Friday, September 5, 2008

Green Movement Reaches For The Rainbow

Overwhelmingly White, the Green Movement is Reaching For The Rainbow.
(Reposted from, "The Seattle Times, Published on Monday, March 10, 2008, by Paula Bock.)

"What's a nice black guy like me doing in a movement like this?" Van Jones strides the stage at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, a charismatic lawyer who grew up in rural Tennessee, graduated from Yale Law, and founded the Ella Baker Center for jobs and justice in Oakland, California.

Tall, 39, his pate shaved, he cuts a striking silhouette in a black turtleneck and blazer, but it's his daring message that electrifies the crowd. He's in Seattle to talk about "The Unbearable Whiteness of Green" and how the environmental movement needs to include people of color and the poor if there's any hope of slowing global warming.

All 250 seats quickly fill: Boomers wearing fleece, techies fiddling with gadgets, eco-chic in ethnic garb.

On an ordinary Wednesday night on an ever-warming planet, this is clearly Seattle's coolest spot, and for a predominantly white city, the crowd is remarkably racially diverse.

"The Prius people, the polar-bear crowd are great," Jones says. "We're not mad at them. We like them! At the same time, if the only people who can participate are the kind who can afford to put solar panels on their second home, the green movement is going to be too small to fix the problem. If we want to beat global warming, there's no way to do it without helping a lot of poor people. If you design a solution that does not do that, it's a solution that's too timid."

In Jones' eyes, the first wave of environmentalism, led by Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, focused on preserving the nation's natural beauty in parks. The second wave, led by Rachel Carson of "Silent Spring," concentrated on federal regulation of toxics. The third wave, he says, is about investment. Initially, that meant individual consumer choice: hybrid cars, organic food, energy-efficient light bulbs. Now, it's evolved into major public spending and community-wide action.

Jones' grand vision? Think New Deal and civil-rights movement combined with a clean-green industrial revolution. The nation needs to train masses of "green-collar" workers to conduct energy audits, weatherize and retrofit buildings, install solar panels and maintain hybrid vehicles, wind farms and bio-fuel factories. The icing? Wiring buildings and installing solar panels can't be outsourced.

"Brother," Jones says, "put down that hand gun and pick up this caulk gun."

(Click on title link to read the entire article.)

First Day Back

Okay ... I've been talking about quitting for some time now, right? So I took a short load up to Dallas after I dropped in Laredo, Texas last week. Thought about it for a few days ... and on Wednesday, I gave Arrow back the keys, cleaned out the truck ... and on Thursday ... I caught a plane back to the California, Bay Area. Got here last night.

Yes, California is no longer California. Yes ... people are driving themselves (and others) CRAZY from competing with each other over NOTHING. Mindless competition-with no prize! Quality of life continues to nose dive... but it's where I grew up and it seems it’s the best place for me to prepare for Phase II of my plan to move to a small farm in the country.

Logistics was a major issue. When you drive a semi … that truck is your life. It’s your home. It's where you have much of your stuff stored. It’s your place of work. It's what's keeping you eating. So, I was glad when several things just "fell into place" (with the help of God, of course).

Two friends had a bedroom ready for me. So I had a clean house, use of the kitchen and one of his cars when needed. (I gave my sister my old Honda before I left. I want to buy a used truck or van before I leave and head south with it.)

A recruiter already promised me a job as soon as I bring in a copy of my DMV (it's clean).

So the problems of shelter, employment and transportation in an area where those three are often difficult to obtain where solved enough for me to resign from my OTR trucking job.

So I arrived, called up one of my "Bible Go-To" partners ... and he tells me to slow down, take a week off. Needing exercise, I started walking down University Avenue feeling so good about not having to drive today .. no chains to throw ... no heavy tarps to wrestle with ... no straps and binders ...

I see this brother walking towards me that looks vaguely familiar ... we start talking ... and guess what? As of this moment ... in the hard to live-in, over-crowded Bay Area ... the place where 15 months ago, I had leave and travel to Oklahoma just to get a job just 15 ...yeah ... suddenly on the first morning back, I have:

1. A new job I start on Monday (The brother owns a Body Shop in Alameda)
2. A good wage driving ... and going home every night
3. I have a new apartment he's throwing in FREE above the shop
4. AND I have a "new" van that he had the court take from a customer who wouldn't pay ... for only $500.00!!!

I can now take some of those free classes I'll need later, along with the Horticulture classes. Then to South Carolina where I’m already making contacts in agriculture, small farming, and funding.

Peace and blessings to all.

What We Believe:

"Every problem is an opportunity in work clothes."
~Henry J. Kaiser