Authors: Van Jones
Crossposted from Newsvine.
This is a big weekend for the green jobs movement. Today is the first meeting of Vice President Joe Biden's new Middle Class Task Force. This first meeting will focus on green jobs as a pathway to a strong middle class. Today also marks the beginning of Power Shift '09, a conference that will run through Monday and draw more than 10,000 young people from across the country. They will share ideas and strategies for helping our elected officials rebuild our economy through bold climate and clean energy policy — and making sure those elected officials get the job done.
When the White House and the campuses are speaking the same language, you know the country is ready to do something special. America is ready for the 21st century. It's ready for good, green jobs that provide pathways out of poverty while protecting and restoring the planet.
I can't wait to see it happen. What we're already seeing is unbelievably exciting.
In Newark, NJ, local government, business and labor are pioneering a public-private partnership to get everyday people quality jobs doing green retrofits on low-income seniors' homes, keeping them warm and saving them money. In Pennsylvania, urban farming is producing cheap, clean biofuels while wind-power giant Gamesa is providing hundreds of green manufacturing jobs to the state. In Seattle, the county's Opportunity Greenway helps young, court-involved adults (ages 16 to 21) get their lives on track with paid internships in one of three high-wage, high-demand green career tracks: transportation, energy, and natural resources.
These are just a few promising examples of local green economic development. There are many more throughout the country. If we nurture them, they can grow into a large-scale green economy, strong enough to solve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty.
The White House is working from treetops to make this happen. The campuses and communities are working from the grassroots. I like our chances. And I can't wait to see it all unfold.