh.While Jones has swagger and ve... by Olga Bonfiglio on Saturday, Nov 5, 2011 at 7:24:57 AM
Although I'm a luddite when it comes to technology... by Olga Bonfiglio on Saturday, Nov 5, 2011 at 7:27:00 AM
that actually includes a future for the 99%, puts ... by Paul Repstock on Saturday, Nov 5, 2011 at 7:57:13 PM
A green economy could unify America, provide jobs ... by Olga Bonfiglio on Sunday, Nov 6, 2011 at 4:33:49 PM
So he's celebrating the youth electing the man who... by Bill Samuel on Sunday, Nov 6, 2011 at 6:34:26 PM