The Green Collar Economy

The Green Collar Economy

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by Van Jones

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Now revised and updated, Van Jones's provocative and cutting edge New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy delivers a viable plan for solving the two biggest issues facing the country today—the economy and the environment.

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Now revised and updated, Van Jones's provocative and cutting edge New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy delivers a viable plan for solving the two biggest issues facing the country today—the economy and the environment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

As the "ecological crisis nears the boiling point," human rights activist and environmental leader Jones (president of the national organization Green For All) lays out a visionary, meticulous and practical explanation of the two major challenges the U.S. currently faces-massive socioeconomic inequality and imminent ecological catastrophe-and how the current third wave of environmentalism, the "investment" wave, can solve both. If industry players want to take advantage of growing consumer demand for green solutions, they'll have to follow principles of inclusiveness as well as conservation and inventiveness to create "broad opportunity and shared prosperity" for citizens at all levels of society. Rife with statistics, facts and history lessons, Jones introduces a "Green New Deal," a re-imagining of FDR's original New Deal that makes the government "a partner" (as opposed to a "nanny" or "bully") of the people, and sets about defining the principles of a "smart, supportive, reliable" partnership. Jones examines success stories from around the world (included close looks at Chicago and Milwaukee), defines government priorities at national and local levels and offers concrete solutions; one major positive step for any "significant U.S. metropolis" is to "invest massively in constructing buses, light rail cars, and mass-transit projects," creating good jobs while cutting greenhouse gases. With both caution and hope, Jones concludes that "tens of thousands of heroes at every level of human society" will be needed to carry off this third, and perhaps ultimate, green initiative.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rightsreserved.

Library Journal

With climate change, skyrocketing energy costs, and a bad economy on everyone's minds, these two books offer different takes on these circumstances and consequently quite different solutions. While in The Green Collar Economy, Jones (founder & president, Green for All) addresses ongoing issues of social inequality as well as the environment and arrives at large-scale solutions aimed at both, Makower (executive editor, in Strategies for the Green Economy focuses more on improving the "greenness" of individual corporations. By examining case studies of companies' green initiatives and their effects on marketing and consumers, he demonstrates how going green can be a win-win for both the bottom line and the environment.

In looking at the bigger picture, Jones provides ideas for rebuilding infrastructure and creating alternative energy sources, which would have the double bonus of boosting the economy through increased employment and higher wages while decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels. With a blurb by Al Gore and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., this is a much more forward-thinking and far-reaching work that considers concrete ways to improve our current situation, rather than offering only rhetoric. Action items and a resource list at the end of the book provide ways for individuals to get involved immediately.

Makower's is a more typical "business" book, looking at specific companies and their approaches to environmentalism. It focuses on corporate success and how to use the environment as a marketing tool rather than on strategies to save the country and the planet. While both books are highly readable and very timely, the bigpicture presented in The Green Collar Economy seems more optimistic and useful than the marketing techniques outlined in Strategies. The Green Collar Economy is recommended for all libraries, while Strategies is recommended more specifically for business collections.
—Susan Hurst

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The Green Collar Economy

How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

By Van Jones
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Van Jones
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061650758

Chapter One

The Dual Crisis

For forty-eight hours, Larry and Lorrie waited for the "imminent" arrival of the buses, spending the last twelve hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes they had with others. Among them were sick people, elders, and newborn babies. The buses never came. Larry later learned that the minute the buses arrived at the city limits, they were commandeered by the military.

Walgreen's remained locked. The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. After forty-eight hours without electricity, the milk, yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the ninety-degree heat. Without utilities, the owners and managers had locked up the food, water, disposable diapers, and prescriptions and fled the city. Outside, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry. The cops could have broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit juices, and bottled water in an organized manner. Instead, they spent hours playing cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters.

Repeatedly, Larry and Lorrie were told that resources, assistance, buses, and the National Guard were pouring into the city. But no one had seen them. What they did see—or heard tell of—wereelectricians who improvised long extension cords stretching over blocks in order to free cars stuck on rooftop parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical ventilators and spent hours manually forcing air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them alive. Refinery workers who broke into boatyards, "stealing" boats to rescue people stranded on roofs. And other workers who had lost their homes, but stayed and provided the only assistance available.

By day four, sanitation was dangerously abysmal. Finally Larry and Lorrie encountered the National Guard. Guard personnel said that the city's primary shelter, the Superdome, had become a hellhole. They also said that the city's only other shelter, the Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in. They could offer no alternatives and said, no, they did not have extra water to share.

When Larry and Lorrie reached it, the police command center told them the same thing. Without any other options, they and their growing group of several hundred displaced people decided to stay at the police command post. They began to set up camp outside. In short order, the police commander appeared to address the group. He told the group to walk to the expressway and cross the bridge, where the police had buses lined up to take people out of the city. When Larry pressed the commander to make certain this wasn't further misinformation, the commander turned to the crowd and stated emphatically, "I swear to you that the buses are there."

The group set off for the bridge with great hope and were joined along the way by families with babies in strollers, people using crutches, elderly clasping walkers, and others in wheelchairs. It began to pour down rain, but the group marched on.

As they approached the promised location, they saw armed sheriffs forming a line across the foot of the bridge. Before Larry and Lorrie were even close enough to address them, the sheriffs began firing their weapons over people's heads. The crowd scattered and fled, but Larry managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. When told about the promises of the police commander, the sheriffs said there were no buses waiting.

Larry and Lorrie asked why they couldn't cross the bridge anyway. There was little traffic on the six-lane highway. The sheriffs refused.

Heartbroken and desperate, the group retreated back down the highway and took shelter from the rain under an overpass. After some debate, they decided to build an encampment on the center divide of the expressway, reasoning that it would be visible to rescuers and the elevated freeway would provide some security. From this vantage point they watched as others attempted to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some were chased away with gunfire, others verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands were prevented from evacuating the city on foot.

From a woman with a battery-powered radio they learned that the media were talking about the encampment. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway. The officials responded that they were going to take care of it. "Taking care of it" had an ominous ring to it.

Sure enough, at dusk a sheriff rolled up in his patrol vehicle, drew his gun, and started screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway!" A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away the flimsy shelters. As Larry and Lorrie's group retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with the camp's small amount of food and water.

Forced off the freeway at gunpoint, they sought refuge in an abandoned school bus under the freeway, more terrified of the police and sheriffs with their martial law and shoot-to-kill policies than of the criminals who supposedly were roaming the streets.

Finally a search-and-rescue team transported Larry and Lorrie to the airport, where their remaining rations, which set off the metal detectors, were confiscated. There they waited again, alongside thousands of others, as a massive airlift gradually thinned the crowds and delivered them to other cities across the region.

After they disembarked from the airlift, the humiliation and dehumanization continued. The refugees were packed into buses, driven to a field, and forced to wait for hours to be medically screened to make sure no one was carrying communicable diseases. In the dark, hundreds of people were forced to share two filthy, overflowing porta-potties. Those who had managed to make it out with any possessions were subjected to dog-sniffing searches. No food was provided to the hungry, disoriented, and demoralized survivors.1

Among those left behind after Katrina, they were the lucky ones. Larry and Lorrie are a Caucasian couple who had some resources available to them. The whole world knows what happened to the poor, black residents of New Orleans who had none.


Excerpted from The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones Copyright © 2008 by Van Jones. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ctfranklin28 More than 1 year ago
"The Green Collar Economy" was one of the greatest books that I have ever read about environmental activism and action. Written by the founder of Green for All and civil rights advocate Van Jones, this book presents a comprehensive approach to addressing economic, environmental, and social justice issues using a collaboration of public (mostly federal, but also local), business, and the non-profit/faith communities. This is a rather novel approach, because most books that I have read focus on just on reaching one of these audiences, not all.  "The Green Collar Economy" is also unique in that it focuses on issues not typically discussed in "green" books, such as racism, oppression, and the utter lack of people not in the "hybrid-driving, upper-income group". Jones argues that any large, system-wide "green" movement should include voices and "green" actions from a diverse range of people.  Another interesting feature of the book is Jones ability to balance seemingly polar opposite approaches in his book. He is able to throw a lot of statistics that demonstrate how we are destroying the earth, while also balancing that with positive optimism drawn from case studies, quotes, and inspirational speech. He is also able to break down "green" technology-speak down to the realm of everyday conversation. He praises the methods of the "green" movement, but also critiques the tactics and methods used. Lastly, the book provides one of the most comprehensive plans to address the issues. Jones presents a very ambitious "New-Deal" type of plan similar to what is presented in the "The Covenant for Black America". While many will say it is overtly optimistic (something Jones addressed himself in the last chapter), this has been one of the greatest plans that I have seen for getting America going on the "green path". As Jones says, even if we don't accomplish everything in the book (or even half), we will be headed in a better direction than where we are going. This book is best recommended for those people who: (1) believe in "green" principles and want to glimpse one potential plan to get there. (2) social justice advocates who want to make the connections between race, poverty, and the environment and need examples or models to draw inspiration This review was based on a library copy, however I will be purchasing the book for my own bookshelf,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago