Online Micro-Survey: City Services, Health & Costs Are Top Concerns in Communities Facing Climate Change Impacts

Residents from eight cities around the country answered an online survey question in August to make their concerns and needs known when it comes to impacts of global warming such as more extreme storms, heat, sea level rise, flooding, drought, and wildfires. The survey was promoted via Facebook to communities of color in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Tucson and Los Angeles.

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Progress Illinois

EPA Holds ‘Clean Power’ Hearings; Poll Finds Climate Change To Be A Hot Topic For Minority Voters.

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June 2014 - INsight Newsletter


May 2014 - INsight Newsletter


April 2014 - INsight Newsletter


March 2014 - INsight Newsletter


February 2014 - INsight Newsletter


January 2014 - INsight Newsletter


November 2013 - INsight Newsletter


Clark Atlanta Ambassadors Join with Community in Gardening Event

Written by Cydnie Melson, Green For All College Ambassador 

GFA College Ambassadors Cydnie Melson and Vicky Valera

GFA College Ambassadors Cydnie Melson and Vicky Valera

On Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9am- 1pm, I, along with my fellow Ambassador Vicky Valera, organized an awesome community activity for Clark Atlanta University students. We collaborated with the Miss Women’s Leadership Council of Clark Atlanta University and presented the event, “Farming Atlanta.” We arrived at 8:30 a.m. at the Clark Atlanta University campus student center to welcome our fellow students and get ready for the day’s activities. After meeting at the student center we walked to a nearby community farm. We walked so that we could reduce the carbon footprint of our event. Every little bit helps.

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Nspiregreen LLC

Entrepreneur: Veronica O. Davis & Chanceé Lundy
Matched Coach: Cathleen Szebrat

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Wash Cycle Laundry

Entrepreneur: Gabriel Mandujano
Matched Coach: Cathy Carmody

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G.R.O.W.

Entrepreneur: Susie Blackburn
Matched Coach: Nancy Paul

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Green Opportunities

Entrepreneur: Torin Kexel
Matched Mentor: Jim Golden

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Greenability

Entrepreneur: Julie Koppen

Matched Mentor: Shannon Gilbertson

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Gilliam Solar, LLC

Entrepreneur: Eric Mathis
Matched Coach: Charles Feltman

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Market Day Foods

Entrepreneur: Sarah Alexander
Matched Coach: Margaret (Maggie) French

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Pickens & Thompson

Entrepreneur: Corey Thompson
Matched Coach: James E. Persing

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Green Competitive Advantage

Entrepreneur: Howard Jean-Denis
Matched Coach: Nancy James

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Fight for Light

Entrepreneur: Markese Bryant
Matched Coach: Mary Riley

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The Produce Box

Entrepreneur: Courtney Tellefsen
Matched Mentor: Scott Uelner

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KCG Green Energy Consultants, LLC

Entrepreneur: Will & Stacee Nichols
Matched Mentor: Nikki Payne

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LeadsBiXample

Entrepreneur: Kelvin Francis
Matched Coach: Paul Thallner

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Southwest Green Building Center

Entrepreneur: Cathy Kumar
Matched Coach: Teri Conrad

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Solar Richmond's Pamoja Energy Solutions

Entrepreneur: Kandea Mosley
Matched Mentor: Carelyn Yancel Torres Rivera

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Indigo Engineering Group, LLC

Entrepreneur: Delicia Gunn
Matched Mentor: Stephen Bonnaire

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HTS Enterprises

Entrepreneur: Garry Harris
Matched Coach: Ed Rankin

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Balance Edutainment

Entrepreneur: Dave Room
Matched Mentor: Greg LaSalle

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Mays Social Capital Solutions

Entrepreneur: Carla Mays
Matched Coach: Maureen Miller

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Green For All's Business Engagement Program

Entrepreneur: Khary Dvorak-Ewell
Matched Coach: Faith Halter

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Kuli Kuli

Entrepreneur: Lisa Curtis
Matched Coach: Mary Miller

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Green Career Tracks

Entrepreneur: Barbara Lee Parks
Matched Coach: Vivian Padua

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Grocers On Wheels (ZIPS)

Entrepreneur: Demetrius Hunter

Matched Coach: Mike Curtis

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Atlanta Food & Farm, LLC

Entrepreneur: Kwabena Nkromo
Matched Coach: Cornelia Shipley

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Southland Solar

Entrepreneur: Sarah McEachern
Matched Mento: Dave Rayburn

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Triple Green Custom Print Developers

Entrepreneur: Joanna De Leon
Matched Coach: Heather Markel

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What is a green job? What is a green-collar job? What is the difference?

People sometimes confuse the terms green job and green-collar job. ‘Green job’ refers to any job that contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality.

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October 2013 - INsight Newsletter


Finding And Posting Green-Collar Jobs

Check out these great websites that post and list green jobs. You might see a lot of green job listings that require advance degrees, but all of these sites list green-collar jobs as well.

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Polluters Lose, Communities Win

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By Maritza Martinez

What if you could not only vote for who your representatives are, but also how they legislate? In Brazil and the United Kingdom, you can. And the idea is catching on in cities across the U.S.—including New York, Chicago, and Buffalo. These cities are beginning to incorporate participatory budgeting into some aspects of city management. Participatory budgeting allows community members to make real decisions about how money is spent in their city. In participatory budgeting, residents identify spending priorities, develop specific spending proposals, vote on which proposals to fund, and work with the city to implement the top proposals.

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September 2013 - INsight Newsletter


Urban League’s New Fund Aims to Spur Growth of Small Businesses

Written by Zakiya Harris
Green For All Business Accelerator Program Manager

The National Urban League has empowered generations of civil rights leaders to further justice and improve education and housing. Now it’s about to empower minority-owned businesses to improve the economic opportunities in their communities. 

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New Report: Seeing Green: Green Infrastructure Maintenance Training and Workforce Development Opportunities in Northeast Ohio

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez, Senior Associate of Green For All

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Performing operations and maintenance on green infrastructure projects in the Northeast Ohio area has the potential to create 219 jobs and over $23 million in economic activity. These jobs not only represent substantial local economic development activity, they also preserve the long-term health and performance of new green infrastructure projects, and can offer valuable career entry points to people with barriers to employment. 

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Why College Students Should Care about Climate—and What We Can Do to Help

Written by Makaila Frisina, Green For All Communications Intern

Makaila

The four words that I’ve heard grumble from my dad’s mouth and mine the most this summer break have been, “It is so hot!” It’s not just us; it really is getting warmer every year. Last year was the hottest year on record in the United States. Record-breaking temperatures aren’t the only climate change events that we’re witnessing. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and carbon pollution have contributed to a decline in public health and the health of our planet. 

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Building a healthier, more prosperous Pittsburgh through energy efficiency

Tim Carryer-from Ryan

Tim Carryer has always loved the outdoors—he’s spent time traveling in Alaska, and scuba diving off the coast of Massachusetts. The pollution and environmental degradation he saw while spending time in nature always disturbed him. But he never really thought of himself as an environmental advocate, until recently. 

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August 2013 - INsight Newsletter


How to Transform a Community? It Starts With a Personal Connection

sfe_enblackcuisine_2013_001“I am the Green Economy” Blog Series

Written by: Maritessa Bravo Ares

Rain or shine, Jennifer McPike moves swiftly from door to door with a clipboard in hand in some of San Francisco’s underserved and neglected neighborhoods.  As an Environment Now Crew Leader, she and her team are on a mission. Their goal is to reach out to as many San Francisco residents as they can to teach them about the city’s Zero Waste Campaign, an effort to reduce waste heading to landfills while increasing access to recycling and composting.  Jennifer’s job is more than just making sure she and her crew target every home on her list.  It’s about transforming a community – one home, one business, and one person at a time. 

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Tucson shows how green infrastructure can create community resilience

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez, Senior Associate for Green For All

Tuscon

What would happen if every time a roadway was built or renovated, new green infrastructure that added green spaces and soaked up rainwater was also installed? What if every time a new road is planned, we also planned to include lush tree canopies that naturally lower temperatures? Well, the city of Tucson is no longer asking these questions—they are finding the answers. The city’s Green Streets policy requires that stormwater-harvesting features, such as vegetated streetside basins, be integrated into all publicly-funded roadway development and re-development projects. City officials believe that this will reduce demand on precious potable water supplies for landscape irrigation, increase shade along roadways, enhance the urban forest, reduce flooding, and cut back on water pollution. The adoption of this innovative policy is a lesson in the power of grassroots movement building. 

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Working for Environmental Justice in Minnesota

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By Karen Monahan, Green For All Fellow and Environmental Justice Organizer at Sierra Club

Environmental Justice issues are linked to many other injustices. Polluting industries are more likely to be located in communities of color and low-income communities. Folks who are impacted by these pollution sites often suffer from many illnesses, including asthma. Asthma is the number one reason students miss school. Link that to test scores and drop out rates. Many of these same folks do not have healthcare. Folks still have to eat and have shelter regardless of whether or not they have an education. When one doesn’t have the proper training or education to make a living wage, it leads to low-income jobs (if they are available), social services (which are being cut) or maybe a life of crime, which can lead to incarceration or even death. Environmental Justice is one way to tackle a variety of injustice issues. 

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Leaders, Innovators, and Job Creators: Kareem Dale

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In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Kareem Dale was working in Houston as a project manager for a construction company. It was a good job, but he sometimes wondered if there was something else out there—something more gratifying. 

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July 2013 - INsight Newsletter


GFA helps launch Global Power Shift

Written by Julian Mocine-McQueen
Director of Education and Outreach, Green For All 

This past week, I joined 600 (mostly) young leaders from around the globe for phase one of Global Power Shift (GPS). Held on the campus of Istanbul Technological University in Turkey, GPS was convened by 350.org. In the face of ever-rising CO2  levels and continued failure from most governments to act, GPS is a massive worldwide push to shift power toward solutions and away from the fossil fuel economy. More than just a gathering of climate activists, GPS phase one was designed to allow national allies, neighboring countries and entire regions to sit down together and plan phase two. Phase two will launch over the next several months and will be comprised of countless coordinated campaigns and actions. I was proud to represent the United States and Green For All at this incredible gathering. 

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I AM the green economy - GTECH Strategies

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Andrew Butcher
GTECH Strategies
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Written by: Kaori Tsukada, Program Associate

When Andrew Butcher saw vacant lots, he also saw the potential to make them the heart of a community revitalization strategy. Vacant lots are empty parcels of land that pose a number of challenges – the appearance of disuse can attract illegal dumping, decrease property values in the surrounding area, and lead to general disrepair as well as significant costs for both neighbors and the municipality. In urban areas that house disadvantaged populations, lack of resources can lead to more vacant lots and blight designation. 

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Fresh Start & Fresh Vegetables

By Maritza Martinez

Hakim no text

Green For All Fellow Hakim Cunningham feels that “service work is one of the highest calling a man can undertake in his lifetime.”  He is the director of organizing at the Boston Workers Alliance, a community organization led by unemployed and underemployed workers fighting for employment rights. 

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I AM the green economy - Nate Dais

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Kaori Tsukada 

Nate Dais never imagined that he’d be designing and constructing park trails—or that he’d enjoy it so much. A few years ago, he was working at a job that didn’t pay enough, and when the economic downturn came, he hit a wall; there were no jobs available. With no way out, he did what he had to do to make ends meet. When he heard about a training program his cousin was doing, it opened a door. Dais knew he wanted to transform his life. 

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New Mexico Man Finds Hope in Water Conservation Career

AMERY1

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish

Amery Romero’s family has lived in Truchas, New Mexico for generations. Since the 1600s, they’ve farmed and raised cattle in the area. But over the past few decades, more and more of Truchas’ residents have streamed out of the town, leaving to work at the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory, or heading to Santa Fe in search of jobs. 

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Hombre Encuentra Esperanza en Carrera de Conservación de Agua en Nuevo México

AMERY1

Traducido por Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

La familia de Amery Romero ha vivido en Truchas, Nuevo México, por generaciones. Desde los 1600s, ellos han criado ganado en al área. Pero durante las últimas décadas, más y más de los residentes de Truchas han dejado el pueblo para ir a trabajar en el Laboratorio Nacional Los Álamos, o a Santa Fe en búsqueda de empleo. 

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La Bella Vida

MISSISSIPPI HIPHOP FISH FRY PLAYERS - BLACKS IN GREEN - GREENFESTIVAL CHICAGO - 2013 - SAM_0061

Escrito Por Maritza Martínez, Traducido por Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

Se habla mucho sobre la resiliencia de la comunidad, ¿Pero qué quiere decir eso en realidad? ¿Cómo podemos asegurarnos que nuestras comunidades están preparadas para sobrevivir –no solo en cara de los desastres causados por el cambio climático, pero durante las bajas de la economía, o cualquier otra cosa que aparezca? 

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The Beautiful Life

MISSISSIPPI HIPHOP FISH FRY PLAYERS - BLACKS IN GREEN - GREENFESTIVAL CHICAGO - 2013 - SAM_0061

By Maritza Martinez

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

There’s a lot of talk about community resilience, but what does it really mean?  How can we make sure our communities are ready to survive—not only in the face of disasters wrought by climate change, but during economic downturns and whatever else may come our way? 

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills, and Building Careers: Onondaga Earth Corps

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez
Senior Associate, Green For All

In our recent report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones, we profile seven organizations that are linking members from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in the green sector.  These groups are diverse with respect to the populations they serve, the skills they teach, and the types of work they perform, but all of them recognize that green infrastructure has the potential to transform communities. 

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Community Power Building: Buffalo

Written by Maritza Martinez Fellowship Program Manager, Green For All

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Last week, I joined Green For All’s Director of Education and Outreach, Julian Mocine-McQueen on a trip to Buffalo to meet with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. Our goal was to bring together allies from around the city to explore how we could collaborate.

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills, and Building Careers: Cleveland Botanical Gardens Green Corps

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez
Senior Associate, Green For All

In our recent report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones, we profile seven organizations that are linking members from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in the green sector.  These groups are diverse with respect to the populations they serve, the skills they teach, and the types of work they perform, but all of them recognize that green infrastructure has the potential to transform communities. 

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Food Shift: Reducing Waste, Strengthening Communities

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By Maritza Martinez After spending four months in Southeast Asia, Dana Frasz returned to the U.S., a country where more than one in five children don’t know where their next meal will come from. Yet she watched as institutions from colleges to restaurants to farms throw perfectly good food into our landfills. It was a jarring contrast after seeing so much poverty and hunger overseas. Seeing leftover food poured into the trash in her college dining hall sparked Frasz into action. 

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Entrepreneurs network, gain skills at L.A. Green Business Academy

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Earlier this month, Green For All partnered with the University of Phoenix to host a Green Business Academy in Los Angeles. The Academy is designed to give skilled business professionals and green entrepreneurs the tools they need to grow and succeed. During the daylong workshop, business leaders networked, learned about running and funding green businesses from other entrepreneurs and industry leaders, and gained skills in working with government agencies. 

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills and Building Careers: Seattle Conservation Corps

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez
Senior Associate, Green For All

In our recent report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones, we profile seven organizations that are linking members from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in the green sector. These groups are diverse with respect to the populations they serve, the skills they teach, and the types of work they perform, but all of them recognize that green infrastructure has the potential to transform communities.

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Diana Terán: Yo SOY la economía verde

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Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

Escrito por Kaori Tsukada, Traducido por Marta Donayre

El hijo de Diana tenía cuatro años cuando comenzó a tener fuertes migrañas, eczema, y mala salud. Durante cinco años los doctores batallaron para diagnosticar y tratar su condición, y descubrieron que era debida a una sensibilidad extrema a preservativos y aditivos en su comida.

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Diana Teran: I AM the green economy

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Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

La Tauna Tortillas
Tucson, Arizona

Written by: Kaori Tsukada

Photo credit:
Tim Fuller, photographer
www.timfuller.com

Diana’s son was four years old when he started to suffer from severe migraines, eczema, and poor health. For five years, doctors struggled to diagnose and treat his condition, which they finally found was due to extreme sensitivity to preservatives and additives in his food. 

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills and Building Careers: Sustainable South Bronx

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez 

Senior Associate, Green For All

SSBX no borders

In our recent report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones, we profile seven organizations that are linking members from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in the green sector. These groups are diverse with respect to the populations they serve, the skills they teach, and the types of work they perform, but all of them recognize that green infrastructure has the potential to transform communities. 

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I Am the Green Economy: Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth

READY 2012-21

In Howard County, Maryland, the READY (Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth) program is changing lives while keeping local water clean and healthy. The organization works to create good green jobs for youth while reducing stormwater runoff and improving watershed health. READY trains young adults in the design and installation of green stormwater systems. Crew members install rain gardens on institutional properties including schools, congregational grounds, and large properties held by non-profit organizations. 

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills and Building Careers: Verde

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez
Senior Associate, Green For All

In our recent report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones, we profile seven organizations that are linking members from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in the green sector. These groups are diverse with respect to the populations they serve, the skills they teach, and the types of work they perform, but all of them recognize that green infrastructure has the potential to transform communities. 

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Coming Alive for Our People and Our Planet

By Maritza Martinez

HubOakland_Founders

When Green For All Fellow Ashara Ekundayo moved to the Bay Area from Denver in 2010, she brought her passion for creative place-making, a track record of community organizing, and an expertise in execution. Three years later, she is serving as a catalyst and connector through her work as Co-Founder and Director of External Affairs at Hub Oakland

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Green For All and Partners Make Earth Day a Smashing Success

From coast to coast, last week folks turned out and tuned in to celebrate Earth Day and support a more sustainable future. 

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Greening Communities, Teaching Skills and Building Careers

Written by Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez
Senior Associate, Green For All

Improving the social conditions of disadvantaged communities is no easy task.  For years, workforce development programs have been helping members of these communities gain access to employment opportunities by preparing them for the workplace and providing them with the skills they need to succeed. 

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I Am the Green Economy: Generation Water

GenWater

When Generation Water’s CEO Marcus Castain started the organization, his goal was to develop the next generation of leaders for the green economy who can combine technical best practices and business skills to solve complex sustainability challenges.  Five years later, Generation Water has employed and trained more than 250 youth and adults, installed 125 rain gardens, and conducted over 240 water audits and irrigation surveys for clients in the Los Angeles area including the Department of Water, Los Angeles Unified School District, the Metropolitan Water District, and the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, among others. 

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Call to Action: National Lunch Walk Challenge on April 24th

Written by: Eric Mathis, Green For All Fellow

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“The U.S. medical system, as currently set up, rewards cardiac surgeons at a much greater rate than it does programs for avoiding weight gain or controlling high blood pressure. About 5% or less of the U.S. budget on health care is spent on prevention, according to Don Wright of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most of the rest is spent on treatment.”[1]

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Transforming the World, One Cup of Juice at a Time

Written by Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

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Last year, all eyes were on Occupy Oakland as protestors exposed economic injustice and challenged the status quo across the country.  Though the issues they brought to light are still relevant, they are no longer in the global spotlight. But the movement has continued in many ways and the inspiration it provided lives on in the work of many around the world. 

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Why The Green Economy Should Be A Priority for People of Color

Written by Shamar A. Bibbins
Director of National Partnerships, Green For All 

As a college sophomore in the mid 1990’s, I eagerly accepted a field-study assignment with a local environmental organization where I helped execute public engagement efforts around New York State’s newly established recycling laws in public housing projects. As anyone who has ever done community outreach will tell you, there is always a swinging pendulum of public response, from great appreciation to deep agitation. However, it was the response of a young mother, not much older than myself, that changed the trajectory of my studies and eventually my career. 

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STAYING GREEN AND GROWING JOBS: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones

Restoring the environment and developing youth: crew installing a rain garden

Restoring the environment and developing youth: crew installing a rain garden
Credit: Donald Tsusaki | Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

The operations and maintenance (O&M) of green infrastructure represents a significant opportunity to create entry-level jobs in the green sector for individuals from disadvantaged communities.  In the coming years, thousands of new green infrastructure projects will be installed throughout the country. They will require a workforce trained to maintain and monitor the projects.  Green For All’s new report, Staying Green and Growing Jobs, reveals that water utilities investing in green infrastructure can outsource O&M work to workforce development programs that train individuals in green infrastructure – in fact, some already do.  Operations and maintenance work gives disadvantaged community members access to jobs and career on-ramps while performing the O&M work required by water utilities. 

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Young eco-entrepreneurs solve water problems with rain barrels

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

KI EcoCenter youth entrepreneurs and Green For All Fellow Imhotep Adisa with their rain barrel prototype

In many communities around the world, people are struggling for basic access to clean water. Here in the United States, many of us see water as an unlimited resource that we take for granted. But the truth is that much of our country’s water infrastructure is decaying, including in places like Indianapolis, where both unemployment and sewage overflow plague communities. But today, intergenerational entrepreneurship is creating solutions to both problems.  

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Presidente de Empresa Solar de Washington D.C., WDC Solar, Enfocado en Entrenar a Trabajadores Locales para Carreras en Energía Limpia

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Traducido por Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

¿Alguna vez ha llegado a un punto en su vida cuando se da cuenta que necesita cambiar algo? Eso fue lo que le pasó a Mark Davis. El manejaba una exitosa compañía en Washington D.C., cuando comenzó a pensar sobre la importancia de la energía limpia para el medio ambiente. Entonces, en 2009, él comenzó una nueva empresa dedicada a la energía solar: WDC Solar. Él escogió la energía limpia porque sintió que era la cosa correcta que se debía hacer. 

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WDC Solar President D.C. Solar Company Focuses on Training Local Workers for Clean Energy Careers

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Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

Have you ever come to a point in life when you realized that you needed to make a change? That’s what happened to Mark Davis. He was running a successful information company in Washington, D.C., when he started to think about the environment and the importance of clean energy. So in 2009, he started a new company dedicated to solar power: WDC Solar. He got into the clean energy industry because he felt it was the right thing to do. 

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Water is Life

By Maritza Martinez

KI Eco Center youth entrepreneurs assemble a rain barrel prototype.

KI Eco Center youth entrepreneurs assemble a rain barrel prototype.

Access to clean water is vital for a healthy life. We tend to think about water scarcity issues as a crisis only in developing nations. But we have a water crisis right here in the U.S., too. We have crumbling and inefficient water infrastructure.  We waste 1.5 trillion gallons of water each year just because of broken water mains. Thirty-six states are expected to suffer from water shortages in the next five years alone.  We urgently need to address these problems. 

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Job Training Program Turns Young Woman into Entrepreneur

Aisha

Twenty-four year-old Aisha never anticipated that she’d be leading her own environmental remediation company. Though she’d always been interested in environmental issues, she was largely unaware of the fact that many residents in her hometown of Baltimore faced serious health risks from living in homes and buildings contaminated with toxic substances like asbestos, mold, and lead. 

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New Strategic Partnership with Small Business Majority

Written by: Maritessa Bravo Ares, Program Assistant and Khary Dvorak-Ewell, Senior Associate, Business Engagement

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The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently released a report that confirmed a fact many small business groups already know to be true: small businesses are leading the nation’s economic recovery. Green For All is one of the groups that has seen this first-hand. We have worked for years to support small green businesses with the skills and resources needed to create new jobs while improving our environment. We know from experience that small businesses are America’s principal drivers on the road to economic recovery. It is these businesses that are, time and time again, the most capable at fostering local community resilience in times of economic hardship. 

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Collaborations in Coal Country Build Healthier Communities

Green For All Fellow Eric Mathis makes sustainability possible in the coalfields

Green For All Fellow Eric Mathis makes sustainability possible in the coalfields

How do you actually build a healthy community?  Green For All Fellow Eric Mathis believes economic diversification is a critical piece of the answer. As we have seen across the country, having a local economy rely on one industry can be devastating.  With this in mind, in his community of Williamson, West Virginia, Mathis led the installation 48 solar panels (11.27 kilowatts of clean power) on the roof of a local health clinic—right in the heart of the coalfields.  The solar panels are not only bringing renewable energy and savings to the clinic but they serve as a pilot project for a future that includes better health and good jobs for local residents. 

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First African American-owned Solar Manufacturer Creates Local Jobs in Anacostia

When Mark Davis started his career, he didn’t know that he would one day become a key player in America’s growing green economy. 

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Forward on Climate and Forward in our Communities

Written by Ursula Ible, Green For All Ambassador

FAMU College Ambassador Ursula Ible: Front right

This past weekend, February 17, 2013, I joined the “Forward on Climate” rally at the National Mall in Washington DC. Organized and supported by organizations including the Green For All, Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Hip Hop Caucus, the rally involved over 40,000 demonstrators, including families, youth leaders, organizers, and a multitude of local and national orgs and groups. There were many guest speakers, including Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Van Jones, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Reverend Lennox Yearwood, and Bill Mckibben. 

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Barrio Sustainability Offers Hope in the Face of Arizona’s Climate Change Challenges

Written by Luis Perales, Green For All Fellow

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.  

Tierra Y Libertad Organization planting trees with fifth graders at a Tucson, AZ school.

After witnessing from afar the people power associated with the Forward on Climate Change Rally held on Sunday, February 17, 2013, I’m reminded of the tremendous work at hand in the state of Arizona in general and the Tucson Metropolitan Area in particular.  As a long time organizer with the grassroots organization, Tierra Y Libertad, who has worked on issues and campaigns related to culturally appropriate public health services, immigrant rights, educational equity, and barrio sustainability, I recognize the need to bring together individuals and organizers from across sectors to create a new brand of positive social change. 

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New Mexico’s Water Worries within a Changing Climate

Written by Juan Reynosa, Green For All Fellow 

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

Project Feed the Hood, a program of the Southwest Organizing Project, at the opening day of the International District Community Garden in Albuquerque, NM

Here in New Mexico it’s been an interesting past few years, climately speaking. We’ve witnessed a change in seasons, temperatures, and precipitation.  As these changes have become progressively more severe, so have their impacts. 

 
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Sostenibilidad del Barrio Ofrece Esperanza para Enfrentar Los Desafíos de Cambio Climático en Arizona

Escrito por Luis Perales, Asociado Green For All, Traducido por Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

Después de ver a la distancia el poder del pueblo asociado con la concentración Forward on Climate Change, realizado el domingo 17 de febrero de 2013, recordé el tremendo trabajo adelante del Estado de Arizona en general, particularmente el Área Metropolitana de Tucson. Como un organizador con la organización Tierra Y Libertad por muchos años, y habiendo trabajado en asuntos y campañas culturalmente apropiadas relacionadas a servicios de salud pública, derechos de inmigrantes, equidad educacional, y barrios sostenibles, reconozco la necesidad de juntar a individuos y organizadores de varios sectores y crear una nueva marca de cambio social positivo. 

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Preocupaciones de Agua en Nuevo México dentro del Cambio Climático

Escrito por Juan Reynosa, Asociado Green For All, Traducido por: Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

Hablando climatológicamente, aquí en Nuevo México las cosas han estado interesantes estos últimos años. Hemos visto un cambio de estaciones, temperaturas, y precipitación. A lo que estos cambios se vuelven progresivamente más severos, sus impactos también lo son. 

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Want to Build Climate Resilience and Create Jobs? Fix America's Water Infrastructure

Written by: Camila Thorndike, Board of Directors
Watershed Management Group

While “water is life” borders on cliché, we too rarely hear about how our economy also depends on carefully managing this critical resource.  Yet desert dwellers know it in our bones: no water, no Tucson, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Denver, or LA.  The federal budget debates challenge us to voice our priorities. While we may have dodged a bullet on the fiscal cliff, by delaying sequestration until March 1 the Administration and Congress must come up with approximately $85 billion in cuts for the FY 2013 federal budget.  If Congress slashes funding for job training and investment in infrastructure improvements that help communities withstand climate change, they will dry up a rising groundswell for a water-wise future. Not one of us can afford that outcome. America’s aging and stressed water infrastructure is falling apart. Fortunately, a sufficient financial commitment from Congress to manage stormwater and preserve water quality across the country could generate 1.9 million jobs and over $265 billion in economic activity.  Public infrastructure investment in our most precious resource is a ready solution to our ecological and jobs crisis. 

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Job Training Program Turns Young Woman into Entrepreneur

Written by: Kim R. Noble, Program Associate

When 24-year-old Aisha Dorsey enrolled in a Baltimore job training program, she never expected that it would lead her to launch her own business. 

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Imagination Heals Brings Transformative Entertainment to Hospitalized Children

Written by: Dave Room, Green For All Fellow

For the past two years, I have been working on project that evolved out of the Green For All Fellowship. Through my Green For All term of service I gained insight as to how to communicate the importance of community stories, how to develop them, and how to teach community storytelling to youth and climate justice activists. And with this experience I founded Pacha’s Pajamas, the first and only full-length Children’s Pop Musical. Each song has an eco-message for kids and a call to action. 

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Bronx Food Activist Makes Lemonade Out of Lemons

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

“Everyday, Bronx activists make lemonade out of lemons” Green For All Fellow and BLK Projek founder Tanya Fields told a reporter for a recent article. She was not only referring to a recent snub from TedxManhattan, but also to the state of food access in her neighborhood. 

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Recycling Workers Fight for Fair Wages, Safety, and Dignity

Written by: Michael Katz, Senior Associate

An alarming number of injuries to recycling workers: The dirty and dangerous job of sorting and recovering recycled materials in Alameda County is performed by a mostly immigrant and largely female workforce. The workers are exposed to a host of dangers including contaminated hypodermic syringes, animal carcasses and feces, heavy dust and a host of sharp objects that cause injuries. On June 19, 2012, a waste worker in another part of the Davis Street facility was crushed to death – caused by Waste Management’s failure to follow safety laws, according to Cal-OSHA that fined the company more than $50,000 and issued two “Serious” citations for ignoring the law. The company is refusing to pay the fines and is trying to appeal the citations.

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Dream Reborn Song Competition: Finding an Anthem for the Green Movement

Written by: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager

Today, you can hear the songs on classic rock radio: “Time Has Come Today” by the Chambers Brothers, “Say It Out Loud (I’m black and I’m proud)” by James Brown, or Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew (How it Would Feel to be Free). But when they were first released, these songs—and many more—defined the civil rights era. They not only gave the movement a soundtrack, but provided inspiration to thousands who were risking life and limb to demand justice for all. 

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Green For All Business Engagement and Mentoring Program Graduate Honored at Pre-Inaugural Reception

Written by: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate

Last week, Green For All’s Business Engagement Strategies program and our 2011 Mentoring Program Graduate, Volt Energy, were honored at the “2013 Black Green Mingle” pre-inauguration reception at CAPITALE of D.C.  The reception fostered networking opportunities among minority-serving institutions, businesses, government and environmental organizations committed to strategies that derive environmental and economic opportunities for people of color and low-income communities. 

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“Dream Reborn” Music Contest Changes Oakland Artist’s Outlook

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Invest, who, together with Silent C, won last year’s Dream Reborn Music Contest for their song “7 Billion” This year’s contest begins on January 22. Find out more about the contest (and how you can enter) here: http://gfa.fchq.ca/the-dream-reborn-song-competition-are-you-next/

by Invest

When I was a child, I thought the things I was witnessing in Oakland, California —from the drug dealing to the prostitution— was the way things were supposed to be. I felt that the world was always like this and there was no reason to try to change it. I was raised in a neighborhood called Brookfield which is located in Deep East Oakland. Growing up, we were all poor kids with dreams of being successful but without any real-life role models to show us the way. Born into poverty, we naturally developed a strong desire to provide for ourselves and our families by any means necessary. Like many kids in my community, I thought my path to success was playing basketball or hustling on the streets. 

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Green For All Announces the 2013 Business Mentoring and Coaching Program for Green Entrepreneurs

Written by: Khary Dvorak-Ewell, Senior Associate - Business Engagement

Gilbert Campbell and Antonio Francis, owners of Volt Energy, photographed with President Obama at the White House. (Photo retrieved from: http://volt-energy.com/page/volt-energy-invited-to-white-house-for-president-obamas-energy-talk)

Green For All is continuing its thriving partnerships with Accenture and the International Coach Federation (ICF) to offer the 2013 Business Mentoring and Coaching Program for Green Entrepreneurs. The Mentoring and Coaching Program pairs experienced executives and certified coaches with green entrepreneurs across the U.S. who are looking to expand their businesses and create green jobs. 

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Brianna Ford's Legacy Will Live On

By Markese Bryant, co-founder Fight for Light

Green For All is mourning the loss of one of our movement’s most promising young leaders. On December 27th, Green For All College Ambassador Brianna Ford was killed in a car accident in Oakland. 

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Building Environmental Literacy in Ethiopia

Written by: Yeama Sow

Editors Note: Yeama Sow is a Green For All fellow from Class 5 (2011-2012). In October, she joined USAID-IFESH and the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia to establish a reading department at the Teaching College in Harare! She is also implementing her fellows project there.  Her project, Read and Eat, is an effort to improve literacy while educating children and families about healthy eating and increasing access to fresh food in Nashville, TN.  Below is an update about her work in Chiro, Ethiopia. 

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Building Community Resilience in the Southwest

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

As we face increasing extreme weather and deep economic challenges, more and more people are beginning to feel a sense of urgency about community resilience strategies. The ability of local communities to survive and thrive through challenging times is important—not only in the face of climate change, but in the face of economic crises and divisive politics.  Unfortunately, people of color have found themselves up against these hardships for many generations.  As a result, Green For All fellows from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have deep insights to share when it comes to developing and implementing resilience strategies. 

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Green For All, University of Phoenix Host Oakland Green Business Academy

Last week, Green For All partnered with University of Phoenix to host a workshop designed to give San Francisco Bay Area small businesses the tools they need to grow and succeed.

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Fighting Climate Change Through Divestment: What We Can Learn from South Africa

Written by: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager

In a way it’s hard to believe. But in 1988—when scientists were sounding the first warnings about climate change—the nation of South Africa was still legally divided. Black South Africans couldn’t move freely—they had to carry passes, they were relegated to desolate Bantustan reservations, their leaders were murdered by the police like Steve Biko, or locked away like Nelson Mandela. 

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The Fiscal Cliff: What’s at Stake for Communities of Color in the Budget Debate?

Growing the green economy is an important path toward economic recovery for all Americans – but particularly for communities of color and those most affected by the economic downturn. Federal investment in green infrastructure; job training for careers in clean industries; and, enforcement in environmental protection for neighborhoods overburdened by pollution, feed two birds with one hand – create jobs and build clean, healthy communities. Instead of cutting vital programs that are essential to growing our economy - especially for the nation's most vulnerable - Congress should enact a balanced budget that calls for corporations and wealthy Americans to pay their fair share; prioritizes job creation; and opposes cuts to programs that protect clean air and water and a sustainable energy future.

TAKE ACTION

  • Speak Out About What’s at Stake – Let your local media know how the proposed cuts would affect local job training programs and infrastructure projects. Share success stories about workers who have benefitted from job training programs or green businesses who have hired workers through these programs. Download background document here. Download talking points here.
  • Spread the Word – Educate your network regarding the impact of the “fiscal cliff”. Congress should enact a budget deal that supports vital programs that protect clean air and water and that build a sustainable energy future.  For information on proposed cuts to conservation and environment programs, click here
  • Join the National Skills Coalition in its “Save Our Skills Campaign,” which includes state-level resources on the impact of sequestration on workforce programs, and broader actions to protect the Workforce Investment Act and other key workforce development programs.
  • Hold your Congressional Leaders Accountable. Congress should vote YES on:
    1. Job creation strategies that invest in infrastructure, boost renewable energy production, and trains workers for jobs in the green economy.
    2. Ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 annually. Ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning over $250,000 would generate close to one trillion dollars. This revenue should be reinvested back into our economy to fix roads, bridges, sewer systems and other vital infrastructure.

Youth Leader Brings Environmental Justice and Green Jobs to Light

Brittany Stallworth, Green For All College Ambassador, was recently awarded the Brower Youth Award for her environmental leadership at Howard University during her term of service with Green For All.  The Brower Youth Award is an internationally recognized award for Youth leaders in the environmental movement. Although her term of service is over, she's still on her grind! Brittany shined at the awards and inspired the entire room with her message of hope and call to action.   She is finishing up her work at Howard University and will soon graduate with a degree in Environmental Science. She continues to be a leader on the campus around issues of sustainability and the green economy  Check out a video below highlighting her leadership and some of the activities she was involved in while acting as a Green For All Ambassador.

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Jackson Mayor Honors Green For All Ambassador Alicia Crudup

Last week, Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. honored the City’s Environmental Program Coordinator and former Green For All Ambassador Alicia Crudup with a “Jackson’s Best” award. The Forest, MS native was recognized for “going above and beyond the call of duty” for the City’s recent summer Environmental Camp. 

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The 2011 Mentorship Class

The 2011 Mentorship Class

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The 2012 Mentorship Class

Green for All has partnered with Accenture for our second Business Mentorship Program. Below, learn more about Accenture’s mentors and the Green For All entrepreneurs that they will be working with.

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The 2012 Coaching Class

The 2012 Coaching Class

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Think Outside the Boss: The Benefits of Worker-Owned Cooperatives

For decades, Mexico’s Cruz Azul cement company operated as a traditional capitalist organization—and suffered from constant strife as dissatisfied workers battled its owners. In 1929, with the global economy tanking, Cruz Azul laid off most of its employees and sold the shell of the business to another company. Eventually, the state took over the failing business and reorganized it, giving workers the chance to purchase it and form a worker-owned cooperative. Today, the company is still owned by its employees—and it is thriving as a result. 

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GFA Fellow Launches Innovative Compost Project in New Orleans

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

Village de l’Est is a community that suffers from environmental racism.  The predominantly Vietnamese neighborhood in New Orleans has been a targeted site for landfills, as well as numerous auto junkyards and dumpsites. The neighborhood’s residents have been fighting this kind of dumping since the early 1900s, when flood zones and wetlands were frequently polluted by these practices. 

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Coming Home to Community in Shreveport

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellows Program Manager

What does home mean to you? If home is a place where you can connect with like-minded people and have time to reflect and eat great food, join us at the first annual Homecoming at Sankofa Gardens, October  18-21.  After eight years of growing fresh, healthy food, hosting a seasonal neighborhood farm stand, and serving as a hub for culture and creativity, Sankofa Gardens is inviting you to come home to Shreveport, Louisiana.  The four-day Sankofa Gardens retreat focuses on art and culture, and will bring together community builders, educators, food growers, artists, and visionaries who want to deepen their connection to the land, their neighbors, and themselves. 

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California’s Latino Voters and the Environment

Written by: Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez, Senior Associate

Disponible en español. Available in Spanish.

Ninety percent of Latino voters overwhelmingly agree that we can protect the environment and create jobs at the same time.  That was one of the key findings from a poll of 500 Latino California voters that was shared at last night’s California League of Conservation Voters Community Forum,”California Latinos and the Environment.”  The survey, by Tulchin Research showed that California Latinos strongly support cleaner and safer sources of energy, specifically: energy conservation, renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas.

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Los Votantes Latinos de California y El Medio Ambiente

Escrito por: Álvaro Sánchez Sánchez, Asociado Senior, Traducido por: Marta Donayre

Disponible en ingles. Available in English.

Noventa por ciento de los votantes latinos vigorosamente concuerdan con que podemos proteger el medio ambiente y crear empleos al mismo tiempo. Ese es uno de los resultados clave de una encuesta de 500 electores latinos de California, que fue compartido anoche en el Foro Comunitario del California League of Conservation Voters, “California y el Medio Ambiente”. La encuesta, hecha por el Tulchin Research, muestra que los latinos de California apoyan fuertemente fuentes de energía más limpias y seguras, específicamente la conservación de energía, energía renovable, eficiencia energética, y gas natural. 

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Governor Brown Signs Landmark Bills to Bring Clean Energy and Green Jobs to Disadvantaged Communities

Written by: Vien Truong and Phong-Chau Nguyen, The Greenlining Institute

On Sept. 30, California Gov. Jerry Brown took a big step toward giving all Californians access to clean energy and green jobs by signing SB 535 and AB 1532 into law.  These bills will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to provide clean energy to disadvantaged communities, support small businesses and create jobs in the environmental sector.  Brown’s signing of these two bills represents a major victory for environmental policy and community advocates, who have spent years working to bring relief to polluted and economically disadvantaged communities. 

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Students Win Affordable Public Transportation

Last fall, students at DeAnza college won a huge victory for clean air and for their own wallets: The Eco-Pass, which provides students with almost free public transportation.  Student leaders took time with Green For All to share the secrets of their success and we’re sharing them with you in our latest tool, “How to Bring the Eco-Pass to Your Campus." 

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Memphis Grassroots are ready to lead

Written by: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager

What do a food justice organization, the Memphis Bus Riders Union, an organization of and for homeless residents of Memphis, and a disability rights advocacy organization have in common? They are all working tirelessly to transform Memphis, Tennessee into the thriving and self-sustaining city they know it can be. 

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Certified Job Training Programs

Certified Job Training Programs are approved by your local Workforce Investment Board and funded by the federal government’s ‘Workforce Investment Act of 1998.’  Not all of these training programs are related to clean energy and conservation, but some are.  This website lets you search for these government-approved training programs by region:  www.careeronestop.org/WiaProviderSearch.asp

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are programs that provide on-the-job training for trades.  Federal guidelines ensure that apprenticeships include enough training and instruction.  Contact your state or regional apprenticeship offices and ask them about green-collar apprenticeships.This is the US Department of Labor’s web page about apprenticeships in energy: http://www.careervoyages.gov/energy-apprenticeshipws.cfmThis website that links you to state apprenticeship websites where you can search for apprenticeship opportunities:  http://www.doleta.gov/OA/sainformation.cfmThis website has contact information for the US Department of Labor’s Regional Offices of Apprenticeship:  http://www.doleta.gov/OA/regdirlist.cfm

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Sector-Specific Trainings and Certifications

Sector-Specific Trainings and Certifications are often listed through the websites of national sector-specific organizations.

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Community Colleges

Community Colleges are excellent sources of job training and education.  Contact your local community college and ask if it has green jobs training programs or related classes.  This website lists all community colleges by state and links to their individual websites:  http://www.utexas.edu/world/comcol/state/

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: One-Stop Career Centers

One-Stop Career Centers are regional service organizations that help you assess your skills, explore your career options, and apply for apprenticeships and jobs.  These centers are all over the United States.  Contact your local One-Stop Career Center and ask them how they can link you to trainings and opportunities for green-collar jobs.  This website lets you search One-Stop Career Centers by location:  http://www.servicelocator.org

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: YouthBuild USA

YouthBuild USA is a network of 226 local YouthBuild programs.  In these programs, low-income young people ages 16–24 work toward their high school diploma or equivalency while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people. YouthBuild places a strong emphasis on leadership development and community service.

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Job Corps

Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people prepare for careers, earn high school diplomas or GEDs, and find and keep good jobs.  Job Corps does not yet offer a wealth of green-collar training, but many local Job Corps centers are looking to add green-collar jobs training.   Ask your local center if it provides such training.  If it doesn’t, encourage it to start.

http://www.jobcorps.gov/centers.aspx

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

Pre-Apprenticeship Programs provide life skills, basic construction skills, and OSHA safety training in addition to academic preparation for the entry exams required to enter apprenticeship programs.  There are no national or local standards on what program can call itself a “pre-apprenticeship program,” so do your homework.  Make sure the any program you enter will offer you the skills and training you seek.  Pre-apprenticeship programs vary greatly.  Community-based groups, community colleges and training partnerships are just some of the many types of organizations that offer apprenticeship preparation.  Do a quick google search for “pre-apprenticeship,” plus your state or region.

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Labor Union Apprenticeships

Labor Union Apprenticeships generally offer higher wages and standards than those that aren’t union-run.  Admission to these apprenticeships is competitive.  Easing this bottleneck is one of the reasons Green For All works so hard to create more good union jobs.  Historically, unions have been one of the few places where everyday people can move into dignified, middle-class careers.  Contact your local trade unions and ask them about apprenticeship programs related to clean energy and construction.  Encourage them to support green-collar programs for people with little access to education.This is a website for the AFL-CIO’s Building & Construction Trades Department: www.buildingtrades.org

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Resources For Green-Collar Jobs Training: Training Programs for Youth

Training Programs for Youth are also great ways to prepare for a green-collar career!  If you are 16-25 years old (give or take), check out these programs:

The Corps Network website is the hub for all ‘Service and Conservation Corps’ programs nationwide.   These Corps serve as work training programs for youth ages 16-25.http://www.nascc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=81:corps-by-state&catid=35:the-corps&Itemid=61 

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Community Superheroes at Prince Concert

GFA Fellow Naomi Davis and her colleague Zahra Fair

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Academy Manager

Last week we had the opportunity to meet 1,200 amazing Prince fans at his Welcome 2 Chicago tour.  Prince was incredible on stage, touring with his largest band ever, which consisted of 20 pieces, including 11 horn players, three backup singers and two guitarists.  The Purple One surprised the crowds of nearly 20,000 each night with special guests Jennifer Hudson and Janelle Monae. 

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Stunning Scenery, New Friendships on California Climate Ride

Written by: Mimi Torres

I just finished the 2012 Climate Ride—a 5-day, 320-mile bike ride through California. The aim of the ride is to fight climate change by raising awareness—and funds—for groups like Green For All and East Bay Bicycle Coalition, the beneficiaries of my ride. 

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Frustrations Mount Among Richmond Residents

Written by: Kaori Tsukada, Program Associate

At a community meeting in Richmond on Monday, residents packed the room to voice their concerns about pollution from the nearby Chevron oil refinery and the massive fire on August 6 that sent 15,000 residents to seek medical treatment.

Even before the meeting began, a stack of comment cards handed out by city staff grew into a sizable pile, and continued to grow throughout the evening.

For an hour, regulator after regulator, investigator after investigator from Contra Costa County, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, and Contra Costa Health Services outlined their jurisdictions and stressed that they are focusing their efforts on investigating the fire.  Each one repeated that they have been a constant presence on the scene, and that they will remain so until they find the truth.

After presentations from investigating agencies, Chevron’s representative stood up to give an update on what the company has been working on to address problems that arose during the fire. She promised community members that the company is working with transit authorities to ensure that if there is another disaster in the future, transit will be available even if BART shuts down, and an evacuation scheme will be in place for emergencies.  She showed a map marked with three spots where Chevron plans to install more air quality monitors within the city. She claimed Chevron is looking to invest more into the community and businesses in Richmond, and add programs that would bring economic development to the city.

However, residents have lost faith in Chevron’s ability to keep its promises.  Chevron’s statement that it is committed to the health of the residents and of the environment was met with laughter, booing, and calls of “another professional liar!” and “shame on Chevron!”

When the floor opened for questions, residents aired more concerns.  “But what are you going to do now?” began a local reverend.  “I can smell that filth.  It’s in our air.  How long can we hold our breath?”

Another longtime resident wanted to know how she and her neighbors could get medical care.  “My throat is rough and I’ve had a dry hacking cough ever since the fire.  I know a lot of other people with the same thing.  Where can we go?”

The meeting’s facilitator couldn’t even make it through the large yellow stack of comment cards, nor could the table of inspectors, supervisors, and representatives answer all the questions posed by the long line of people awaiting their turn to speak.  Too many questions could not be answered and were tabled so that they could be addressed later and made available publicly.

More than anything, community members at the meeting demanded accountability.

“Who’s going to be responsible for the deposits that are killing us?” one resident asked.

Monday’s meeting came on the heels of new reports showing that Chevron is under criminal investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency for skirting air quality regulations. While the investigation is not related to the August 6 fire, it raises serious questions about Chevron’s honesty and transparency in sharing information about dangerous air pollutants with the people who live near the refinery.


Green For All Honors Leaders at “Green Room” Reception in D.C.

Written by: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate

Last week, Green For All honored African American leaders in the fields of energy and environment at  “The Green Room” reception held at The Park at Fourteenth in Washington, D.C. We organized the event as part of a week of activities highlighting environmental issues at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. 

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Congressional Black Caucus Panel— The Truth About the Green Economy: The Job Killing Agenda and Who’s Standing Behind It

Written by: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate

Last week, Green For All once again collaborated with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to host a forum at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference.  The panel, The Truth About the Green Economy: The Job Killing Agenda and Who’s Standing Behind It, addressed facts about strong job growth in the green economy, highlighted success stories from around the country, and talked about who’s standing in the way of moving green jobs forward, and what communities of color can do to fight back and amplify the success of the green economy. 

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The Tip of the Iceberg

Written by: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All

We learned over the weekend that Chevron is under criminal investigation for air violations that have put thousands of Bay Area residents at risk for at least four years. 

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Living The Green Life at San Quentin

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellows Program Manager

Imagine you’re imprisoned, in solitary confinement with no human contact. But you are able to find solace in a single tree in the prison yard—a living thing that doesn’t judge you. 

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Small Business Majority and EPA talk Clean Air and Jobs

Written by: Khary Dvorak-Ewell, Senior Associate

Over the past few years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been working with other federal agencies to engage with America’s small businesses to provide clear, accurate information about updates to clean air and water protections—and to ask small business owners to help identify concerns and opportunities that arise from these safeguards.

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Voting Power a Focus at Hispanic Caucus Conference

Written by: Alvaro Sanchez Sanchez, Senior Associate

It’s never been more clear that Latinos are poised to have a dramatic influence on the direction of this country.  The growing influence of Latinos is ensuring that we not only have a seat at the table—but are influencing the outcome of the debate. 

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College Ambassador Alumni Make "Power Moves"

America is at a crossroads, and this fall, we’ll determine which direction we go for the next four years—and beyond. And young people—more than any other group—have an enormous stake in the outcome. 

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Love and Light for Louisiana

Written by: Leia Lewis, Green For All Fellow
Originally posted on August 29, 2012

Right now, RIGHT NOW...people in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast are in the midst of a storm. Its name is Isaac. It's essential nature: The Winds of Change. 

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Making Power Moves in Chicago

Written by: Janica Johnson, Green For All Ambassador

When I was presented with the opportunity to attend the Energy Action Coalition’s Power Vote training in Chicago to rally around environmental issues while connecting them to one of the most important presidential elections in our nation’s history, of course I couldn't turn it down.  From August 20-24, together with my fellow Green For All Ambassadors, Courtney Strickland of ECSU and Korbin Miles of FAMU, I had the pleasure to participate in the Power Vote organizing training, designed to prepare us to mobilize our peers to build momentum for local clean energy solutions and demand that both candidates address the climate crisis, instead of promoting dirty and dangerous energy like coal, gas, oil and nuclear. 

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Leaders Gather in Oakland to Talk about Energy Efficiency for Affordable Housing

Written by: Kaori Tsukada, Program Associate

Energy efficiency sometimes takes a backseat to more eye-catching sources of energy like solar PV or wind turbines and water efficiency is not even a blip on the radar in most discussions. But the truth is, when it comes to saving money and creating local jobs, energy and water efficiency are workhorses. 

 

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Green For All Will Host Panel on the Green Economy

Written by: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate

On Friday, September 21, 2012, Green For All will once again partner with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to host the Congressman’s issue forum at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference.  The panel entitled, The Truth About the Green Economy: The Job Killing Agenda and Who’s Standing Behind It, will address who’s standing in the way of moving the green economy forward, highlight facts about job growth and green economy, and talk about the deliberate attack on the movement and strategies to respond. 

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Richmond Residents Voice Outrage over Chevron Fire

When federal and local investigators gathered at Richmond’s City Hall on Monday morning for a briefing on the recent Chevron refinery fire, resident after resident voiced anger at Chevron and the agencies responsible for oversight, and fear for their health. 

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Richmond Residents Demand Accountability for Chevron

Written by: Michael Katz, Senior Associate

Last night I joined more than 100 people in Richmond, California for a community meeting to talk about the August 6 Chevron oil refinery explosion that sent thousands of residents to local emergency rooms.  At the meeting, residents of all ages and backgrounds shared their stories, and their outrage. They also offered ideas and solutions.  Elected officials, including the mayor, shared their frustrations with Chevron’s lack of accountability, lack of transparency and disregard for the health of the community. 

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In Boston, Communities of Color Innovate Solutions

Written by: Maritza Martinez, Fellows Program Manager

When it comes to pollution and climate change, all too often people of color shoulder the greatest burden. The recent fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California is just the latest example. We have more residents living near polluting industry. We suffer higher rates of asthma. And our neighborhoods are hit hardest by severe weather caused by climate change. 

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Shreveport, La. native selected to receive environmental fellowship

Leia Lewis will collaborate with environmental leaders from across the country

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, LA – Shreveport native Leia Lewis has been selected from among 350 nominees from across the country to receive the prestigious 2012 Whole Thinking Retreat at Center for Whole Communities Fellowship Award.

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Green For All Invests in Six Innovative Community Leaders

Written By: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

In the face of problems like climate change, economic crisis and vast unemployment, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.  It takes extraordinary people with big vision to turn that despair into action.  True change that benefits us the most often comes from leaders within our own communities who have long-term vision.  That’s why, at Green For All, we think it’s so important to invest in leaders who are working locally to create a brighter, healthier future. 

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Tucson leaders come together to grow stronger communities

Written by: Rosa Gonzalez, Education Director

I just got back from Tucson, Arizona, where Green For All and Tierra y Libertad Organization (TYLO) hosted a bilingual training course designed to amplify the power of the city’s community organizers.  Our goal with the training was to help the newly formed Southern Arizona Green For All Coalition advance its vision, which is to link sustainable economic development with participation and power-building in communities most affected by poverty and pollution. I came away deeply inspired by the thirty volunteers I met who are working to create a brighter, more sustainable future for Tucson. 

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Coal Country Residents Work to Build a Healthy Community

 

Eric Mathis, CEO

The past few years have been tough financially for many of us.  Almost all of us have friends and family who have been out of work or unable to find a job. Williamson, West Virginia, located in the heart of coal country, is an example of a place that’s been hit hard by the economic downturn. But there is a silver lining. In the face of hardship, neighbors are coming together and finding hope and support from each other. In Williamson, and across the country, cities are finding ways not just to survive the economic crisis, but to thrive. 

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Lifelong Advocate Puts His Legs to the Test for Green For All

David Jaber has been riding bikes since age six.  His path through life was set early on, in watching and appreciating spectacular and diverse animal life and having the opportunity to spend time in nature. 

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Bike Commuter to Ride Hundreds of Miles for Green For All

Written by Mimi Torres

I've always considered myself an environmentalist. As a young girl, I was the one that encouraged the family to recycle, and I always signed us up for beach clean-ups. I became vegetarian when I was 10 and vegan when I was 20. In college I became more directly involved with activism through on and off campus environmental groups. It was also in college that I made the conscious decision not to drive. After getting my license, I went and looked at a few used cars, but then I realized that if I had a car, I would drive it all the time, especially to see friends that lived out of town, and then I would feel like a hypocrite. 

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White House Forum on Sports and Sustainability Features Green Sports Champion NFL Star Ovie Mughelli

Written by Kim R. Noble

The great thing about building an inclusive green economy is that it allows people from all walks of life and all industries to help grow healthy, sustainable communities. A green economy requires bold leadership from organizers on the ground all the way up to CEO’s in the boardroom. So, imagine my excitement, when I fulfilled a life long dream of visiting the White House to celebrate two of my favorite loves – sports and the environment. “The White House Sports and Sustainability Forum”, held on July 19, 2012, honored sports industry professionals who are leading the way in moving the green economy forward. It’s not every day that you get to go the White House! 

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New Yorker Rides Down California Coast for Green For All

Written by: Jonathan Norris

I want to make a difference and help end our reliance on polluting fossil fuels. That’s why I decided to ride down the California coast as part of the Green For All Team in the 2012 Climate Ride this September.

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B Lab: Using Business as a Force for Good

Written By: Khary Dvorak-Ewell, Senior Associate

How can a business be the best in the world and be the best for the world? Can we use the power of business to address the world’s most pressing challenges? 

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College Ambassadors: The Future Leaders of our Movement

Written by: Markese Bryant, College Ambassador Program Associate

Class 2 of the College Ambassador Program

It’s been almost a year since I first met the 2011 class of Green For All College Ambassadors. As I greeted the thirty students from around the country at our Washington, D.C. training, I thought to myself, “These are the future leaders of our movement.” 

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Free Legal Advice for Bay Area Entrepreneurs: July 16

Written by: Khary Dvorak-Ewell

Want to start your own business but need help navigating legal issues? Next week is your chance to get free advice from seasoned lawyers to help you launch your enterprise. 

 

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New Action Center for Green Jobs Movement: Check it Out!

The green economy has never been more important than it is now. As we approach Election Day over the next few months, we’ll be hearing more and more about the economy. And we need to make sure the vision that takes center stage is for an economy that works for all of us. 

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Growing Home: Fresh Farms Provide a Fresh Start

If home is where the heart is, then Growing Home is the beating heart of Chicago’s burgeoning urban agricultural movement. For the past ten years, Growing Home has filled the minds—and stomachs—of its formerly criminal and transitional workforce. By offering training in organic farming practices, sustainable living, and practical business skills, the organization gives people a fresh start and a chance to leave their troubled pasts behind. 
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Pioneering Change on Campus

My name is Brianna Ford and I am a Junior Art/Architecture major at Clark Atlanta University. Serving as a Green For All College Ambassador has been a privilege – and an eye-opening experience. Not only am I honored to be a GFA Ambassador, but also I serve as the president and founder of CAU’s Recycling Club. This will also be my second year of participating as a CAU researcher for the engineering department working to improve sustainable efforts on our thriving campus of CAU. 
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Saving Energy Creates Jobs

Bring up any policy idea in D.C. and the conversation always reverts to jobs and the economy. Rightfully so. Our nation’s unemployment continues to hover just above 8% and cities and states continue to struggle to create economic growth and jobs that can last. 

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Building the Mosaic Movement

Posted by Lisa Curtis, Community Builder, Solar Mosaic
Solar Mosaic doesn't have a marketing team. We don't have a sales team either, and that's not because we're a startup. Instead, we have a movement team. Having been a part of our movement team since the early days, I can say with all honesty that building a Mosaic movement is not a gimmick. It's our business.
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Slashing EPA Budget Undercuts Public Health

If our leaders really want to put America on the road to economic recovery, they will put the health of our families first. They will invest in pollution controls that save Americans millions of dollars in health care costs. They will invest in the kind of clean energy that creates good jobs and keeps our air and water safe. 

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Pedal the coast and fight climate change

Posted by Cheryl Derricotte, AICP and Kristina Johnson

Want to fight climate change, get in shape, and see some of California’s most stunning scenery up close? Join Climate Ride! From September 9-13, riders from around the world—united by a passion for sustainability and a desire to make a difference—will come together for this life-changing journey. You’ll pedal your bike along 300 miles of breathtaking Pacific coastline, soaking in views of ocean and wildlife that most people never get to see. 

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Good News for Green Jobs: California Utilities to Ratchet Up Energy Efficiency

Posted by Kristina Johnson

If you live in the Golden State, you may soon be saving money on your energy bills and breathing cleaner air, thanks to a recent decision by the California Public Utilities Commission. 

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As leaders gather in Rio, a storm is brewing

Fossil fuel companies are poisoning the air we breathe and the water we drink. They’re destroying mountains and forests and displacing communities around the globe. And all the while, they’re breaking world records with their billions of dollars in profits

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Fresh Films, Fresh Ideas

Innovation. Community organizing. Justice. These are the themes of the Oakland Innovation Film Lab, coming to town June 18-21. 
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A Farm Bill for Healthy Fresh Food and Good Jobs

Being a community and food justice organizer at the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) (www.mass-ave.org) in Buffalo, I work with local youth to Increase access to fresh affordable food and build a more equitable and sustainable food system.  Some days that means working with youth on our urban farm to grow food for Buffalo communities, other days it’s connecting local farms and urban markets, and sometimes it’s informing elected officials about the movement for a better food system and how they can support healthier communities and economic opportunities through policy. 
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Changing the World and Changing Myself

Some things in life just happen, and other experiences leave you with a different point of view and actually change your life. Being a College Ambassador for Green For All this past academic year was one of those experiences that I feel so honored to have been given. When I was first given the opportunity to participate in this program I viewed it as a tool to help my campus, Claflin University, become more environmentally conscience and to make real changes that would be substantial to the green movement. The program ended up acting as the catalyst for change on my campus and also in my life. 
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My term might be over, but I'm not done yet

They say all good things must come to an end. And yes, my term as Green For All College Ambassador has been a very good thing. It's been an interesting year and if someone had told me a year ago that I'd meet 29 of the most passionate and driven young HBCU students in the country, hang out with Green For All associates and strategize on how to make environmental issues more relatable, I would probably have doubted that person. But it happened. Why did I volunteer at recycling events and speak to classes about sustainability? Why did I sign up to be a Green For All College Ambassador? Because this fight is important. This is our moment as young people to ensure our children and their children have a world to live in. One with air that isn't coated in soot and smog, one where the water is clean. I volunteer and speak and join to help further those causes. People of color in America, indigenous people of Latin America, Caribbean people (like myself), and others are getting caught in the pollution deluge. The decisions, and the pollution, are coming from elsewhere and dropped in our backyards or on our lawns and we are told, "Hey, it's okay. Don't worry." And we don't worry until breathing becomes hard and environmental illnesses become more frequent. I may not have accomplished everything I’d hoped during my term as a College Ambassador, but I learned a lot—including the importance of finding balance in life. A great author, Maxwell Maltz, reminds us that "Life is Long"—meaning simply that there is time to do the things you're most passionate about. You never need to rush and try to cram everything together. That was my big lesson: The importance of finding balance that will help me pursue my activism for years into the future. Even though my term with Green For All has come to an end, I will continue to speak about sustainability. I will continue to live green and encourage others to do the same. It's the only way I know how to live. I want to thank Green For All staff  Markese Bryant, Julian McQueen, Rosa Gonzalez, and Seema Rupani for an incredible training weekend. I wish the rest of my fellow Green For All Ambassadors luck, and I look forward to doing more work with Green For All in the near future.

An Evening with Van Jones

Van Jones, in addition to being the founder of Green For All, is widely respected as one of the country’s most important thought-leaders, human rights champions, and environmental heroes. That’s why we couldn’t be more thrilled to be sponsoring a conversation between Van and award-winning journalist Farai Chideya as part of The Forum: Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. What: An Evening with Van Jones When: Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 701 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103 In the years since Van founded Green For All, the green economy has taken off. There are now 3.1 million Americans employed in it, and we’ve worked hard to make sure our country’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens are among them. But we still have work to do. Attacks on the green economy from big polluters are growing fiercer with each passing day. Meanwhile, America’s middle class is shrinking and too many of us are still jobless and struggling to get by. Our country is at a crossroads, and it’s more important than ever to engage in dialogue about the challenges we face. Van’s new organization, Rebuild the Dream, is dedicated to making America’s economy work for 100 percent of Americans, not just the top 1 percent.  We can’t wait to hear what he has to say about his vision for America’s future. We hope you’ll join us.

Ellis-Lamkins: Mercury Safeguards Are A Necessary Regulation

Roll Call

Regulation. It’s become a dirty word in Washington, D.C. Why? In large part because industry fears the kind of regulations that are designed to stop the dumping of dangerous chemicals into our air and water. It may not be popular, but I’m going to say it: We need regulations. Regulations are what keep drunken drivers off our roads. They’re what keep cigarettes out of our kids’ mouths. They’re the safety net that ensures the recklessness of one individual or industry doesn’t saddle the rest of us with disease and injury. That’s exactly the kind of safety net that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards would provide. The goal of these standards is to keep dangerous chemicals out of the air that we breathe and the water that we drink. Pretty basic.
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Wisconsin and America’s Identity Crisis

Huffington Post

Cross-posted from HuffPo
Today, in Wisconsin and all across America, folks are feeling frustrated and disheartened. It’s hard to know that even after delivering blow after blow to working families, Governor Scott Walker will remain in office. But we need to remember something: Last night’s recall vote wasn’t the finish line. It was the beginning. Nearly one million people signed the petition to recall the governor—a staggering number. The thousands of volunteers who fought back against Walker’s attacks included people who’d never volunteered for a campaign. People who never thought they’d get involved. They found themselves phone banking, collecting signatures, and knocking on doors. Because what’s happening hits home in a way it never has before. Scott Walker hasn’t just waged a war on worker’s rights; he’s waged a war on environmental protections. During his term, enforcement of basic state laws protecting water and air has ground nearly to a halt. He appears to be doing everything he can to choke the state’s emerging wind energy industry. Municipal clean water standards have been gutted. He’s even tried to dry up funds for recycling programs. The thing is, sectors like water infrastructure, wind energy, and recycling do more than protect the environment. They put people to work. By rolling back environmental safeguards and stifling green industry, Walker has delivered a one-two punch to his state’s residents. Families in Wisconsin, like families all over America, are feeling the pinch of the shrinking middle class and growing economic disparity. They’re feeling it as they try to make rent with a paycheck that gets smaller every day. They’re feeling it as they face longer workdays and fewer benefits. They’re feeling it as they watch their neighbor or friend wake up to another day without a job to go to. They’re feeling it as they watch their grandchild struggle to breathe in polluted air. It’s no accident that attacks on working families and attacks on the environment are coming from the same place. And it’s not likely that we will move on and simply forget about Wisconsin. I think we’ll look back months and years from now and see what happened in Wisconsin as an early symptom of America’s identity crisis. There’s a struggle going on here, and it’s not isolated to the Badger State. We may not be reading headlines about it yet, but in every state in America, a similar fight is brewing—the fight over just exactly what kind of country we want to be. Are we going to be a country that balances its budget on the backs of struggling families? Gives handouts to the world’s richest oil companies, while stripping benefits for teachers and firefighters? Are we going to be a country that puts polluter profits above protecting our kids from asthma? Will we be a country that grants basic rights—including the right to marry the person you love—to all of our citizens, or only to a powerful few? Let’s not be fooled into thinking that the mobilization we saw in Wisconsin was an accident or a sideshow. Let’s not think for a minute that last night’s vote was an answer to the fundamental questions we face about where America is going and who we want to become. We’re in the fight of our lives. And the outcome could not be more important—it will determine whether or not our children have the chance to live healthy, peaceful, productive lives. Whether America prospers, or falls behind. This struggle isn’t going away, it’s getting fiercer, and it will continue into November and beyond.

Labor, Civil Rights Groups Focus on Uniting the Movement

Posted by Shamar Bibbins   As we mark this Election Day, the progressive movement is becoming stronger than ever. Groups like labor and civil rights are joining forces to create a larger, broader, more resilient movement. As we mark this Election Day, the progressive movement is becoming stronger than ever. Groups like labor and civil rights are joining forces to create a larger, broader, more resilient movement. Over the past few weeks, Green For All has had the privilege of joining two important partner events – The 8th Annual NAACP Leadership 500 Summit and SEIU’s 25th International Convention.  Though the agendas, audiences and locations were different, one common theme emerged: The need to fight for a fair economy and develop leaders to implement real social and economic change. In Denver, I joined more than 3,000 SEIU members and delegates for SEIU’s 25th International Convention, with the theme of “Lead. Unite. Fight. Win for the 99 Percent.” In an unprecedented move, the union set a strategic vision and direction to organize and collaborate with progressive partner organizations in an effort to strengthen direct action campaigns and movement building opportunities for sustainable change.  The green economy, good jobs, fair wages, and immigration were just a few areas that were a part of the conversation as participants focused on helping close the gap on income inequality.  While it’s clear that there’s a lot of work to do, I left the conference with a strong sense that if the movement unites, we truly can strengthen our working and middle classes and give everyone the fair shot that they deserve. Then, more than one thousand miles away on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, the NAACP hosted their 8th Annual Leadership 500 Summit. Against the backdrop of the most challenging issues of our time, the summit served as a platform for leaders in the civil rights and social justice arena to create innovative and effective strategies for advancing positive and sustainable change. The conference theme of “Leadership By Design; Ensuring Our Legacy” shaped robust strategy sessions, which focused on the organization’s “Game Changer” initiatives, including:
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Education, Criminal Justice
  • Voter Rights
  • Environmental and Energy Justice, Health
  • Media & Technology
As the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the NAACP knows what it takes to advocate and advance social and economic justice. And just like SEIU, they know that the movement is stronger in numbers.  Their successful model of bringing thought leaders from the corporate, non-profit, health, and government sectors together for the Leadership Summit is just one of many effective strategies they use to advance their agenda. The fight for a fair economy is not easy. The rise of income inequality, suppression of worker and voter rights, the increasingly difficult challenge of protecting our nation’s air and water from polluters, and all other forms of social inequality call for the highest level of unity amongst the justice movement. Thankfully, our strongest leaders in labor and civil rights recognize this. It’s never been more clear that if we unite and stand strong, we will win—and leave a more inclusive, healthy, prosperous world for our children and grandchildren.

Labor, Civil Rights Groups Focus on Uniting the Movement

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

As we mark this Election Day, the progressive movement is becoming stronger than ever. Groups like labor and civil rights are joining forces to create a larger, broader, more resilient movement.

Over the past few weeks, Green For All has had the privilege of joining two important partner events – The 8th Annual NAACP Leadership 500 Summit and SEIU’s 25th International Convention. Though the agendas, audiences and locations were different, one common theme emerged: The need to fight for a fair economy and develop leaders to implement real social and economic change.

In Denver, I joined more than 3,000 SEIU members and delegates for SEIU’s 25th International Convention, with the theme of “Lead. Unite. Fight. Win for the 99 Percent.”

In an unprecedented move, the union set a strategic vision and direction to organize and collaborate with progressive partner organizations in an effort to strengthen direct action campaigns and movement building opportunities for sustainable change. The green economy, good jobs, fair wages, and immigration were just a few areas that were a part of the conversation as participants focused on helping close the gap on income inequality. While it’s clear that there’s a lot of work to do, I left the conference with a strong sense that if the movement unites, we truly can strengthen our working and middle classes and give everyone the fair shot that they deserve.

Then, more than one thousand miles away on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, the NAACP hosted their 8th Annual Leadership 500 Summit. Against the backdrop of the most challenging issues of our time, the summit served as a platform for leaders in the civil rights and social justice arena to create innovative and effective strategies for advancing positive and sustainable change.

The conference theme of “Leadership By Design; Ensuring Our Legacy” shaped robust strategy sessions, which focused on the organization’s “Game Changer” initiatives, including:

  • Economic Empowerment
  • Education, Criminal Justice
  • Voter Rights
  • Environmental and Energy Justice, Health
  • Media & Technology

As the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the NAACP knows what it takes to advocate and advance social and economic justice. And just like SEIU, they know that the movement is stronger in numbers. Their successful model of bringing thought leaders from the corporate, non-profit, health, and government sectors together for the Leadership Summit is just one of many effective strategies they use to advance their agenda.

The fight for a fair economy is not easy. The rise of income inequality, suppression of worker and voter rights, the increasingly difficult challenge of protecting our nation’s air and water from polluters, and all other forms of social inequality call for the highest level of unity amongst the justice movement.

Thankfully, our strongest leaders in labor and civil rights recognize this. It’s never been more clear that if we unite and stand strong, we will win—and leave a more inclusive, healthy, prosperous world for our children and grandchildren.


Nashville Campus hosts Green For All Business Academy

Authors: The University of Phoenix

Green For All and University of Phoenix teamed up in April to offer a free one-day Business Academy for small and emerging green entrepreneurs. This eighth Business Academy was hosted by the University of Phoenix Nashville Campus.

University of Phoenix and Green For All, a national nonprofit working to build an inclusive green economy, formed a partnership to support green entrepreneurs and small business owners by hosting business academies across the nation at no cost to the public.“Through this partnership, we’ve helped entrepreneurs in eight cities across the US,” said Khary Dvorak-Ewell, senior associate, Green For All. “This Academy provided a valuable learning experience for green entrepreneurs. We helped them develop the skills and contacts to advance their businesses and shared the resources available to help them with funding.”

“The University of Phoenix-Green For All collaboration is providing practical training and tools for green entrepreneurs in underserved communities,” said Seth Mones, Vice President of Apollo Sustainability. “This is a wonderful partnership.”

“Our partnership with Green For All is truly helping to ignite the green economy,” added Melissa Antone, Apollo Sustainability Director, who helped organize the Nashville effort.

The Nashville Academy included expert panelists who spoke to attendees about:

  • Local resources for green businesses
  • Doing business with government agencies
  • Aligning the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit
  • Financing tips, trends and resources
  • Ways topitchto funding providers

University of Phoenix faculty and Apollo Sustainability team members participated in the presentations and panel discussions.


States Ignore Minorities in Climate-Related Disaster Plans

Authors: New America Media

Minority populations across the south and southwest are especially vulnerable to climate change, according to a new report put out by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Local and state governments, it also found, are failing to integrate such concerns into their climate disaster plans.

“Only three states (Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico) have climate change plans,” noted the study’s co-author, Nadia Siddiqui, during a teleconference Monday discussing the findings. She added researchers found “no evidence of planning for racially and ethnically diverse populations in any state” included in the study.

Siddiqui is Senior Health Policy Analyst with the Texas Health Institute (THI), which conducted the study.

Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett said in the report the project’s aim is to “encourage the development of policies that engage diverse populations while bringing environmental justice to their communities.”

The states included in the study, titled Climate Change, Environmental Challenges and Vulnerable Communities: Assessing Legacies of the Past, Building Opportunities for the Future, were Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

Siddiqui pointed out the results were based in part on reviews of existing Web sites and literature relating to plans for coping with climate change, as well as from talks with “representatives from across the states.” All agreed, she said, “this is an area that has not been fully planned for.”

Part of the problem, she explained, is a lack of awareness among policymakers of the varying degrees of vulnerability to climate change from one community to the next. Such issues as poverty, little to no access to health care and other social inequities common to minority communities make them more susceptible to the damaging effects of climate change, she said.

According to the report, nearly one in five residents living in the region fall below the federal poverty line, one in five adults describe their health status as fair or poor, and one in 10 people have Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

“For many communities, the convergence of socio-economic, health, and climate concerns elevates their risk for a climate change related perfect storm,” Siddiqui said.

Using Louisiana as an example, she pointed to the high rates of poverty coexisting alongside “concentrations of diversity, high rates of obesity, healthcare access challenges… and all of that combined with climate concerns (sea level rise, poor air quality). It is the convergence of all these issues that elevates and puts these communities at risk.”

Minority communities have long borne the brunt of environmental degradation in this country. A recent article by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, executive director with the Oakland-based Green for All, which advocates for the adoption of clean energy, noted “that of the 8 million people living within three miles of polluting coal-fired power plants, a disproportionate number are people of color.”

Citing statistics showing that one-in-six African American children suffers from asthma as a result of their proximity to toxic industries, compared to one-in-ten nationally, Ellis-Lamkins writes elected officials will “have to pay more attention to the issues pressing [minority] families.”

THI Senior Research Scientist Dennis Andrulis agrees. During Monday’s teleconference he noted that part of the solution has to come through the political engagement of minority groups. “[We must] integrate vulnerable populations,” he said, taking their concerns and using them to build representation through task forces and advisory groups.

“We found that there were a number of [these] advisory groups,” Andrulis said. “But rarely was there any attention to vulnerable populations in these groups, in their missions, in their objectives… communities of color were almost totally absent.”

“Despite the heightened sense of alarm, states and many communities are ignoring these communities in their disaster planning and other initiatives,” Andrulis said in an email release. “In moving forward state and local officials must do a better job of making sure those most vulnerable are a core part of their plans and actions.”


Going Green at Wilberforce University

Authors: Na’Asiaha Simon

As a Green For All College Ambassador at Wilberforce University, educating and informing my peers about the Green Movement and getting them active was a test in itself. As a graduating senior and communication major, going green was neither my first thought nor interest. But today, as I reflect on this semester and how my life has changed as a Green For All College Ambassador, it brings tears to my eyes.

It brings joy to my heart knowing Wilberforce University signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and joined other colleges and universities across the country in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. As Green For All Ambassadors, my partner Donald and I were featured on our local news station “Living Dayton” to highlight our organizing efforts on campus (http://bit.ly/JyUb2l).

Who knew the Green For All training in Washington D.C would give me so much motivation to help change dear ol’ Wilberforce University. Meeting other students who shared my love for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) was empowering, to say the least.

Now, Wilberforce University has a GREEN TEAM with 29 members! This is only the beginning and I know more change is to come. I wouldn’t have imagined ending my undergraduate years in such a powerful way. Thank you, Green For All.


Bet on a Brown and Green America

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

The face of America is changing dramatically. New census data shows that for the first time in our history, babies being delivered in hospitals all over the country are predominantly African American, Latino, Asian and other minorities. It's not just our babies who are growing more diverse. It's our neighborhoods, our communities and our workforce. In some of America's largest cities, a new majority has already emerged -- one made up of people of color.

The faces of voters are changing, too. In the 2010 election, the percentage of Hispanic voters reached a record high. Meanwhile, census projections show that in just 30 years, nonwhites will represent a larger block of America's total population than whites.

It's true that we have work to do before our voting power matches our numbers -- far too many people of color are still systematically locked out of our democracy by arbitrary voter ID laws, criminal disenfranchisement and racial gerrymandering. But politicians who fail to notice that America is changing -- fast -- may soon find themselves in trouble.

Ultimately the leaders who thrive in the 21st century, and the ones who continue to hold office, will be those who respond to the needs of our increasingly diverse citizens. Elected officials will have to pay more attention to the issues pressing African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American families. And the nation's energy sector is among the most important issues.

Why? Because many people of color bear the brunt of pollution from outdated power plants and toxic industries. A staggering one in six African-American children suffers from asthma, compared with one in 10 nationwide. And of the 8 million people living within three miles of polluting coal-fired power plants, a disproportionate number are people of color. Energy is not just how we power our lives; it's a public health issue.

In addition to cutting asthma and other pollution-related health problems that plague our communities, clean energy opens a door for those of us who were left out of the old economy -- including people of color.

There are already more people working in the green economy than in the fossil-fuel industry. These are good jobs -- they pay roughly 13 percent more than the median U.S. wage. And there are fewer barriers to getting them. Many workers in green jobs have less formal education than their counterparts. That means that the green economy, more than just about any other sector, is forging new pathways into the middle class. Talk about changing the face of our country.

The new majority in America will mean a new way of doing business. Our leaders will no longer be able to get away with policies that prop up 19th-century energy sources like coal and oil instead of 21st-century clean energy sources like solar, wind and efficiency technology. They'll no longer be able to get away with pouring money into the pockets of billionaires and poison into the lungs of our children.

The savviest leaders will be the ones who bet on clean energy and the green economy. That's where America's new majority sees a healthier and more prosperous future for our kids.

So when groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) attack efforts to expand green jobs, what I hear is an organization that is tone-deaf and out of touch.

It's not just that API and other opponents of green jobs lack the vision for a better world for our children and grandchildren. They fail to comprehend that America -- and its people of every color and culture -- is marching forward into a more diverse, more equitable future and leaving them behind.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the executive director of Green for All.


Meet A Climate Rider: Kendall Dorman, Principal, Wiebenson-Dorman Architects, PC

Authors: Cheryl Derricotte, AICP and Kristina Johnson

Architect Kendall Dorman will launch a 300-mile bike ride in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and support Green For All’s work to protect our air and water while lifting Americans out of poverty.

“I’m really excited to participate in this year’s NYC-DC Climate Ride,” Kendall says. “It’s a great way for me to raise money for Green For All’s work to build an inclusive green economy. And all along the route, I’ll have a chance to increase awareness about climate change.”

Kendall has been riding bikes for all but about the first 5 years of his life. He has owned a Stingray, a department store cruiser, a Schwinn Continental, a few mountain bikes, two track bikes, and a plethora of road bikes. He has lived in Washington, D.C. since 1988 and has participated sporadically in Bike D.C. events with friends and his wife, JT Roy.

A former Category II cycling racer, Kendall says he regularly rides on the weekends in unsanctioned, unofficial, so-called races with riders that are typically younger, stronger and faster than him. And, he also likes to ride to work or to other destinations on roads, trails and/or paths.

He is a practicing Architect in Washington DC and his firm Wiebenson & Dorman Architects PC, strives to design buildings that are, as he believes bicycles are, friendlier to the environment. He serves proudly on the Board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, considers himself a diplomat of goodwill for cycling and believes that the bicycle is a legitimate and noble form of transportation.

Kendall will be riding hard for Green For All, but you can join the effort without even breaking a sweat. Your tax-deductible donation will support our work to create green jobs and healthier, more sustainable communities.

Click here to donate.


Huge Victory for Families, Local Farmers

We were thrilled to hear that the Obama administration will be expanding access to fresh healthy food for low-income families. Last fall, thousands of you joined us in calling on the administration to boost local economies and support American farmers. And we did it! Today, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the agency will greatly increase the number of farmers markets participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food benefits to low-income Americans. As a result, thousands of families will be able to find more fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy food. Traditionally, federal food assistance has focused on non-perishable products found on grocery store shelves. But reliance on this type of food—which is often processed and loaded with fat and sugar—leads to health problems like diabetes among low-income kids. USDA’s Merrigan emphasized that contrary to popular belief, fresh local produce is not just for the wealthy and elite. “We see farmers markets all over the country,” she said. “They don’t only crop up in high-income areas.” One of the biggest hurdles to expanding access to fresh produce has been a technology problem: USDA normally provides grocery stores and retailers with free EBT machines which allow people to pay for food from a SNAP account. But the system only works if sellers have access to a phone line and electricity—which most farm stands and farmers markets don’t. Now the USDA has committed to solving that problem by providing more resources to removing this barrier—a huge step towards connecting struggling families with healthy food. By expanding access to farm stands and produce markets, the USDA is also helping support American farmers, and is putting dollars in the pockets of local businesses. The announcement is a win for farmers, a win for families, and a win for local economies.

Rango and Las Vegas: A shared story about water crisis

Written by Laura Martin, Class 5 "Pah" is the Indigenous Nevadan's word for "water". Water's importance is honored in the names of many cities and towns in Nevada: Pahrump, Tonopah. "Paiute”, the name of one of the area’s tribes, translates roughly to "water people.” Travelers in the Southwest would look for this tribe because usually when they found them, it meant water would be near. Water is very important to Nevadans--so important that populous southern Nevada plans to
siphon water from the rural part of northern Nevada in order to meet the demand for water in cities like Las Vegas. A similar plot plays out in the Pixar movie Rango. In Rango, the cartoon lizard, voiced by Johnny Depp, finds himself in a dusty Old West town that is suffering from a water crisis. Through the course of events in the movie, Rango discovers that the mayor, in a bid to please developers and establish his legacy as an innovator, has used a pipeline to
redirect the water to the glimmering town of Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has recognized that as Las Vegas' population
continues to grow, so does the city’s need for water. As of today, SNWA has received official approval to make a water grab. Instead of finding ways to cut back on water usage—like charging for consumption instead of a flat fee that everyone pays, or allowing for grey water systems—SNWA now gets to build a $15 billion dollar pipeline that will displace or kill tens of thousands of wild animals. A Great Basin Water Network study shows that just through rigorous water
conservation, Las Vegas could generate one-half of the water that will be pumped through the pipeline. Pumping groundwater on such a scale could result in the water table dropping 75 feet. It could transform the region into a dustbowl, affecting the livelihood of cattle ranchers, indigenous tribes and Mormon Enterprises. In real life, Johnny Depp’s Rango is not here to save us from poor planning and greed, but we do have the Bureau of Land Management. They have the final say in the pipeline construction that
will cut across land that is owned by the federal government. They are developing an Environmental Impact Study, and holding public meetings about the project, which they’re set
to weigh in on this summer. Contact the Bureau of Land Management office in Nevada to share your opinion about the water grab:nvsoweb@blm.gov and sign up to receive email alerts from the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada who will provide information about upcoming BLM Nevada public meetings.

The Mothers of our Movement

Authors: maritessa

This Mother’s Day, Green For All is releasing a dope music video entitled “7 Billion” by the Dream Reborn contest winners Silent C and Invest. These two dynamic hip-hop artists were inspired by their own mothers to honor the struggle and the courage of women around the world. Stay tuned for the release of this powerful story of unity and hope this Wednesday, May 9th.

Twitter Town Hall!

After you watch the video, you’ll not only be inspired to share it and honor a woman in your life, you may be inspired to join the conversation about motherhood, women’s leadership and social change with none other than Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins (GFA CEO and expecting mother), Roberta Shields (Rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges' mother and head of the Ludacris Foundation), and Ashara Ekundayo (Green For All Fellow, Social Entrepreneur and Mother of DJ CAVEM). It’s easy – just follow #StrongMoms this Thursday, May 10th at 11-11:30am PST, 2-2:30pm EST. You can tweet your own questions for these Strong Moms!


Recycling Starts with Yourself

Authors: Michael Hutchingson, Green For All Fellow

I never felt that I would face any new challenges in life that I could not handle. Growing up in the inner city of Kansas City, where I had lived all my life, had taught me many life lessons. However, the challenge of moving to Nashville and trying to set up a recycling program in a new city is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Recycling by definition is to convert one thing into something new. Through the process of setting up this program I feel I have myself been recycled, transformed into someone new.

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GFA Alabama A&M Ambassadors Recognized by Clinton Global Initiative

Authors: Nara McCray & Samjulien Carlishe

As Green For All Ambassadors for Alabama A&M University, during the 2011-2012 school year, we focused our efforts on raising awareness about water issues. During the fall semester we concentrated on raising broad awareness about water issues. We held workshops and forums on international, national and local water topics. We wanted to start by implementing change on the historic campus of AAMU. Our specific mission was to reduce bottled water use at our university.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/tj6eZnkOHPg

While developing a curriculum for our peers, we ourselves learned much about the positives of drinking tap water, the negatives of drinking bottled water, and how to organize and operate events. The experience connected us with many allies and new friends at our university, as well as many others from different Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

We were thrilled that our efforts were recognized by Bill Clinton’s organization known as Clinton Global Initiative University. We had a chance to participate in the organization’s conference a few weeks ago. It was an honor to have CGIU recognize us; they told us our work was inspiring and could help motivate other student to pursue their goals. We were inspired, too.

The conference brought together over 1,200 students who are committed to creating change throughout the world. There were a number of celebrities and entrepreneurs involved including Jon Stewart, Usher and Majora Carter who shared their personal stories of successes and failures. It was interesting that many emphasized that failure was necessary in order to experience success.

Also, we were surprised to learn that many of the entrepreneurs who spoke began their humanitarian work while in undergraduate school. We were honored to be one of the few recognized by CGIU for our commitment. The highlight was that we actually got to meet former President Bill Clinton while at the service event on Sunday. Unlike many others, our initiative was not “global” or an innovative business plan.

But our focus on reducing wasteful bottled water use on campus also raised awareness about disparities in access to drinking water that exist around the world. This opportunity has inspired us to dream big. We can literally do anything as long as we have the motivation!


Atlanta Falcons Fullback Teams up with Green For All

Authors: Candice Reed

Ovie Mughelli isn’t your stereotypical environmentalist. He’s a Pro Bowl fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and one of his jobs is to protect the quarterback. Off the field he protects the environment.

Mughelli uses his star status to reach children and teach them how they can care for the environment and make important green lifestyle changes. Through the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, he hosts youth football camps and environmental fitness camps, teaching kids about the connection between a healthy environment and a healthy body.

The football star will soon be teaming up with Green For All to further spread the news about the environment and green jobs.

“I think it’s important to share with communities, especially inner-city communities, that green jobs are the future. That’s where Green For All comes in to the picture. I’m excited to be working with Green For All to get these messages out there,” he said. “I really believe that by working together we can give kids the tools to pull themselves out of poverty with green jobs.”

Mughelli, born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, is a 9-year NFL veteran. One of the biggest fullbacks in the NFL, Ovie is known for being a power blocker, and for being able to pick up blitzes. He has one of the best special team minds in the game. He also encourages his teammates to go green, and has dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged kids and leaving behind a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous world.

The Pro-Bowl football player said that when his daughter Olivia was born three years ago he and his wife stepped up their concerns for the environment.

“My daughter is a big reason I do what I do,” he said. “I would hate for her to get older and ask, ‘Dad, why didn't you care about my future? Why didn't you do anything about the environment, about the air?’ I don't want to have that conversation when she's in her twenties.”

Mughelli’s goal is to stress the connection between sports, health and a clean environment.

“I host a youth football skills camp and a lot of the kids as well as their parents, are surprised when the first thing I start talking about is the environment and what they can do to change it,” he said. “We’ve found that if you empower kids by educating them about the environment, you give them a platform to transform their households, their neighborhoods, their communities, and the world. We encourage them to be leaders and to pull themselves out of poverty by looking towards green jobs.”

Mughelli's Eco-Athlete Foundation also holds a Green Speaker series highlighting different green jobs and he said that most of the people who attend the event are amazed at the diversity and profitability of green jobs.

Mughelli and his foundation work with urban communities because he feels they deal with the brunt of pollution and that they also have the power to be real leaders in protecting the environment.

“It depends on what neighborhood you go to, but many deal with poverty and violence, so sometimes it's hard to convince them that the recycling is important,” he said. “African-Americans also deal with the negative effects of the environment more than others. We have landfills and coal-powered plants in our neighborhoods. The good news is that change can come from these very kids. They have more power than you might think.”


The White House Honors Champions of Change for the Green Economy

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

As a national organization building an inclusive green economy, we have the privilege of working with leaders from across the country who are passionately creating greener communities and stronger economies. We know first hand the powerful, transformative work that is taking place on the ground. It was extremely exciting today to join the White House as they honored nine individuals as Champions of Change for greening our cities and towns. 

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Fellowship Candidates Are Already Making Their Mark

Authors: Brian Purchia

It’s been just nine months, and already our 20 incredible Green for All fellowship candidates are making big changes in their communities. Our fifth cohort of Fellow candidates wrapped up their term of service in March and joined a growing network of fellows around the country who are leading efforts to create a healthier, greener, more equitable world—one neighborhood at a time. Members of our fifth class hailed from epicenters of change spanning the entire country, from Las Vegas, Nevada to Rich Square, North Carolina. They came together in Oakland, California last July for several days of training, then headed back home more ready than ever to engage their communities in building green solutions and new economic opportunities.

These 20 incredible individuals put together over 750 events to train and mobilize more than 18,000 community members. Their accomplishments are impressive.

A few highlights:

  • Developing a farmers’ aquaponics collaborative made up of workers displaced by the BP oil spill in New Orleans
  • Coordinating community participation in public hearings about the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline in Omaha
  • Distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to 100 families a week in Nashville

We believe you’ll be just as inspired by these local ‘solutionaries’ as we are: To get more ideas for how to begin or strengthen your efforts to create the world you want to live in, click on the photo below.

You can help build the movement, too—by sharing your solutions and ideas with us on Twitter.

And don’t forget to sign up here to get Green for All updates and learn how you can help.


This Earth Day, it’s all about (green) jobs, jobs, jobs

Current

Let’s start with the Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued just a few weeks ago. This report shows that green jobs are real, are growing, and are here to stay. The report shows that an enormous number of jobs are already linked to the green economy – 3.1 million in 2010. This new data illustrates just how productive and positive green jobs can be for our economy and for the average American worker. 
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On Earth Day, Atlanta Volunteers Honor Environmental Hero Wangari Maathai

Authors: Markese Bryant

April 22nd, 2012 is the first Earth Day since the passing of Wangari Maathai, a beloved hero of both planet and people. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which has planted over 40 million trees through the leadership of rural women across the country.

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The Green Room Mixtape: Your Earth Day Soundtrack

Authors: Julian McQueen

Wondering what the soundtrack to your Earth Day is going to be this year? Well don't worry, we've got you covered. We are thrilled to announce the release of the only "green" mixtape to drop this Earth Day! Green For All, in partnership with our friends at the League of Young Voters present The Green Room Mixtape hosted by DJ Willie Shakes, featuring some of today's hottest hip hop acts including Kendrick Lamar, BJ the Chicago Kid, Dee 1, Rebel Diaz, BRWN BFLO, DJ CAVEM and many more. The music represents communities from across the US, but they all share one thing...the music is slappin!

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Representative Fudge Introduces “Let’s Grow” Act, Aimed at Fighting Hunger & Promoting Urban Agriculture 

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced a bill this week aimed at feeding the roughly 45 million Americans who suffer from hunger.

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A Night of People-Powered Solar

Authors: Lisa Curtis, Community Builder, Solar Mosaic

Our event in late March was a convergence. It was a convergence of movements, of people and of ideas. With “A Night of People Powered Solar,” we came together to celebrate the incredible: the creation of two community solar installations in Oakland and the investment of over $350,000 in people-powered solar through Mosaic's platform. We heard from four of our partners: The Ella Baker Center, People's Grocery, St. Vincent de Paul and Oaklandish, each of which are working hard to make Oakland a better and more sustainable place to live. At the end of the event, people flocked to the computers to invest in St. Vincent de Paul's solar project and create more people-powered solar in Oakland.

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Introducing The Green Room

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen

At Green For All, we know that if we are going to solve our biggest challenges, then we need everyone stepping up with all their talents! This is why, in honor of Earth Day, we are partnering with our friends at the League of Young Voters to bring you The Green Room Mixtape hosted by DJ Willie Shakes, featuring some of today's hottest hip hop acts including Kendrick Lamar, BJ the Chicago Kid, Dee 1, Rebel Diaz, BRWN BFLO and many more including Green For All’s Markese Bryant. The music represents communities from across the US, but they all share one thing...the music is slappin!

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Let'€™s help feed 45 Million Americans

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

Did you know that forty-five million people in the United States suffer from hunger? That is one in six adults, and one in five children.

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Bicycle Commuter Will Ride Hundreds of Miles for Green For All

Authors: Mimi Torres

I've always considered myself an environmentalist. As a young girl, I was the one that encouraged the family to recycle, and I always signed us up for beach clean-ups.I became vegetarian when I was 10 and vegan when I was 20. In college I become more directly involved with activism through on and off campus environmental groups. It was also in college that I made the conscious decision not to drive. I went and looked at a few used cars after getting my license, but then I realized that if Ihad a car, I would drive it all the time, especially to see friends that lived out of town, and then I would feel like a hypocrite.

I soon realized that there are many more local benefits of the bike economy, from lowering families’ health care costs to reducing a business’s need to invest in costly parking spaces for staff and customers. And you can’t place a monetary value on happiness. I love to ride my bike.

As an only child I had over-protective parents that would not let me ride my bike outside of our driveway or empty parking lots. I didn't go on my first real bike ride until I was 17. While I found that I loved biking, I didn’t buy my first bikeas an adultin the summer of 2007. Since then I have easily logged several thousand miles. I love the freedom that bike riding provides, and I love living in the Bay Area because I can ride all year.

I love bikingduring commuting hours and being able to cruise past long lines of cars held up at red lights.Whiledrivers are breathing exhaust (studies have shown that cyclists breathe less exhaust),and honking at each other, I feel thebreeze andenjoy the sights off the roadside. Not to mention that I always get a great parking spot.

In September I am riding my hybrid road bike on the 2012 Climate Ride California as part of the Green For All Team. The longest trip I've gone on so far was a two day bike trip to Santa Cruz. I am really looking forward to the Climate Ride, but I need to raise $2400 to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes. If you would like to donate to my ride my page is- http://climateride.donordrive.com/participant/mimi710

My friends and family are very supportive of my decision to ride down the coast and raise money for a cleaner, greener environment-hopefully you are too!


Food on The Hill

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

On Wednesday, March 28th, Green For All hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss how innovative food systems can address food insecurity for vulnerable communities, while creating jobs and increasing farmer income.

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The Day I Met The President

Authors: Chester Thrower, Green For All Fellow - Class 1

Last Tuesday when I received a call from Amanda Hansen of the Council on Environmental Quality, inviting me to the White House for President Obama’s speech calling for Congress to end oil company subsidies, I first thought it was a joke. I mean, it’s not every day you have the opportunity be in the presence of the President of the United States, let alone the first black president. So after getting in touch with Amanda and being told that it was a true opportunity for me as a Green For All Fellow, I immediately went into rush mode, having only 48 hours to prepare. Although truthfully I had been preparing for several years by gaining the skills needed for an economy less dependent on fossil fuels, including getting mycertification in solar panel installation and repair.

Although I was between paychecks and the rent was due the next week, it was still too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I reached out to a few friends for help and support in making the trip possible. (A special thanks to Mr. Galen Moorer who helped make this trip a reality.)

It was a beautiful, sunny day in DC andon my walk to the White House, as I passed the Washington Monument, I found that I was lost. Thanks to a friendly Secret Service bicycle police officer, I got back on course and proceeded on the right path. As I approached the northwest gates of the White House, I saw scores of tourists and school children, all taking pictures in front of the White House gates. It was kind of funny since this was my first time ever being in front of the White House, and the first thing I noticed was how small it looked, as compared to seeing it on TV. I mean, even after seeing Andrea Mitchell doing reports on the North Lawn, I never imagined how small the building really was. Then I pressed the buzzer on the gate, and the guard spoke to me on the intercom and asked me to state my name and purpose for coming. After a few minutes he came out, got my driver’s license, and went back in and all kinds of thoughts went through my mind. When I finally heard him say, “Come on in,” I finally realized that this dream was real.

After walking through the metal detectors and getting my visitor’s badge, the Secret Servicemen pointed to the West Wing, and said to follow the path and go right on in through the doors.

That’s when it hit me - I was in a place where 44 presidents actually lived and tons of foreign dignitaries walked on the same path and entered through the same doors. Never in all my years did I think that I would be in this historic place. As I entered, the Secret Serviceman that was guarding the door advised me to have a seat on the couch and relax. As I took in the scenery, I noticed the historic paintings and sculptures that adorned the walls. The Secret Serviceman was really nice and talkative. Then the kid in me came out – I started to ask all kinds of questions- like is the food here good? He confirmed it’s like gourmet cooking. (Chefs cook for the president.) I asked if he saw the president every day, and he said he did several times a day when he’s in town.

After a while a White House staffer came out and escorted me to the Roosevelt Room, where there were pictures of Theodore Roosevelt and FDR. Along the walls were FDR’s Nobel Peace Prize and his Purple Heart Medal. I even sat in President Obama’s chair, which is distinguishable because the headrest is higher than the other ones. As other invitees came (15 in all) it was like we all knew each other. We introduced ourselves and everyone was excited and soaking up the moment. The White House staffer was giving us the overview of the do’s and don’ts. One of the big rules was no pictures or autographs. After about half an hour of small talk between us and laughing and joking, all of a sudden to the left of me, the doors of the Oval Office swung open. There he was: Barack himself. You know what? I was kind of speechless. I mean - here he was in person. He worked the room and introduced himself to each of us and shook everyone’s hand. He asked everyone their name and thanked them for coming, and gave a brief overview of what he was going to talk about. Then he disappeared back into the Oval Office. That’s when we all looked at each other wide-eyed and gave our observations; how much larger-than-life he looked, and how articulate and respectful he was. He’s definitely a people’s president. Then after about 15 minutes, the White House staffers came in and said, “It’s game time.”

As we were escorted to the Rose Garden - which has a lot of history itself- butterflies definitely started settling in. I mean, I played college basketball in front of thousands of people, but to tell the truth, when we entered the Rose Garden and assembled on the steps and saw hundreds of people sitting in their seats along with journalists, photographers and news media, this was a totally different arena than I had ever encountered in my life. After about four minutes of us standing there looking into the crowd, it was loudly announced over the P.A. system, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

As the Oval Office doors swung open, he appeared once again. Since I was in the middle of the last row, I was the one that had to actually move over and let him come down the middle of us to the podium. As he walked past, he tapped my arm, proceeded down the steps, and gave his speech at the podium.

To be totally honest, during that 15-20 minute speech, I heard and understood what he was saying about how Congress needs to cut out the oil subsidies and the millions that these companies profit per hour, but I was definitely taking in the moment: from the agents on the roof above, to the Secret Servicemen to the right and to the left, to the staffers to the side, to his shoes, and his hair cut. It was sort of like I was in a daze. As the president finished his speech, he turned around and he again congratulated everyone for coming down and being part of the day, and before you knew it, he had walked back through the Oval Office doors, and he was gone.

Looking back on the time I spent with the president, he kind of seemed to me like a ballerina who takes the stage, performs a perfect pirouette, brings the house down, and disappears, stage right.

After he left, we were escorted back to the Roosevelt Room to collect our belongings, thanked for coming and being a part of the moment, and led back to the northwest gates to leave the White House grounds. As we stood outside, marveling at what we had just experienced, reality soon set in and everyone left, returning to the reality of being ordinary citizens.

As I walked away, I realized that never would I have ever thought that I would share a mutual dream with 14 other lucky citizens: to meet and rub shoulders with the 44th President of the United States, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.


Green Business Academy in Nashville Sings Praises for Green Jobs

Authors: Khary Dvorak-Ewell

Music City is turning Green.

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Food on The Hill

Green For All hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss how innovative food systems can address food insecurity for vulnerable communities, while creating jobs and increasing farmer income.

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A Farm Bill for Healthy Fresh Food and Good Jobs

Authors: Zoe Hollomon, Green For All Fellow

Being a community and food justice organizer at the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in Buffalo, I work with local youth to Increase access to fresh affordable food and build a more equitable and sustainable food system. Some days that means working with youth on our urban farm to grow food for Buffalo communities, other days it’s connecting local farms and urban markets, and sometimes it’s informing elected officials about the movement for a better food system and how they can support healthier communities and economic opportunities through policy. 

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The Green Experience at Savannah State University

Authors: Danielle Bailey - College Ambassador, Savannah State University As a Green For All College Ambassador, I am often asked, "What is the Green Economy?" "What do you all do?" And my answer is always simple: We advocate for green jobs that will strengthen our economy and help us live longer! As a senior Biology major at Savannah State University (SSU), most of my peers do not expect this kind of thinking from me, but I am here to show everyone that the green economy movement isn't limited to just environmentalists. Everyone from all backgrounds and all communities can participate and benefit from it. One of the main focus points in my Ambassadorship is to educate my college community on how to be prosperous leaders in this new and exciting realm by establishing our spring campaign, "The Green Experience- SSU." This exciting campaign is designed to provide a living example of how the green economy works on both the environmental and economic side. We plan to establish a sustainable department within our administration that will oversee the use of resources of the University and will be monitored and maintained by the students themselves. This project is a "win win" for Savannah State with goals to reduce our carbon foot print and save money while doing so. It is important that we (the students) are aware of the changes in our world, country, and community and to know that change starts with us. If every student from Savannah State University makes one small green change to their lifestyle, and incorporate that change when they graduate, it will be a huge accomplishment and the first big step towards a sustainable future. I strongly believe the green economy movement will be able to make some of the most indifferent people open their eyes to a healthier living style, not just for themselves but for the people around them as well. I have already made the change, are you willing to do the same?

Danielle Bailey - Savannah State University

Danielle Bailey was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Stone Mountain. She is a senior majoring in Biology at Savannah State University. Her interest in the environment was stemmed from her love and faith in God. As a child, she was always taught about creation care, but she did not realize how much she cared about the environment until her college years. She has participated in every campus beautification project and traveled with the Student Conservation Association. Bailey is committed to changing the mindset of her peers and establishing a long lasting relationship with Savannah State University and the Savannah/Chatham community.

A Bright Green Future for Kansas City

Authors: Ryan Dexter

More than 3.1 million Americans have a green job, according to a new report released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At Green For All, we’ve spoken to thousands of Americans who lost their jobs five and six years ago who have found jobs in the clean energy field, making their communities safer for their children while earning a decent paycheck. As part of our ongoing Green Jobs for America video series we took a closer look at one of the cities where green jobs are helping improve the community.

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The Green Experience at SSU

Authors: Danielle Bailey - Savannah State University


A Force For Good

Authors: Tina Fakhrid-Deen Originally posted on Moms Clean Air Force When my friend Amy asked me if I'd be interested in writing for a mom's blog about clean air, my first reply was, "No, thanks. It's not my thing." Ironically, I think of myself as an activist, mother and nature lover, but being an advocate for environmental issues seemed like it fell outside of my cultural and everyday experiences. Yes, there are many black environmental activists such as Green for All's Van Jones, MacArthur "genius' grant winning Majora Carter, and Blacks in Green's fearless leader, Naomi Davis. They are visible, fierce and trailblazing. However, being a teacher from the inner city, the advocacy issues I deemed critical and immediate were around bullying, youth violence, poverty, school dropouts, and low literacy rates. In my mind, that was more than enough for me to chew on without adding another demanding issue to my plate. I marinated on this opportunity for weeks and it gave me a chance to pay more attention to my surroundings and process my thoughts. I had a girl's road trip planned and flew into Kentucky to meet my road dogs. We left the airport in our rental car and stopped to get something to eat. As I exited the car, I recall me breathing deeply outside of the Waffle House and commenting on how nice the air was in this open stretch of land. It was interesting that my body would notice and immediately begin taking deeper, longer breaths. It's sad, but clean air is a bit of a luxury to me. I've grown to expect it on nice vacations and trips down south, but not in my everyday life. Not only do I live in a city with too much congestion, I also grew up with a chain-smoking parent who refused to crack a window to let the smoke out, despite my complaints about secondhand smoke. Some would say that I'm lucky to have a healthy pair of lungs, but my father isn't so fortunate. He now has respiratory issues so profound that he must sleep with an oxygen mask. Several of my students have respiratory problems as well. I work at a high school and our students must walk up three flights of stairs. It's sad that so many of them, primarily African-American and Latino, can't accomplish this simple act due to chronic asthma problems. Several of them have had asthma attacks at the school. With all of the pollution in Chicago and power plants on Chicago's Southside, I imagine that many of these attacks are due to environmental triggers. There are two nearby coal-fired power plants, the Fisk plant and the Crawford plant, which have been under constant pressure by local activists to close due to their close proximity to residents and dangerous emissions. As of this week, both plants have finally agreed to close within the next two years. This is because regular people decided to speak up and demand more for our community and our children. Hopefully, I can become one of these brazen green souls who cares just as much about toxic air as I do about the toxic behaviors in our community because they are both killing us. A recent CBS article reported that in Chicago, the rate of hospitalization for asthma is twice as high as the national average and that African-Americans and Latinos are 4-6 times more likely to die from asthma than the overall population. Disproportionate is an understatement. This trend towards respiratory disease in our communities is an epidemic and should be treated as such. Please join me and countless other moms to fight for our children and their right to clean air. It's time for me to be a green force for good, so I'm standing in this fight with Moms Clean Air Force. Now who's with me? Tina Fakhrid-Deen is a writer, performer, activist, and high school drama and English teacher. She is the author of Let's Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. Her stories, insights and essays have been featured in publications such as Scott Foresman, the Not for Tourists Guide to Chicago, Without A Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues: Young African-Americans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right, My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Expressions From Black Daughters To Their Fathers, Homegirls Make Some Noise: Hip-Hop Feminism Anthology, and Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is. She resides in Chicago, IL with her family. You can connect with Tina at her website www.tinafakhriddeen.com

How to Thrive as a Leader of Social Change

Authors: Imhotep Adisa, Green For All Fellows Class 5 In my 7 years as the Executive Director of theKheprw Institute (KI), I have met several wide-eyed young people who want to change the world. These young people, full of passion, are determined to make a difference, yet are unaware of the many challenges they will face along their journeys.

“Everyone thinks ofchanging the world, but no one thinks of changinghimself”- Leo Tolstoy

This quote is incredibly relevant for social entrepreneurs. This is imperative.Before starting on your mission to change the world, you must remember to start with yourself.

I have been lucky enough through the years to meet people who have not only kept me accountable, but also have given me the necessary guidance to help me avoid and overcome inevitable obstacles. With that being said, I would like to offer three strategies to help you as you make a difference in your own community:

1. Do a self-check:Be honest about who you are. Right now. What is it that you’re willing to endure? The journey of the social entrepreneur is not for sprinters. It is most definitely for long-distance runners. What are you willing to sacrifice? Short-term benefits for long-term world changing objectives?

2. Be a sponge:Learn from the trials and tribulations of others and get inspiration from it. Study from within other organizations. They best present ways for you to acquire leadership skills.

3. Perseverance is key:There will be tons of bumps. There were times that my organization, Kheprw Institute, knew the lights were supposed to be shut off that day, yet we approached our work the same way that we do every other day. Nine times out of ten, the answer to our problem has walked through the door at its own pace. At the end of the day, organizations that are built to last are led by individuals who are able to withstand the most.

If you think this road will be easy, you’re in for a rude awakening. The path of a leader is often treacherous, and at the end of the day, only those who are able to endure the most survive. But if you’re able to persevere, the world is yours.

“At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Step outon faith, and let the Universe be your guide.

Imhotep Adisa — Fellows Class 5

Imhotep Adisa is native of Indianapolis, Indiana. As an African-American, his interest in environmental and economic issues was born out of personal and community experiences. His interest in environmental issues was heightened after some of the young men in his program held a forum on the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Not long after, the group read Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy. Since that time most of their work has centered on creating community awareness about the environment, providing information to residents on green economic opportunities, and providing an alternative voice to the community about these issues as they relate to the African-American community.

Keeping Polluters Accountable

Authors: Natasha Soto, Class 5 Fellow

Last month residents of the West Side, employees, and members of The Clean Air Coalition joined assemblyman Sean Ryan for a press conference in front of the Peace Bridge asking the state Department of Conservation (DEC) to place an air monitor on Buffalo’s lower West Side.

Press conferences happen every day, so why was this one so important? Because the DEC uses air monitors to measure contaminants in the air continuously, to avoid damage to people and the environment due to air pollution and the people of Western New York desperately need one.

Back in the day, the residents who started The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York conducted their own air testing using a bucket they bought at Home Depot and a hand vacuum. When the results came in, they found that benzene, a known carcinogen, was in their air at increasingly elevated levels. The quickly concluded that there could only be one culprit: Tonawanda Coke Corporation! The residents became angry and demanded the DEC and the Environmental Protection Agency to do something. The DEC put in four air monitoring stations throughout Tonawanda which helped the agency, and the residents determine what other nasty contaminants are in their air, and where it’s coming from. Tonawanda currently has two air monitors because two were taken away back in 2009 At the end of the Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study. Air monitoring has been so important in determining air quality issues in Tonawanda (DEC’s study just determined that there was an 86 percent reduction in benzene.) that we want the DEC to place one on Buffalo’s West Side.

And here’s the kicker! There’s a DEC funded air monitor that measures for VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) as well as fine, and ultra-fine particulates. But it’s on a private golf course in Amherst, where it isn’t even functioning to its full capacity- it’s just measuring temperature and ozone. I mean, if that isn’t bogus, I don’t know what is.

So on a cold February morning, our assemblyman, Sean Ryan, called on the DEC to put an air monitor on the West Side because of all of the diesel exhaust choking that area and he stressed the importance of the two existing air monitors in Tonawanda.

But that’s not what I’m most excited about. For about 15 years the conversation surrounding the Peace Bridge Expansion Project has been about “economic development” or “progress.” People claimed that by not building a “new signature bridge” that Buffalo would be left behind, while other cities, like Detroit and Ontario, would receive an economic boost from trucks and jobs and the like. Now, for the first time in 15 years the conversation has changed to one of air quality issues surrounding the Peace Bridge. To the fact that almost half of all households on the West Side have asthma, or other respiratory issues and, almost four thousand trucks, 80 percent of the United States/ Canada traffic passes through this one neighborhood, over this one bridge, even though there are three other international crossings, and that diesel exhaust contains 40 toxic chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer.

But this is just a baby step. West Side residents and the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York are just beginning to ask for the neighborhood we need.

Help us by signing our petition to the DEC here:http://www.cacwny.org/2012/01/secure-air-monitors-keep-polluters-accountable/

Natasha Soto — Fellows Class 5

Originally from Washington Heights, Natasha moved to Buffalo for school, where she earned her degree in Environmental Studies. She was instantly culture shocked to find, unlike the melting pot of New York City, a distinct lack of people of color at the University at Buffalo. She fell in love with Buffalo because of the pride and strong sense of community expressed by the people, but she was also aware that something was missing.

Bringing Energy Efficiency to the People Who Need It Most

Authors: Kristina Johnson

We were thrilled this week to hear that the U.S. Department of Housing Development is investing in a program to make affordable housing more energy efficient—something that will create good local jobs, slash air pollution, and shrink energy bills for low-income Americans, who are already strapped and struggling to get by.

The agency announced Thursday that it would awarda $3 million grantto the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, which will use the money to implement the MPower Fund, an innovative new program designed to make multi-family buildings--like the affordable housing units and apartments where millions of Americans live--energy efficient.

Mention energy efficiency to someone and it usually takes about four seconds for their eyes to glaze over. But at Green for All, we get excited about energy efficiency because it can do so much to change people’s lives.

When it comes to creating jobs, energy efficiency is a workhorse. In order to make upgrades to buildings, you need skilled workers--and they need to be local. Efficiency upgrades help slash the pollution that causes health problems like asthma and heart disease and leads to billions each year inhealth care costs. And it shrinks people’s monthly energy bills, freeing up dollars that people can use to help their local economy rebound.

We’ve already seen remarkable results with programs that encourage people to make efficiency upgrades to their houses: In Portland, one of our partner programs, Clean Energy Works, made more than 900 single-family homes energy-efficient, cutting five million pounds of carbon pollution, putting 500 people to work, and generating $12 million for the local economy.

But that program was focused only on single-family homes.

At Green for All, the question that was keeping us up at night was how to make efficiency work for the people who stand to benefit from it most: low and moderate-income folks living in apartment buildings and affordable housing. It was hard to imagine that landlords and housing agencies, squeezed as they are by the recession, would be willing to pony up for the initial cost of efficiency upgrades--which can average $3,000-$5,000 per unit.

MPower solves that problem. It makes the math work for building owners and housing agencies. The MPower Fund pays the upfront cost of energy efficiency upgrades, and the tenants and building owner repay their utility over time as part of their monthly energy bill. Together, everyone reaps the benefits of lower energy bills. That’s why Green for All is working to expand MPower across the country, bringing energy efficiency—and jobs—to many more Americans.

HUD’s grant in Oregon is expected to save building owners and tenants more than $1.7 million over the next ten years. It will cut pollution from power plants by an estimated 1,300 metric tons a year. And it will create good jobs and generate dollars for the local economy.


Cleaning our Water and Creating Jobs

Authors: Emily Gordon On a sunny day in Oakland last week, Green for All pulled together thirty water experts from around the country to share ideas on how we can create jobs while addressing one of our nation's most serious environmental problems-our crumbling stormwater infrastructure, responsible for water pollution and scarcity. The meeting of the Stormwater Infrastructure Working Group was the first time Green for All has convened a "community of practice" in the water sector. At the meeting, America's water leaders grappled with issues such as:
  • How to build public support for water and green infrastructure projects
  • How to create jobs and economic opportunity in stormwater projects
  • Creative financing models for stormwater projects
  • Building a high-road model for green infrastructure that will create pathways to middle class jobs for the people who need them most.
null In addition, participants shared their knowledge and resources—including jobs reports, finance recommendations, and messaging guidelines—all with the goal of finding solutions to one of our biggest water problems—and putting people to work in the process. We're looking forward to further supporting the working group to create quality, green jobs in the water sector. Stay tuned!

Don't Derail Transportation Jobs

Authors: Brian Purchia

Today in a blog on the Huffington Post, Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, calls on Congress to pass a transportation bill that will put Americans back to work now.

 

Read more

Good Jobs Green Jobs South

Authors: Maritza Martinez

Hundreds of people from across the South gathered in Atlanta late last month at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs South Conference to discuss current and future efforts to build a green economy. Participants ranged from union members to municipal workers to environmental activists and everyone in between. The conference was put together by the Blue Green Alliance, a national strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. 

Read more

Making Moving Affordable and Green

Authors: Ron Rogers I just got back from the "Green is the New Black" conference at Howard University, where Green for All brought together college students to network with environmentally friendly businesses. As a black-owned green business, we at Repax came to the conference looking for young fresh minds to help expand our company. Our company goal is to slash the amount of waste that's generated when people move their homes and offices--and to make environmentally friendly moving easy and affordable. It used to seem like green products and services were only for the wealthy. You could only find them at trendy, expensive stores. Some of us just couldn't afford to travel on the green train. As real working people, with real budgets and real bills, many of us were looking for ways to hop on the train. All of us deserve access to goods and services that won't destroy our planet. Our company offers regular people an easy way to make moving more sustainable. Repax uses recycled plastic crates that interlock and combine with a dolly system to make packing easy. The crates are reusable, and cut down on the thousands of cardboard boxes people use to move each year--many of which end up in landfills. It's an easy process: Repax delivers crates to your door, you pack them, then once you've moved and unpacked, you call and Repax picks up the empty crates. You don't waste time looking for boxes. You don't waste cardboard. And most importantly, you don't waste money. The company started as the idea of Olandis C. Gary, formerly of the National Football League, and Marcus T. Stephens, former Sr. Creative Director of Under Armour. It's now grown into a thriving business in three major metropolitan areas: Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. We're also proud to be the provider of choice for the NFL Players Association, the American Moving and Storage Association, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Through efforts like the Green is the New Black conference, we hope to help promote other minority-owned green businesses and make environmentally friendly goods accessible to many more people. For more information, visit www.repax.com, or email me at rrogers@repax.com.

Green For All’s The Dream Reborn: Who’s Next? Contest Winners Announced

Authors: Markese Bryant

Talk about fresh!

More than 40 songs were submitted by young artists honoring Dr. King’s dream by calling for economic justice and green solutions, as part of The Dream Reborn: Who’s Next? music contest. That’s a lot of talent and tracks.

But the people have spoken—more than 5,000 of them, voting on Facebook— and the first place winner is the song "7 Billion" [Listen] by Silent C featuring Invest. The winning song begins with a news reporter announcing that the population of the world has reached 7 billion as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his famous; "I Have a Dream," speech.

The song taps into the power and responsibility of the planet’s growing population to create positive change: "This is not a black thing, this is not a white thing, this is a world thing, power to the people, 7 billion strong," is the song’s refrain.

Silent C, a.k.a. Christian Dior Wade, a 20-year-old musician living in Atlanta, GA and Invest, an artist/entrepreneur who was born and raised in Oakland, teamed up for the winning song. They will receive the $1,000 grand prize prize – and the opportunity to have their music video produced by Green For All.

"I hope this song makes people realize that with seven billion people in the world, we need to come together more than ever to help each other and the planet we all share," said Silent C. "Promoting economic justice and green solutions is a great way to honor Dr. King’s dream."

Our competition also caught the attention of record producer Jack Knight, who has created songs for stars such as Diddy! and Jennifer Lopez. Silent C and Invest, and the other two top performers will receive one-on-one advice and feedback on their music from Knight.

The second-place song and winner of a $500 prize is "Climate Control" [Listen]. The track was written and performed by the Green Team, a talented group consisting of Marvelous, Moe Cash and MJ, students at the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, MN. The artists wrote the song in hopes of making an impact and to raise awareness of the green economy and the problems in their neighborhoods.

Green For All held a similar contest in 2010 called The Dream Reborn. The Climate Change Crew, a group of middle school students in Minnesota, created the winning performance in that contest.

Stay tuned for the release of the music video!

To listen to the winning songs, please visit:

"7 Billion" by Silent C featuring Invest[Listen]

"Climate Control" by Green Team [Listen]

For More info on The Dream Reborn: Who’s Next? contest please visit:

http://dreamreborncontest.com

http://www.youtube.com/embed/9BhbHppGFWs

Watch "Change is Needed" by The Climate Change Crew:


Green for All Convening a National Working Group on Stormwater Infrastructure

Authors: Emily Gordon On March 1-2, 2012, Green for All will be convening national experts and practitioners to discuss an emerging crisis and opportunity: our crumbling water infrastructure, and the jobs that will result from meeting the challenge. This small Working Group forms the core of our newest Community of Practice focused on Water. For the past four years, our Communities of Practice program has connected thousands of practitioners to share innovations, define best practices, and advance green jobs programs across the country. This week’s convening will focus on:
  • Creating high quality, broadly accessible jobs in the water sector,
  • Building public support for water infrastructure and green infrastructure projects, and
  • Financing stormwater infrastructure projects.
Members of the Working Group stay connected to each other and receive support from Green For All. This convening is part of Green for All’s work to build green infrastructure and jobs in the water sector. Meeting our growing investment needs can create nearly 1.9 million jobs. To learn more, see our recent report "Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs, Greening the Environment"

Black History Era

Authors: Sizwe Herring, Green For All Fellow- Class 5

"The evidence of anthropology, now suggests that I, the Black man, am the original man, the first man to walk this vast, imponderable earth. I, the Black man am an African, the exotic quintessence of a universal Blackness. I have lost, by force, my name, my language and in a sense, my life, I will seize it back, so help me. Toward that end, if necessary I will crush the corners of the earth. Until I, the Black man, the first and original man, can arm and arm, with my woman, erect among humanity, the first truly human being this world has ever seen."
- Nathan & Julia Hare
2012 is, and will be, a spectacular year for me. It serves as a beginning of a new era, a time of conscious renewal for the world. It's the year I have been looking forward to for a long time. Hollywood has turned 2012 into a year to fear, but I welcome it. It has always amazed me that the world is in sync with a common calendar, that somehow we have united as humans to measure time. This same unity will happen as we enter a new time together.
Currently we are on the heels of what has been known as Black History Month, which evolved from Black History Week (from when I was a youngster in the 1960's). I have recently resolved that there is no more designated Black History Day, Week, or Month, we are now in the Black History Era!
Land is the basis of all independence.
Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality.
- Malcolm X
As people of color, we have led sustainable societies since day one. The Malcolm X quote above refers to land as the basis of freedom, justice and equality. This thought leads me to my inert respect for the land, and earth. I have been a certified permaculture (permanent agriculture) instructor since 1996. I teach this applied science at many venues, including the EcoVillage Training Center in Summertown, TN at The Farm.The Farm sits on 1,100 acres of beautiful land. Residents have their own committed land management, school, store, gardens, wildlife management and mediation program, in lieu of a police station and it is a very Afrocentric place. My youth program ‘Kids To The Country’ brings urban children to the Farm for a week of unplugged hobbies each summer.
My organization, EarthMatters Tennessee has uplifted the genius of Black agricultural inventors and thinkers for more than 20 years. As an alumnus of Tuskegee, I am fortunate to have walked the trails of Dr. George Carver, whom I consider the father of permaculture in the USA. I received several impactful experiences that have guided me to become a devotee of Carver. We manage the Carver Food Park Community garden in Nashville and celebrate Dr. Carver's July 12th birthday annually. We host a Global Stir Fry celebration around August 17th each year in celebration of the Honorable Marcus M. Garvey. Our okra garden was named for Nashvillian Oprah Winfrey, and we generated an estimated 5000 pieces of Oprah Okra annually.
I mention these efforts, along with our movement at Green For All, which exemplifies these ideologies. We are forward thinkers, with the audacity to believe we can affect positive changes, both locally and globally through green collar job creation and movement building. We are Black, Hispanic, Asian, European and land-based conglomerates of this forward facing movement. Our various and sundry organizations are a tight knit family of practitioners that affect positive changes on a daily basis. From huge platforms like carbon credit (and debit) legislation, to community gardens, through connecting with the hip hop generation; to simply picking up a piece of litter, we are the movement.
Let's come together and make 2012 and beyond, the cleanest, greenest, serenest ERA (suggest era- it looks like it stands for equal rights amendment- unless that’s what its supposed to be) ever!

Sizwe Herring — Green For All Fellow Class 5

William Sizwe (Siz-Way) Herring is a dedicated environmentalist and director of EarthMatters Tennessee, a nonprofit earth education organization. A frequent classroom presenter and workshop leader, Sizwe is a certified instructor in the field of permaculture. Sizwe's organization maintains the George W. Carver Food Park, where over 30,000 lbs of organic compost is produced and distributed each year. The Food Park is the home of Nashville's only "land sculpture" made entirely of leaves and compost materials. Sizwe is also the urban coordinator for Kids To The Country, and since 1994 has led the summer program at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. As part of his mission to bring balance and wholeness to earth communities, Sizwe has volunteered his time as a trained mediator since 1993. He uses his staff position at Tennessee State University's student center to both mediate and bring awareness of both earth and human ecology to college students. His influence was instrumental in the creation of the campus organization Gateway to Heritage, which conducts recycling, cleanup and planting projects on the grounds and immediate neighborhood of this HBCU university. He is a former board member of the American Community Gardening Association, Tennessee Solid Waste Control Board and has proud, active memberships in Manna-Food Security Partners, Green For All, the Tennessee Organic Growers Association, and the Green Collar Jobs Task Force of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.


Green is the New Black

Written by Julian McQueen Howard University held a Green Opportunities symposium on Thursday February 23rd titled, “Green is the New Black”. The event was the result of a partnership between Black Enterprise Magazine, Howard University's office of sustainability, and our Howard College Ambassadors, Brittany Stallworth and Falon Shackelford. The event was held in honor of Black history month and was a chance to not only highlight the many opportunities for students and community members in Washington DC's thriving green sector, but to connect those new green opportunities with a deep and rich legacy of environmental stewardship and leadership in the black community that is often left out of the history books. “Green is the old black and the new black” explains Markese Bryant, “People of African decent have always had a close relationship with the environment and have provided many innovations in the green economy, and this event is a chance to highlight that and shine a light on many new opportunities being created by businesses and organization today in the Washington DC area.” Check out photos from “Green is the New Black” here. The day started with a “Green Opportunities” fair. The fair featured over 35 businesses and non profit organizations looking for the next generation of leaders in the green sector. Students and community members alike took the opportunity to engage with businesses and get information on job openings and internship opportunities in a range of areas. Businesses like Repax, a DC green business specializing in green packing and shipping materials, connected with the more than 300 attendees over the course of the afternoon. Repax employee Ron Rogers summed up the fair, “we just can't connect with people face to face as much as we'd like, so to come to Howard and really share our vision with people and recruit people to be a part of it, is a really positive thing for our business.” The green opportunities fair was followed by a networking dinner with a delicious local and organic meal provided by Catering by Vest, a family owned business who can cook a good chicken and a great tofu! The theme of the evening resonated throughout the program, the message, our history reflects a deep connection to the environment, and we have the opportunity reframe how we think about sustainability and the environment. KJ Rose, a DC based singer/songwriter opened the evening with an uplifting message of personal change, “because the problems can feel so big, many people don't do anything, but we have to recognize that we can all do something, even if it's small.” Her message resonated through her performance and set the tone for a really positive evening. Arnetta McCrae, the president of the American Association of Blacks in Energy provided great insight into the opportunities for African Americans in the energy sector, “the way we create energy is transforming and we need to be at the front of this effort,” she noted that a gathering like this was bridging generations and that was going to make all the difference and left with an open invitation to those attending to utilize the AABE and get involved. Bryant Terry, renowned vegan chef and activist closed the evening with a powerful vision of change through healthy food. In keeping with the theme of the evening, he implored the audience to reclaim our food. “Soul food is greens and tubers and peas and beans,” he suggested that we recognize that our food heritage is healthy and that many health related issues in our community are caused by a lack of access to healthy foods. As the evening came to a close, Bryant left the audience with a simple message, We have to start with our family and our friends and our food, “the best way you can bring someone into this movement is to cook them a great meal from the heart!” It was a fitting way to close an incredible event that uncovered the links with our past while maintaining a steady vision of our shared future.

What does sustainability look like in the heart of coal country?

Authors: Maritza Martinez

A new report from Central Appalachia Sustainability Economies (CASE) [report] details how one group is defining sustainability within a region dominated by coalmining. I had the pleasure of joining two Green For All Fellows at the first gathering of CASE in November. The CASE network was convened by Green For All Fellow Eric Mathis, founder of the JOBS Project, to coordinate sustainability efforts in the coal regions of West Virginia and Kentucky. The purpose of the gathering was to bring together people and organizations working toward health and sustainability to reduce organizational silos and begin developing a regional approach to sustainable economic development. It was clear that this network is building a space for much-needed collaboration, resource-sharing and mutual support.

Working For Communities, Not Against the Status Quo

"It’s okay to be against something, unless it’s against the workers," said Terry Sammons of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority. Coexisting with the coal industry, the area’s main provider of jobs, is a central theme of the group’s work. Speakers discussed the region’s economic development through this lens, including reclaiming land from mountaintop removal sites and improving mining techniques to keep streams in tact. Many innovative solutions have already been implemented or being developed locally, such as solar energy installations, reforestation projects, and building community spaces, such as schools, on post-mining sites.

Meeting Community Health Needs

Coal-mining communities suffer from a host of health problems that can be addressed through comprehensive sustainability work that puts community health at the center. GFA Fellow Selim Sandoval and Monica Niess from The Write Choice Network shared their vision for a baseline community health survey. They are working in collaboration with leaders in Williamson to acquire federal funds to build a Federally Qualified Health Center in the area. Teaming up with Eric and local organizations, they will be implementing a public survey to assess the needs of the community and build a health clinic that can address them. The health clinic will serve as a regional anchor for achieving sustainable and healthy communities.

Developing Local Leadership and Business Opportunities

Sustainable economic development in coal country represents critical opportunities to diversify an often-stagnant local economy. Daryn Dodson from Idea Village discussed his experience supporting entrepreneurs in post-Katrina New Orleans. Through investment and coaching, Idea Village is able to grow entrepreneurial ventures and help them succeed in the market. He shared success stories from the field, like Naked Pizza who set out to build the world’s healthiest pizza and is now expanding to 27 locations around the country. This model roused strong interest within the CASE network as a means of supporting the next generation of leaders and business owners by building local opportunities to prevent brain drain and create a stronger economy.

The CASE convening launched a coordinated effort at building a

sustainable local economy dedicated to healthy communities and next generation leadership. Participants showcased local solutions as well as models for success from around the country. To some, building a new economy means tearing down the old industries without regard to jobs or traditions but it is clear that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Eric Mathis and the team at CASE are creating a sustainable economy with a deep understanding of the needs of their community.

Read more about the CASE convening here.

Check out photos from the CASE convening here.


Announcing the Green is the New Black Symposium

Authors: Markese Bryant In the recent years, the phrase “Green Is The New Black” has been used in many areas of today’s society from the environmental movement to the fashion industry. Many people have different interpretations of this simple phrase. Some say it refers to the increasing awareness about the need to transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a clean energy economy while others say it is just a fashion statement that refers to what is “hip and trendy.” Today, the African-American community is adding a new connotation to the phrase, “Green Is The New Black.” In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, said that “green is the new area of social justice for our community.” The green movement, similar to the Black Power movement of the late 60’s and 70’s, is calling African Americans to return back to ideals and values of their ancestors. Maulana Karenga, professor of scholar/activist and creator of Kwanzaa, reminds us of this legacy when he says, “A key theme in African religion is the profound respect for nature. Nature is not only respected because of its association with God, but also because of its relevance to human kind. The stress, then, is to show it due respect, to live in harmony with it and the universe, and not abuse it.” On February 23rd from 3-5pm, Green For All and Howard University in partnership with Black Enterprise magazine and dozens of businesses and organizations are acknowledging this legacy by honoring the contributions that people of African descent have made – and continue to make in the fight for a more sustainable planet and equitable society. We hope to further the conversation among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities community about the rapidly growing green economy and how it can be leveraged to solve environmental and economic issues facing the black community. Our goal is to inspire college students, faculty and members of the surrounding community to act powerfully to usher in a green, just future for their campus and their surrounding communities. The day’s events include an “opportunity fair” featuring dozens of businesses and organizations offering jobs and internships for attendees. This will be followed by a free to the public “networking dinner” featuring dynamic speakers and performers and delicious local organic meal for all. Please join us at this event that not only honors the past, but also builds toward a just green future for all. To ATTEND, text: GREENBLACK to 25827

Team Green For All Rides for the Climate!

Authors: Cheryl P. Derricotte, AICP, Director of Strategic Growth

Green For All is delighted to be a beneficiary of the 2012 Climate Ride!The East Coast Climate Ride will travel from NYC to DC, May 19-23, 2012 and the West Coast Climate Ride will span the California Coast, September 9-13, 2012.

Climate Ride is a non-profit organization that organizes charitable bike rides to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes. There are two rides to choose from if you would like to join Green For All:Climate Ride NYC-DC or Climate Ride California. Climate Riders register for $75 and then fundraise a minimum of $2400 in order to participate in one of the all-inclusive 5-day events.

The NYC-DC ride begins with a pedal through the heart of Manhattan to a ferry that will carry everyone off the island and across New York Harbor. From there the route travels along country roads passing through Princeton, crossing the Susquehanna River, and into Pennsylvania Amish Country. After a day of pedaling past farms and silos in Amish Country, the riders will reach Maryland horse country. On the fifth day, riders cycle past the iconic Washington Monument to arrive at the U.S. Capitol. A highlight of the ride is that Climate Ride arranges appointments for every rider to personally meet with her/his Congressional representative. It makes a big impression to pedal 300 miles to meet your senator.

Less than 15 spots remain on the NYC – DC Climate Ride! To join Team Green For All now visit:ClimateRide.org and choose “Register” to get started. Remember to select Green For All as your beneficiary! Don’t want to ride? Make a tax-deductible donation to Team Green For All by clicking here:

Thanks for your support of Green For All on Climate Rides 2012!


800,000 Say No to Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline!

Authors: brian

Yesterday, we asked you to send a message to Washington demanding that our elected officials reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline once and for all. Green For Alljoined 350.organd 30 other environmental groups and environmentally conscious businesses in this incredible effort.

We were shooting for 500,000 supporters, but in 24-hours more than 800,000 of you told your elected officials to say no to the Keystone tar sands pipeline.

Fifteen of the nation’s top climate scientists also added their names to the effort by sending a personal letter to the Senate, urging leadership to abandon the tar sands pipeline, because of its impact on the environment and climate.

Today, your petitions were delivered to Congress. Check out the photos here!

Thank you for demanding that our leaders stand for the American public. We will continue to keep up the fight against Keystone XL as long as Big Oil and their supporters continue to promote oil profits above the health and safety of Americans.


24 Hours to Stop Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Authors: brian

We have 24 hours to stop the KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline.

The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on a deal that would greenlight its construction. Last month, President Obama and his administration stood up for the American public by rejecting Keystone XL. This project would have helped Big Oil and their allies get richer at the expense of American workers and permanently damaged our environment.

After the President rejected Keystone XL, many in Congress have been working to try and push through the pipeline on behalf of Big Oil. To stop them, we need you.

That’s why for the next 24 hours the movement is uniting to demand that our Senators reject Keystone XL. Our goal is to collect and send 500,000 messages between now and the vote on Keystone.

We don’t have a second to lose.

Click Here to Tell Your Senators to Reject the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline!

Carbon Footprints, Nitrogen Secrets

Authors: Falon Shackelford, Howard University Ambassador As evidenced by the various natural disasters, the noticeable changes in temperature that are at some points down right unbearable, and the sea levels that won't stop rising, it is clear that we are in a state of global environmental crisis. The recognition that many communities, especially in low-income communities and people of color communities, are at specifically at risk to these environmental changes is now coming to the conversation that has previously focused on conservation and efforts such as recycling. null

What causes such instabilities? One of the largest contributors to these changes is the various emissions of non natural sources of matter like carbon as well as less acknowledged sources like nitrogen that are equally as detrimental to global environmental stability. One of the sources of nitrogen is the agricultural industry, specifically the herding of cattle and other meat-based industries. Livestock alone is responsible for approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The Nitrogen based fertilizers along with the food product used to feed livestock place a heavy burden on the environment, particularly because meat product is used as the based of the average diet in the Western hemisphere, instead of just the supplement. The consumption of so much meat, particularly by the average American, has caused desertification throughout many parts of the developing world.

There are obvious sustainable “remedies” to the issue of food, like buying local products and working to support organic companies with your purchasing dollar, it is important to make an effort to try to limit the amount of meat intake in the diet. Why? Well in addition to the various positive health effects, such as the likelihood of lower blood pressure and less stress on the heart (which affects many low-income communities and communities of color) Although, many people are frightened off by terms such as vegetarianism and veganism, a more environmentally friendly diet looks different for different people. Moving towards a plant based diet can lessen health risks, reduce the amounts of hormones that your body interacts with, and result in higher amounts of energy daily. With simple lifestyle changes, like supplementing meats with other sources of protein like beans and nuts, each person can help create more environmentally responsible solutions to problems that affect the well-being of others. This month, Howard University is partnering with Green For All to host an event entitled “Green Is The New Black”, to raise awareness among Howard students about important topics like food justice, environmental justice and the green economy. Also, students will explore exciting opportunities in the green economy while honoring the contributions that people of African descent have made — and continue to make — to the fight for a sustainable planet and an equitable society. Our goal is to further the conversation in the Howard community about the rapidly growing "green economy” and how it can be leveraged to solve environmental and economic issues facing the Black community.

Falon Shackelford — Howard University

Falon is the president of the Howard University Environmental Society, a university wide organization dedicated to increasing environmental consciousness. In addition to helping organizing student engagement in events, Falon has worked with various administrators and faculty to help demonstrate the need for an office dedicated specifically to sustainability on her campus.

Dream Reborn: Vote for your favorite song!

Authors: Markese Bryant

The Dream Reborn: Who’s Next? competition is well under way, and the submissions we’ve received so far are truly inspiring. We have songs from all over the country and all over the musical map! From folk to rock to hip hop and everything in between, people are using music to spread the message of an economy Dr. King would be proud of.

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Vote For Your Favorite Song!

We need your vote to decide who will get a video produced for their track and the thousand-dollar 1st place prize. It's easy to vote, just visitDreamRebornContest.comand "like" one or more songs. You can let your Facebook friends know which are your favorite songs and get them to listen and vote.

Still Time To Submit and Win!

We are also still accepting submissions through February 15th, so pleasesubmit your jam, or let your cousin know it's time to upload her new track. When Green For All held a similar contest back in 2010, it was won by a group of high school students in Minnesota that called themselves the Climate Change Crew.Check out the video we produced for them:

 

http://www.youtube.com/embed/lNlZ5w8oGtE?rel=0

Music has always played a key role in struggles for justice and equality, and today is no different; help us identify the songs to add to this rich legacy as we build this dream together.Vote for your favorite song now!


To Whom It May Concern

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen

The email from Uganda seemed urgent.

"My name is John Kaganga and I am very inspired by Green For All and am creating similar initiatives in Uganda. I want to bring Green For All to Uganda, please contact me to discuss this effort."
Read more

Join Our State of the Union Livestream

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen

The State of the Union is dissected and discussed by the usual suspects on the big networks and cable news. Although these opinions are important, much of what the President will discuss - from healthcare to security to the economy - will have a direct effect on the youth of this country. That is why Green For All has joined the League of Young Voters for the second annual #Baracktalk event! Tune in for a live stream of the State of the Union address, followed by a roundtable discussion with some of today's most important leaders from hip hop, entertainment, activism and more, including: Dee-1, Jasiri X, Davey D, Rhymefest, and others.

You can catch the livestream below beginning at 7:30pm EST/4:30 PST.

We also want to hear your thoughts and questions. Submit them via twitter: !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

http://www.ustream.tv/embed/5715821


A Plan to Keep America First

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

America is not used to playing catch-up, not since World War II. We’ve built a massive, unparalleled economy through an always-evolving blend of entrepreneurship, public and private investment, and innovation.

We still lead the rest of the world, but we’ve slowed. Stumbled. Meanwhile our competitors are picking up speed – particularly in key sectors that promise long-term growth.

President Obama is presenting his fourth State of the Union address tonight, at the outset of a year that will culminate with a fiercely contested battle for his position. It may be the President’s last opportunity to establish the agenda that America needs in order to be competitive over the long term – while putting people to work immediately.

It is a moment for boldness – a time at which the President can outline a plan of action that shifts America’s focus to the future, a time during which America can regain its speed.

Our organization, Green For All, is committed to building a green economy robust enough to lift everyone out of poverty. The need for this has rarely been greater; low income communities and communities of color are seeing rates of unemployment exponentially higher than the rest of the country. Nearly one-in-five African-American men are unemployed – this alarming trend has barely budged for several years. It’s a crisis, but an addressable one.

One way to put people back to work now is to seize the obvious opportunity in front of us. Shifts in energy production and consumption, in resource use and re-use, provide massive economic opportunities. And so, we respectfully submit to the President the following course of action – it provides the best short and long-term strategy to maintain American economic leadership.

1. Recognize long-term growth opportunities

Bringing a small company or industry to scale yields many more jobs – and profits – than making a huge company a little bigger. Silicon Valley funders don’t invest in IBM, they look for the next IBM.

America should do the same. The political firestorm around the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have yielded several hundred short-term jobs was manufactured by Big Oil and their political allies – it has been amazing to watch. For much less potential environmental damage, we could put thousands to work in industries that are conditioned on the long-term.

Consider the cost of producing energy from renewable sources will soon drop below the cost of producing energy from fossil fuels. In part, that’s because the renewable sector is predicated on innovation while fossil fuels are predicated on extraction. Extraction will necessarily yield cost increases as it becomes harder; innovation on the other hand will continue to yield price drops. Investing in Keystone is simply an attempt to keep the costs of extraction artificially low and prop up an industry from another era.

There is similar opportunity in systems that reduce pollution from the old fossil fuel economy. The EPA’s new rules aimed at reducing mercury and other particulate pollution from power plants will lead to investments that will create companies and jobs while saving lives, lowering asthma rates and saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs annually.

We can’t remain where we are through sheer momentum. We need new strategies in new sectors – and we need to invest in them.

2. Make direct entrepreneurial investments in green technology

Put flatly, opponents of government investment are wrong.

Attacking Solyndra has proven to be smart politics for those who hope to see the President lose in November, but it has no connection to smart economics.

The Department of Energy has seen a remarkably high earnings-to-loss ratio in the investments it has made, including Solyndra. American entrepreneurship necessitates winners and losers. Investment is the bet that your gains will offset your losses. In that regard, the DOE has been a very shrewd investor.

We know, too, that other countries invest at a much deeper and robust rate than the United States. One of Solyndra’s challenges was that Chinese government investment in solar has made it difficult for American firms to compete on cost. Meanwhile, Germany recently determined that it was giving too much to renewable firms – so much so that they have passed the United States as the second-biggest supplier of solar panels. We’re nowhere near being able to make a similar decision.

In 2009, Green For All released a report in partnership with the Political Economy Research Institute that showed investments in green technology yields more jobs per million dollars than an investment in fossil fuel technology. That’s precisely the sort of return on investment that the government should want to see. We need to double down our investments in green technology – it is our country’s fastest growing sector for a reason. We should embrace this.

3. Make direct investments in infrastructure – with an eye toward the future

Late last year, we released another report highlighting how infrastructure investments can put Americans back to work now, Water Works. By investing in upgrades to our nation’s water system, we can put nearly 1.9 million people to work and generate $250 billion for the economy.

The President has repeatedly indicated a willingness to make similar infrastructural investments. So what’s the delay? Let’s push forward on building the infrastructure we’ll want to see in the year 2100. That means cleaner water infrastructure, revamped energy plants, and greener transit systems.

Again – the investment in innovative companies is important, but that should not be our only plan. We also must commit to building the infrastructure we can expect America to need in a century’s time. Our country and our economic future is depending on infrastructure built half a century ago or more – that will not work.

4. Use the full power of the executive branch

Of course, the President doesn’t control the purse strings, and it seems unlikely that those who do will work with him any time soon.

But President Obama has proven adept at exercising executive authority to make progress. It’s vital that the private sector work with him to figure out other creative ways in which that can happen.

What could this look like? It could mean relaxed restrictions on how allocated money can be spent. It could mean using the bully pulpit to direct private investment. It could mean expanding the ways in which the military makes internal investments.

There’s no finish line in international economics. There’s no time for the hare to take a nap. First place is always contested and being the leader in any given sector bears real benefit to the population: more jobs, more GDP. We still enjoy the benefits of having been the country that developed the technology and information systems underlying the Internet. Now, we need to commit to a plan that will keep America first.

The plan above will take political courage – and a vast amount of political support. But it is demonstrably the case that it offers an immediate and long term boost to American economic prospects, a boost that we can no longer put off simply so that entrenched, enriched interests continue to profit, while the rest of us suffer.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

Let the President and your member of Congress know that you support this plan. Click the button above to take action.


Reflections on Environmental Justice from Northern New Mexico

Authors: Beata Tsosie-Peña, GFA Fellow, Class 5 Since attending the Green for All Fellowship Academy Training, I have come back to my work with the local non-profit organization Tewa Women United (TWU) with enhanced leadership skills, and increased support on the environmental issues we face, as individuals, families, and as an organization. As part of my Green For All campaign, I am working within our organization to make our daily program activities a model for environmental consciousness to the families and community we directly serve. We are also starting a “Living Seed Library” that offers local, non-GMO seed to our gardening communities, and documents oral histories and plant knowledge. We are also planning and proposing community garden projects and food justice resolutions to the City of Española, New Mexico as well as a large scale mural that tells our story on how we are impacted by the nuclear weapons industry in Northern part of the state. The proactive work our local environmental justice group focuses on around food justice and self-empowerment is a good balance when engaging in the constant struggle of opposing the contamination being enacted upon our people and agricultural resources by nuclear weapons production. This past year was a difficult one – we are still recovering emotionally, physically, and spiritually from the devastating Las Conchas Fire, which destroyed the watershed of my homeland of Santa Clara Pueblo and 80% of its’ forested lands. This is the third fire, which threatened Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL), and many of us watched helplessly from a smoky haze as our forests burned and the labs, which threaten our health and existence, were saved. It is difficult to accept that our people are economically dependent on this threatening industry, and we will continue to advocate to change its mission from a nuclear weapons focus to one that supports true “green” energy and sustainable research, land conservation, legacy waste cleanup and restoration. It is ironic that as our state breathed in heavy smoke for over a month, our current governor disbanded the environmental board, which approved a statewide ban on open burning and detonation of hazardous and chemically toxic substances, as well as implementing a cap on coal emissions. She has now opened the door for these harmful activities to potentially start again. Now, a proposed six billion dollar weapons facility known as the CMRR-NF (Chemical Metallurgy Research and Replacement Nuclear Facility) is in the beginning stages of construction at Los Alamos. There is an outcry of opposition from local organizations and the impacted community. No other facility of its kind is in such close proximity to populations who still live off the land, and it will be located on an active, seismic fault zone. The risks and costs with the project are too high –we will continue with our opposition against CMRR-NF and other Los Alamos activities that threaten our environmental and reproductive health. Through utilizing our cultural strengths and traditional knowledge, we are collectively working to heal our families and communities from an imposed culture of violence, and now, from the impacts of fire. If even one person hears our story, if nature’s story is told, then her suffering has found voice in those community members who have not forgotten how to listen and learn from our connection to place. Since time immemorial, we have been caretakers of this land, and we will continue to work in 2012 for our shared expertise to have equal voice in order to enact positive social change.

Beata Tsosie-Peña — Fellows Class 5

Beata Tsosie-Peña is from Santa Clara Pueblo, and was raised in El Rito, NM. After studying permaculture design, and out of personal concern for future generations, she became interested in developing solutions to economic and environmental problems. She became active with Tewa Women United's Environmental Justice program three years ago. She felt a calling after experiencing the trauma from the testing and waste disposal detonations from LANL on a regular basis in her ancestral homelands.

Thank You, President Obama

Authors: Ahmina Maxey

The Obama administration has made two major decisions recently which will greatly benefit my community of Detroit, Michigan. The Administration's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, and their issuance of new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants will improve the health and environment of Detroiters. Southwest Detroit is home to over a dozen industries that are amongst the state of Michigan’s top air polluters. The result of this air pollution is staggering with asthma death rates in Detroit being twice that of the state average. Twice! Every time I utter this statistic it turns my stomach to know that we suffer this environmental injustice at the hands of big business. However, it is decisions like rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline and curtailing pollution from coal plants made recently by the Obama administration that give me hope.

New national standards limiting mercury and air toxics pollution will ensure that the DTE coal-fired power plant in Detroit will clean up its act. Tar sands that would have been transported through the Keystone XL pipeline and processed at Detroit’s Marathon Oil refinery are no longer a reality. These decisions are saving countless lives in Detroit, as thousands of us will see improvements in air quality. Thank you, President Obama.

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Green For All Statement on Keystone XL

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

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Green For All released this statement from CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins earlier today.

We applaud President Obama and his administration for standing up for the American public and rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline extension. This project would have helped Big Oil and their allies get richer at the expense of American workers and permanently damaged our environment.

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From the Flickr account of Lauri Gorham.

Our country needs a real jobs plan –Keystone is not it. Helping a foreign company ship oil overseas to make billions of dollars, while polluting our communities is not a jobs plan. We need our leaders to support America’s fastest growing industry – the clean energy sector.

We can create millions of good, clean jobs for American workers that make our country more competitive without polluting our communities. We need to invest our resources in improving our infrastructure, making our homes and businesses more energy efficient and promoting clean energy solutions. We need our leaders to stand up to Big Oil. We need a real jobs plan that puts American workers and its fastest growing industry first not a jobs plan financed by Big Oil.


Making A Difference At Spelman College

Authors: Jainaba Fye, College Ambassador, Spelman College As a college ambassador at Spelman College, I have been making an effort to educate other students about the importance of the Green Movement - and at the same time, I have become more informed. For example, I learned about the extent to which my campus community is affected by environmental injustice.
Spelman College is located in Atlanta's low-income West End. The area in which we live is also a food desert and residents are victims of environmental injustice; there are railroads surrounding the area on all ends and overall upkeep of the community is contemptible. Recognizing what kind of area we live in has made me all the more passionate about making a real difference. During workshops we ran to educate other students, we were able to use the example of the West End to help students understand and relate to the issue of environmental injustice. The last one that we held was a collaborative workshop with Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University. Many of the students attended simply because there would be food - and a giveaway of Wale concert tickets - but once the workshop came to an end it was evident that students truly enjoyed their experience with us and had taken away an understanding of the green movement. This is only the beginning. Once students grasp an understanding of the movement, I would like us to reach out to the West End community and begin implementing solutions. Already in the West End there are new organic restaurants and grocery stores that have opened, which is very encouraging to see. I believe if we take on an initiative to also educate West End community members these stores and restaurants will thrive. We're seeing results from our partnerships. Each year, Spelman College participates in the Martin Luther King Day of Service, an event that offers an opportunity for students to participate in various community service activities in honor of Martin Luther King. Last weekend, we were very excited to have the support of Green For All in our efforts to better our community, including planting trees and picking up litter along a local highway. The more I work with our partners, the more I understand the difference we can all make.

Jainaba Fye — Spelman College

Jainaba Fye is a rising sophomore at Spelman College where she is studying International Studies and Economics. Jainaba is passionate about the environment, politics, and women's rights issues. Most recently, Jainaba facilitated workshops in Kigali, Rwanda, and Baltimore, Maryland entitled Miss In Action.

The Dream Reborn Contest: Who’s Next?

Authors: Markese Bryant

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I am a firm believer that our movement to build an inclusive green economy is an extension of the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent the last days of his life working tirelessly on the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address the lack of jobs, decent wages and housing among poor people of color. Over the years, many of my friends have fallen victim to the prison system, drug addiction and senseless violence due to the lack of job opportunities.

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In 2005, I faced a similar fate after I was arrested in my neighborhood in East Oakland. This incident motivated me to enroll into Laney Community College, which ultimately led me to attend Morehouse College, where I decided that I wanted to be an African American Studies major. As I learned more about the history of my people and the struggle for civil rights, my dissatisfaction with the status quo grew stronger and stronger. While searching for a solution, I brought a book titled The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones, which details how green jobs could potentially provide disadvantaged youth with an alternative to the streets.

After I finished reading the book, I was so inspired that I decided to write a theme song for the movement called, “The Dream Reborn.” I recorded the song -- hoping the voice of the post Hip Hop generation would be heard loud and clear during the climate change discussions.

Droughts, heat waves, poor air quality, floods, higher prices for basic necessities, and other challenges of climate change are having a heavy impact on people of color and the poor. I wrote “The Dream Reborn” to shed light on these issues and to support the green movement as a whole.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/I52vlPByrUc?rel=0

The hook of the song is a chant that says “It’s time to go green/ we got to go green/ the food ain’t fresh and the air ain’t clean/from the hood to the burbs everybody go scream/Dr. King, we’ve living your dream/my president is black, but he’s going green/I got my president back I’m going do the same thing.”

While reflecting on the role black freedom songs played in the civil rights movement, Dr. King stated, “They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign; they are as old as the history of the Negro in America. They are adaptations of songs the slaves sang-the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns, and the anthems of our movement. I have heard people talk of their beat and rhythm, but we in the movement are as inspired by their words.”

Today, Green For All is launching The Dream Reborn: Who’s Next? contest to encourage artists to write and record original music reflecting how Dr. King’s commitment to social justice and equality inspires them as we work toward a more inclusive green economy. The contest begins today, with submissions accepted at dreamreborncontest.com. Visitors to the site will be able to vote for the song they think best reflects Dr. King’s spirit and the energy of the green economy.

The song that receives the most votes over the course of the month-long contest will receive a $1,000 cash prize – and a music video produced by Green For All! The second and third place vote getters will receive $500 and $250 prizes respectively.

Green For All held a similar contest in 2010 called The Dream Reborn. The Climate Change Crew, a group of middle school students in Minnesota, created the winning performance in that contest. Their winning video is viewable at the contest website: dreamreborncontest.com.

I encourage all hip hop artists to use their voice and the green jobs movement as a vehicle to combat violence in their neighborhoods and ultimately increase the quality of life for all mankind.


At Huffington Post, "The Dream Reborn: Who's Next?"

Authors: philip

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Today in a blog on the Huffington Post, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins announced our new contest.

Many of the African-American leaders who now carry the torch of justice that King lit were young when he died -- toddlers, elementary school students, just out of college. Now, Lisa P. Jackson, Rep. Cleaver, Naomi Davis and others are leading a new movement -- a movement for a green economy. They came of age in a world without Dr. King's physical presence, but within the enormous shadow he cast over America.

Young people continue to be inspired by Dr. King. His vision of a just, more equal America will always resonate -- it will always provide energy to progressive movements. And it's manifested in many ways - one of those ways is through artistic expression.

That's the energy that we hope to capture in Green For All's new contest -- The Dream Reborn: Who's Next? We are launching the contest today in honor of Dr. King's legacy.

Check out the contest website, and enter to win!


Featured Fellow: Claudia Jackson

Authors: Maritza Martinez

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Every year Claudia Jackson and her daughters continue the family tradition of shearing sheep along with her parents who are sheep ranchers. Her work at Diné Biinanish Yá’át’éehgo Nooséél (Navajo Green Jobs) is deeply aligned with the traditions of her family. Being green is “the same culturally as what my family has been doing” she says. “The elders understand it,” she says about the green economy, “they say ‘these are the solutions we have forgotten.’” For Claudia, the promise of the green economy is also the promise of bringing together the wisdom of the older generation and the younger generation. Both groups have so much to offer and to learn from each other, whether it is learning to spin the wool from the sheep into yarn and using social media to engage with others in the green movement.

“I am not working for this one program, I am working for the people.”

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As the Navajo Green Jobs Coordinator, Claudia is working to develop a green business incubation program in communities. She sees her role as the maestro of the green movement on Navajo Nation, bringing many of the groups and organizations working on the issues together to work harmoniously as a whole to reach their goals. “To collaborate you have to go outside of your circle,” she says of her success working with community groups, businesses and elected officials. In order to build the green movement on Navajo Nation, Claudia has had to look beyond the priorities of each entity and identify the common goals of the movement. Culturally, this makes perfect sense as well. There is a long tradition of partnership and collaboration going back to the elders meeting at the trading posts and working together.

“I have to walk the talk. I’ve had to change my lifestyle.”

Claudia quickly realized that working collaboratively also means opening up personally as a means of building trust with communities. “In my culture you have to say your clan and that is how people know you. If they don’t know you, they don’t know how to approach you,” she says of working within Navajo communities. There is a saying in Navajo, doo’adanjit’įįhgo, which means: You can’t be shy. You have to walk up to people and talk to them. As someone who has always liked to be in the background doing the work, taking on a leadership role has been a learning experience and a personal challenge for Claudia. Taking on this leadership position has meant some lifestyle changes, from carefully choosing her words in public to modeling green practices in the community.

“Everything I teach is about growing.”

When she starting farming a plot of land at the North Leupp Family Farms, she brought her parents and children along with her to help plant crops. The joy of working together as a family yielded a great harvest. Claudia attributes this to “the love and connection with the earth” they felt as they cultivated the land. She approaches all of her work with this same philosophy of collaboration and synergy with the earth, drawing inspiration from her family and from the elders in her community who see her mission as “the work they knew we had to come back to.”

“You always have to have time for yourself”

Claudia meditates and runs to stay focused. Making space to recharge is so important for leaders. For Claudia, running is a means of meditation. In February, Claudia will be running in the Sedona Half Marathon to raise funds for green projects in Navajo communities. It has been seven years since Claudia’s last half marathon and she is ready to prove she can complete it in about two hours.Check outher blog about her training and her work. Or, sponsor her!


The Green Economy In Coal Country

Authors: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager

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In an article on RenewableEnergyWorld.com, Green For All Fellow Eric Mathis discussed the importance ofcreating a mutually beneficial environment for the fossil fuel and renewable energy industries in order to bring about a successful transition in West Virginia's energy production.

As the age old “us vs. them” debate continues, many West Virginia residents, companies and entrepreneurs are beginning to identify synergies between renewable energy and fossil fuels, specifically building unexpected coalitions in the heart of coal country. As a social milieu that is built upon a long and proud tradition of producing coal to fuel the development of the first industrial revolution, what opportunities are on the horizon for WV playing a role in simultaneously maintaining its dominance as an energy producer as well as bringing about a less anti-coal version of what Jeremy Rifken has deemed theThird Industrial Revolution? Using WV as a test bed, it is my belief that anetwork economycan only emerge from a mutually beneficial strategy that identifies synergies between fossil fuels and RE (e.g., Hybrid car) given the present political climate in the U.S."

Continue readingWest Virginia Energy Outlook 2012: Identifying Synergies Between Renewables and Fossil Fuel.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/-yzEqWAUSGE?rel=0


This video courtesy Our Mountain State.

Victory For Clean Air In West Buffalo

Authors: Natasha Soto, GFA Fellow, Class 5

This is the story of how we fought to make the air in our community cleaner - and won. 

Read more

Green For Everybody in Nashville

Authors: Sizwe Herring, Green For All Fellow, Class 5

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We have had a green boon for our unified movement building in Middle Tennessee. Green For All Fellow candidates Yeama Sow, Michael Hutchingson and myself have had the pleasure of hosting and enjoying the presence of three Green For All community leaders.

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The author is pictured at center with community members

The whirlwind began when Green For All founder Van Jones visited Vanderbilt University for a down-to-earth discussion of the current situation in DC. He told us the ever-important personal stories. We learned about his Mom talking about God's green earth, actually yelling "What in God's green earth have you done now??!!" He gave us some powerful manna to thrive on as we maneuver through the new green economy. (View the full speech.)

Green For All Fellow Zoe Hollomon from the Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo, NY led an Urban Agriculture workshop with us at Community Food Advocates at Tennessee State University. Zoe shared her techniques for mobilizing, motivating, educating and building a successful network of engaged community members. “Community has to see the relationship between food security, the local food movement and environmental impact of what we eat…and how we can improve that relationship,” explains Zoe. People loved her! She is so real and a great communicator. Of course, I knew this from her presentation at the Green For All Academy in Oakland this summer. This is why relationship-building throughout all levels of community is so important.

Sister Rosa Gonzalez, Green For All’s Education and Outreach Director, graced us as lead guest presenter at the Tennessee Sustainable Economy Summit at David Lipscomb University. She brought her expertise in discussions around equity, community benefits and partnership developments to over 100 people. "Tennessee has all the pieces in place to build the movement for a thriving green economy in the region, from a city-wide energy efficiency program to culturally-relevant grassroots organizing for a more localized and healthy food system," says Rosa about her experience in Nashville.

Many of you may recall the travails and prevails of the George W. Carver Food Park, featured on the Green The Block blog in September. The destruction of our compost and community garden project only threw us off our "A" game for a few. We are thankfully rebounding and emerging with projects in 5 Nashville neighborhoods! We are shoring up our "community enterprise" foundation with the help of my Green For All mentor Shamar Bibbins in Washington, DC. We are excited to have a new family of supporters and cheerleaders for EarthMatters here in Tennessee. Let's keep each other in high regard, both prayerful and confident in each other, as we manifest new green consciousness and lovingness in foundation building of each of our new and growing green lives, families and economies.

Learn more about or support the work of the Earth Matters Network.


Fellow Chester Thrower: Retrofit Homes, Shift the Paradigm

Authors: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager “It’s all about self-motivation.”
Chester did not only get involved in green economy work for himself, he sees the work as an avenue for reducing violence in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. He believes that training young people for solar panel installation is a concrete way to break the cycle of poverty. "If low-income people are not aware and are not exposed to these opportunities right now, two, three years later it may be too late. We may get shut out of the process again,” says Chester. Contrary to what the media says, he knows green jobs do exist. "It is about positioning oneself in order to take advantage of the opportunities that will come down the pike! [Jobs] will not be handed to you, you have to grab them," he says. “You have to want to be involved in change.” Earlier this year, Chester received funding through Green For All’s Fellows Fund to launch Project Seal-Up, a start-up green business designed to retrofit old housing stock with simple Do-It-Yourself and cost effective updates. In the last 4 months, he held training sessions for low-income residents explaining the benefits of CFL lighting compared to incandescent and how to put a household on a diet by doing the small things that make a difference on monthly bills. Last month, he also began installing blower doors and draft finders for program participants. Chester’s vision for Project Seal-Up goes beyond the individual houses he has helped retrofit in his community. “Ultimately this will result in the success and empowerment of a community, as well as a vital paradigm shift for historically disadvantaged minorities,” he says. Chester and Project Seal-Up were recently featured by Pop City Media. (Read more about the project.) “I would recommend that people spend a few years working for someone else in the same field before starting their own business.” Recently, Chester started a new job at EIC Comfort Homes as an Energy Auditor. Each day, he drives an hour and a half to Castle, PA to evaluate the energy efficiency of homes for low-income residents. Through a program at the utility company - Penn Power, residents can receive the necessary retrofits to make their homes more energy efficient. The work is challenging. On a typical day, Chester may find himself climbing into an attic or crawling under a mobile home to find energy inefficiencies. “I feel good when I go into someone’s home and they are grateful for the savings we provide,” says Chester about his work as an energy auditor.

The Road to Rio

Authors: Cheryl Derricotte, AICP, Director of Strategic Growth

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Green For All and other members of the Ford Foundation's Sustainable Cities Working Group participated in the Second Intercessional Meeting of the United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in New York City last week. UNCSD is making preparations for the 20th Anniversary Earth Summit to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012.

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New York City Michael Bloomberg addresses the audience

The Working Group submitted a number of position papers to the UNCSD in advance of the meeting, including a green jobs paper calling for "high-road" standards in a global context. (View the position papers.)

To underscore the Working Group's efforts, the Ford Foundation organized a side event at the Intercessional entitled "Sustainable+Just Cities: New Priorities for the Rio+20 Conference." Attended by approximately 250 people, the speakers included Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City and Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (pictured), Luis A. Ubinas, President of the Ford Foundation and Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Cecilia Martinez, Director of the New York Office of UN-Habitat, moderated the side event.

Learn more about Rio+20.


And the Keep It Fresh Winners Are...

Authors: Green The Block Thank you to everyone who participated in the Keep It Fresh education campaign for healthy food! After a month of videos, trivia questions, music shows, and recipes for change, we're bringing our love for healthy food for all into the holidays! null The winners of the contest are...
  • The hip-hop community for being a strong voice for healthy food for all communities, including artists like Jadakiss, Dead Prez, Prodigy, and of course DJ CaveM... among so many others!
  • Young people and college students across the nation who are holding it down on their campuses and in their communities, creating solutions and demanding our generation's right to real food.
  • Everyone who answered trivia questions on topics ranging from food deserts and health effects of junk food, to farmworker discrimination and industrial agriculture.
  • Rhonda Anderson, LaNiece Ford & Asia Rodgers who won the trivia contest sweepstakes of $200 of groceries to local grocery stores like Harvest Market, Vitamin Cottage, and Rainbow Grocery.
  • Folks who shared a Recipe for Change, by posting ideas on the wall about how to increase access to fresh food in your communities. Change always starts with a powerful idea!
  • Dana Frasz from Oakland, CA, who received a solar backpack & iPod shuffle for getting the most Likes for herRecipe for Change, “Food Shift.” Check out her awesome blog post about her project here: Hungry for Change.
Anyone who shared the page or a video with a friend - even a small dose of education goes a long way! Big props to all the winners - that means all of us who care about healthy food! Check out some of the creative solutions that folks posted on the Keep It Fresh wall:
  • Fresh fruit stands & healthy snack machines on campus with a wide selection of fruits at an affordable price! Students love fruits, they just need it to be available and affordable!
  • Public school board can link up with local CSA (community supported agriculture) programs to provide breakfast/lunch to students once a week.
  • Start community gardens in empty lots in the city!
  • Food Shift – a recycling program for food! Collect good food that would go to waste and deliver it to low-income and food insecure populations. Include a job-training program for unemployed people receiving the food to get jobs distributing the food in their community!
These were just a few of the 30+ ideas that were posted on the wall! Feeling inspired? It's time to move these ideas into action to transform the food system in your community or on your campus. Check out these resources to help you get started (scroll down to Food Resources). Or reach out to Seema, Green For All's Organizer, via email. Stay tuned for our next campaign! Until then….Keep It Fresh.

Hungry for Change: Shifting Food Waste into Community Solutions

Authors: Dana Frasz

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All change starts with a powerful idea. The powerful idea you are about to read comes from Dana Frasz, the winner of Green For All's "Recipes for Change" contest as part of the Keep It Fresh education campaign which recently came to a close. Her project "Food Shift," which she is launching in Oakland, CA, received the most "Likes" on Facebook. It addresses the issues of climate change, hunger, and unemployment all at the same time.

Nearly 50% of the food produced in the United States is wasted. This comes at an enormously high social, environmental and financial cost as the economy is struggling, 49 million Americans are living in poverty, and climate change is rapidly intensifying. Food waste squanders water, depletes soil, wastes fossil fuels and adds greatly to the world’s carbon footprint. There is a growing trend in America around environmental awareness, social consciousness and making sustainable food choices. Yet, food waste is still being left out of the conversation. Groups are talking about the importance of the soil, production, processing, localizing, investing and the distribution of food but are not yet examining the sad fate of half of our food. We need to understand the consequences of all this wasted food and begin to shift this widespread problem into an opportunity. That is where Food Shift comes in.

Food Shift seeks to create a new model for food recovery that benefits the community and the environment through maximizing value of otherwise wasted food. Food Shift will collect unwanted good quality food from local food establishments and deliver it to local food assistance centers that feed low income and food insecure populations. As a key part of this process, Food Shift will have an educational job training program, much like the culinary training program at DC Central Kitchen. By trimming our waste and recovering food with programs like Food Shift, we can feed the hungry, improve public health, create jobs, combat global warming, conserve natural resources and create more conscious, healthful and sustainable communities.

Environmental and social consciousness is on the rise in America and people are craving a more just, healthful and sustainable food system. People on both the supply and demand side of food are recognizing that the ecological limits of nature are real and they are adjusting their decisions and purchasing habits accordingly. Food Shift fits firmly within this changing culture and is a tangible way for both consumers and businesses to invest in the environment and their community. With access to large customer bases, there is enormous potential for restaurants, grocery stores and catering companies to act as leaders in their communities. Food Shift will inspire increased consciousness within the food industry and will help businesses transform their DNA to include community, social and environmental well being.

Our current levels of food waste and population growth can not coexist much longer and our planet’s demographics will eventually force us to be more efficient with our food. Out of respect for the earth, its people and future generations, we need to make better use of the food we produce. I’ve been hungry for this change for years and am ready to make it happen.

Email danafrasz@gmail.com to donate or learn more.


In Boston, Hope Springs From The Neighborhoods

Authors: Josh Lynch, Renew Boston

There are 4,514 streets in Boston. Renew Boston aims to weatherize and insulate a home on every one.

Read more

Same Legacy, New Generation

Authors: Brittany Stallsworth, Green For All College Ambassador, Howard University null

My experience as a Green For All Ambassador has equipped me with many of the tools necessary to be a great organizer and an exceptional leader. And it's a good thing, given what we're trying to accomplish.

One of two College Ambassadors at Howard University in Washington, DC, our workshops this year are centered on Environmental and Food Justice and food preparation. We have chosen these topics because we believe that, as people of color, it is important to educate our fellow students on the importance of healthy eating, food accessibility, and quality of food. It has been a challenging experience, but one that I am enjoying.

We plan to help run Howard’s community garden throughout the winter and in the spring, hoping to create a lasting project that can help the university generate its own revenue and food source. Using compost for heat - and for profit - we will be able to grow, eat, and sell our own crops right on our campus. The true test of a people is being able to sustain themselves. Through this project, we hope to help Howard University begin to become more independent and healthier.Howard University is historically at the center of social justice movements and change. The environmental and sustainability movements are slower going - but they are, without a doubt, going. Our goal as Green For All Ambassadors is to expedite them in a way that is beneficial to our student body. Nothing excites me more than the idea of the only Black student-run garden in the District Columbia. Certainly, we are helping to continue to build on the legacy that Howard University prides itself on. I am beyond excited and proud to be a part of making Howard University sustainable - and green.

Brittany Stallsworth — Howard University

Brittany Stallworth is a native of Detroit, Michigan. Currently, She is a junior biology major at Howard University. She has been active in her community since the tender age of 14.

Dept. of Energy: 600,000 Homes Weatherized - Ahead Of Schedule

Authors: Green For All

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Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Energy announced that it had achieved an important milestone: 600,000 homes weatherized - and three months ahead of schedule.

That means three things: less money spent on energy bills, less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and more people put to work.

The Department of Energy broke down the energy reduction point in its press release.

On average, the program reduces energy consumption for low-income families by up to 35 percent, saving them more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone. Nationwide, the weatherization of 600,000 homes is estimated to save more than $320 million in energy costs in just the first year.

Of the 600,000 homes, an estimated 125,000 were multi-family - for example, apartment buildings.

The video below illustrates how this puts people to work. From our partners at CEC in New York, it describes the scale of impact that weatherizing can have. Featured prominently is Thalia Williams, a single mother who finally found a way into construction through the CEC.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/A5U6ZO-3XGw?rel=0

The final number of jobs created and workers employed isn't yet available, though in announcing that the project had reached its halfway mark in January, the DOE noted that 15,000 people nationwide had been employed.

Smart government investment can have a real impact: improving our environment, saving us money, and putting people to work. The DOE's success in this project should spur further programs - and start to bring weatherization to scale.


People Are Talking About Pacha’s Pajamas

Posted by Dave Room I didn’t realize when Rosa Gonzalez invited me to join the Fourth Class of Green For All Fellows that it would help catalyze my life’s work. What started out as a project to document stories in South Africa in January 2011 morphed into a story-centered advocacy project that helped prevent disproportionate impact of layoffs on flatland schools in Oakland in April 2011. Now it appears altogether something different but it still has story at its center, and it speaks to me deeply.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/zM1Ja3DeaGI

Going into 2010, I could feel that the foundation for my life’s work was emerging. So I really dug into the work, foregoing many social and recreational opportunities. My solace at the time was that 2011 would be the year for me to cultivate balance. I remember my Grandma used to say, “Be careful for what you ask for, ‘cause you might get it.” In 2011, the balance I got turned out to be BALANCE Edutainment (“BALANCE”), a social enterprise I started with Aaron Ableman. BALANCE is an edutainment production firm that develops educational entertainment products at the intersection of pop culture, health and sustainability. The company’s current efforts are focused on solving one of the world’s most pressing problems, that is, bringing environmental consciousness to the masses. The environmental movement is near a tipping point that could make being green a way of life, but it needs to engage youth, people of color and mainstream thinkers. Our flagship brand Pacha's Pajamas helps young people to learn about their relationships with other species and ecosystems, and to more fully appreciate Nature. BALANCE is developing “Pacha’s Pajamas” as a social brand that combines corporate branding techniques, entertainment, and ecological education. The brand has licensable elements as well as a number of products with licensable elements. We are positioning Pacha to be the first animated music sensation on Youtube; her music features celebrities and talented child vocalists and emcees. BALANCE is in an exciting moment. Our book has received amazing testimonials from giants like Van Jones and Vandana Shiva. Our performances have reached approximately 8,000 kids and adults to rave reviews. In fact, we just had a performance at the Chabot Space & Science Center this past weekend. We are also getting tremendous interest in collaborating from social enterprises and nonprofits. BALANCE is like a sprout breaking through the soil; our current size has no bearing on the size we could become and yet, at the same time, we are vulnerable, requiring ample water, minerals and sun. We are raising funds through a Loudsauce campaign to continue to grow. Read more. Support us!
  • Give the gift of the Pacha’s Pajamas book and CD, become an Associate Producer or claim one of the other cool rewards through our Loudsauce campaign. Our Loudsauce campaign ends on Friday, December 16, so please contribute today!
  • Give a tax deductible donation to our nonprofit project, BALANCE Films
  • Introduce us to people and networks that may be interested in investing, publishing and/or distribution

Event: Making the Case For National Green Investment

Authors: Shamar Bibbins On Thursday, December 15th, Green For All hosted an event in Edmonston, Maryland, highlighting how investments in water infrastructure creates jobs and protects the environment. The press conference featured Congresswoman Donna Edwards, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Nancy Stoner, Gary Belan from American Rivers and Mayor Robert Kearns from the Town of Edmonston, Maryland. The occasion for the event was the one-year anniversary of Edmonston's innovative "Green Street." null

From left to right: Gary Belan, American Rivers; Jeremy Hays, Green For All; Congresswoman Donna Edwards; Edmonston Mayor Bob Kerns; EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner

The small town of Edmonston, which is just outside our nation's capitol and sits along the Anacostia River, had faced repeated floods due to stormwater runoff. Year after year floods had caused a heavy economic burden on the town, and environmental damage to the river. For a small town of 1,500, this was unsustainable. Leveraging funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the town made a commitment to building a more sustainable community. At a cost of $1.4 million, Edmonston's Green Street brought good jobs (70 in total), sustainable flood control, low-cost LED streetlights, and quality of life improvements for walkers, bikers and runners. A county-initiated pumping station was also placed in town to help mitigate the flooding.

Edmonston's investment in upgrading its main street with a green, smart system has become a national "model for green infrastructure investment," according to the Washington Post. null

Mayor Kerns gives Rep. Edwards a tour of the green street

The most critical part of the project is its storm water bio retention and filtration system. The system diverts stormwater or rain runoff away from storm drains and the sewer system to specially landscaped areas along the street, which filter the water naturally through the ground. These bio-retention cells look like regular roadside green space, holding trees and plants, but they also serve a very important function in the ecosystem. The street uses permeable pavement, which captures the first 1.33 inches of rainfall during storms. This means approximately 90% of all rain showers in a typical year are completely filtered. The bio retention and filtration system treat 62% of the street, and the permeable pavement of the bike lanes treat an additional 28%. These innovations help keep the Anacostia (as well as the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay) cleaner.

The attendees at Thursday's event - who were a mix of local elected officials, green business owners, green consultants, engineers, local water advocacy organizations, and allies from labor - agreed that by building similar systems across the county, we can put people to work and help our economy, not to mention clean up our waterways. In a recent Green For All report, Water Works, we highlight the job creation potential each state has by investing in our nation's water infrastructure. At the press conference, Congresswoman Edwards noted that the state of Maryland alone could create 36,000 - 56,000 jobs. Rep. Edwards also used the event to highlight her "Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2011 which, if passed, would establish up to five Centers of Excellence charged with conducting research on green infrastructure and provide communities with training and technical assistance on how to implement green infrastructure practices. We should not have to wait for investments to make these common sense solutions a reality all across America. Edmonston is just one example of how infrastructure investments create jobs and make our communities healthier. Our infrastructure is in dire need of upgrades, and our communities deserve clean and safe water. Let's hope that we won't have to wait much longer - time is ticking. Ask your representative to support Rep. Edwards' bill. null

Green For All Chief Strategist for State and Local Initiatives Jeremy Hays discusses our recent report

For more highlights from the event, please check out:


People Are Talking About Pacha'€™s Pajamas

Authors: Dave Room, Green For All Fellow (Class 4) I didn’t realize when Rosa Gonzalez invited me to join the Fourth Class of Green For All Fellows that it would help catalyze my life’s work. What started out as a project to document stories in South Africa in January 2011 morphed into a story-centered advocacy project that helped prevent disproportionate impact of layoffs on flatland schools in Oakland in April 2011. Now it appears altogether something different but it still has story at its center, and it speaks to me deeply.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/zM1Ja3DeaGI?rel=0

Going into 2010, I could feel that the foundation for my life’s work was emerging. So I really dug into the work, foregoing many social and recreational opportunities. My solace at the time was that 2011 would be the year for me to cultivate balance. I remember my Grandma used to say, “Be careful for what you ask for, ‘cause you might get it.” In 2011, the balance I got turned out to be BALANCE Edutainment (“BALANCE”), a social enterprise I started with Aaron Ableman. BALANCE is an edutainment production firm that develops educational entertainment products at the intersection of pop culture, health and sustainability. The company’s current efforts are focused on solving one of the world’s most pressing problems, that is, bringing environmental consciousness to the masses. The environmental movement is near a tipping point that could make being green a way of life, but it needs to engage youth, people of color and mainstream thinkers. Our flagship brand Pacha's Pajamas helps young people to learn about their relationships with other species and ecosystems, and to more fully appreciate Nature. BALANCE is developing “Pacha’s Pajamas” as a social brand that combines corporate branding techniques, entertainment, and ecological education. The brand has licensable elements as well as a number of products with licensable elements. We are positioning Pacha to be the first animated music sensation on Youtube; her music features celebrities and talented child vocalists and emcees. BALANCE is in an exciting moment. Our book has received amazing testimonials from giants like Van Jones and Vandana Shiva. Our performances have reached approximately 8,000 kids and adults to rave reviews. In fact, we just had a performance at the Chabot Space & Science Center this past weekend. We are also getting tremendous interest in collaborating from social enterprises and nonprofits. BALANCE is like asproutbreaking through the soil; our current size has no bearing on the size we could become and yet, at the same time, we are vulnerable, requiring ample water, minerals and sun. We are raising funds through a Loudsauce campaign to continue to grow. Read more. Support us!
  • Give the gift of the Pacha’s Pajamas book and CD, become an Associate Producer or claim one of the other cool rewards through our Loudsauce campaign. Our Loudsauce campaign ends on Friday, December 16,so please contribute today!
  • Give a tax deductible donation to our nonprofit project, BALANCE Films
  • Introduce us to people and networks that may be interested in investing, publishing and/or distribution

We Are Taking A Stand!

Authors: Lashelle Moss, College Ambassador, Lane College My name is Lashelle Moss and I am a senior majoring in Sociology at Lane College, in Jackson, Tennessee. I also serve as the President of the Social Sciences Club. At the beginning of the school year, I was given the opportunity to become a Green For All College Ambassador, which I was proud to accept. I am excited to be an Ambassador for Green For All and to become a voice providing guidance to other students!
College Ambassador Lashelle Moss
My first few months as a College Ambassador have helped me realize how much improvement the world needs. My fellow Ambassador Jermell Rivera and I have been creating and discussing different methods to get students at our school involved and have decided to focus on electronic waste. You may ask why we chose electronic waste as a project. "E-waste" refers to the problem of improperly disposed-of electronics such as computers, televisions and cell phones. These devices are made with highly toxic metals, plastics and chemicals that can leach into the environment if not handled carefully. Electronics are one of the main things that college students spend money on - and waste - all the time. If we start recycling electronics, we can start to save money and stop all these chemicals from being released. This could become a major environmental and public health crisis, if we don't quickly take steps to improve recycling and disposal of electronics. After we settled on our focus area came the hard work. Finding an advisor who cared about recycling electronics wasn't easy - but after searching high and low, we found the perfect person to be involved! Next step: students - but getting our peers engaged wasn't easy either. We decided the best way to get our classmates to come was one thing people love: food! It worked! People came (on time!) to listen to what my partner and I said, became interested in our ideas, and wanted to join the team. As a final step, we've been putting up flyers around campus about recycling electronics and how to save electricity. Jermell and I have completed a number of workshops and also have done a few activities with the school. We were flabbergasted that Lane College students and faculty are so trapped in their ways, but we are working hard to make a change at our school and in the community. We are taking a stand!

Lashelle Moss — College Ambassador, Lane College

Lashelle Moss was born and raised in Memphis but she resides in Jackson, Mississippi. Currently, she is a senior Sociology major at Lane College and plans to become a social worker. Lashelle serves as the President of Lane's Social Sciences Club and she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

Fellow Ashara Ekundayo, "Cultivating the Edge"

Authors: Maritza Martinez

For Green For All Fellow Ashara Ekundayo food and art are the entry points to getting people involved in sustainability work. By constructing new spaces and ways for people of varying backgrounds to connect, often over food and libation, she works to “illuminate mindfulness regarding our personal, spiritual, and professional interconnectedness to the environment.”

"I am a working to cultivate the ‘edge,’ a permaculture concept that speaks to the new fertility that thrives where two systems meet."
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Ashara describes herself as a catalyst, a cultural worker, and an artivist committed to social justice. She makes connections by creating and cultivating opportunities for individuals and organizations to strategically collaborate. These connections span the globe - from co-founding The GrowHaus, an interactive indoor farm and marketplace in Denver, CO, to being the project manager of the BoldFood Professional Fellowship for international urban growers, food security organizers, and policymakers in the U.S. and East Africa in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of State’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Ashara sees herself as an ecologist and her work as anthropology, remembering and re-tooling the lessons of our Ancestors for sustainable living in the present.

"Culture is the cure."

This new Bay Area resident joined forces with G4GMobile.com and other Green For All Fellows to co-found and co-curate The Grow Sessions, a multi-genre installation utilizing participatory listening and performance as community healing mechanism, at Oakland’s monthly Art Murmur. Deemed a “Cultural Jedi” by her peers, she is also the founding producer of venues such as PodSlam.org, the Denver Pan African Film Festival, and the “Cafe Nuba” spoken-word & music showcase. Her latest multi-media offering CanIEatIt.info, launching in Spring 2012, will share intergenerational women’s stories of food and family from the rainforest to the corner store.

"I have an art practice; it is that of the curator."

Drawing on the role of a curator, in a nutshell, Ashara describes her niche as acquiring, displaying and promoting the work of social and cultural activists while building community. As the entrepreneur-owner of BluBlak Media Consulting, she has held a number of roles in the social justice space – from on-air host at FreeSpeechTV to development coordinator to program officer to executive director. “I believe in biodiversity and ceremony in all aspects of my being and I seek to find ways to present all those possible opportunities to my communities of practice as well as those just beginning their journey.”

Want to learn more? Follow Ashara Ekundayo on Twitter.

Ashara Ekundayo — Fellow, Class 3

Ashara Ekundayo is a cultural worker, a food justice activist, a journalist, and an entrepreneur who serves in community as a strategic connector, working with her clients to increase capacity and visibility while building sustainable partnerships.


Next Week: Green For All Reports From Durban

Authors: Green For All Next week, the world gathers in South Africa to discuss the greatest threat it faces: climate change.

The 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17, for short) will be meeting in Durban with the goal of setting standards that can reel in carbon emissions and, ideally, halt global warming. And Green For All will be there.

Rosa Gonzalez from our staff and Green For All Fellow Jameelah Muhammad will be reporting back from the conference as they attend workshops, talk to international activists and host a discussion. We can't conquer this problem by ourselves. We hope that, by being on the ground in South Africa, we can contribute to the conversation and, more importantly, bring back best practices from around the world. We also hope to learn more about South Africa's green economy - and how they work to lift people out of poverty. Stay tuned! Early next week, we'll have more to report - including our first dispatches from Rosa and Jameelah. Earth Horizon

How Can We Create 1.5 Million Jobs And Reduce Pollution? Recycling.

Authors: Ananda Lee Tan, Global Alliance Incinerator Alternatives

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A new report called More Jobs, Less Pollution was released this week, showing that a national 75% recycling rate would create nearly 1.5 million new jobs while reducing an amount of climate pollution equal to shutting down 72 coal-fired power plants, or taking 50 million cars off the road. This reportdescribes the benefits of building a resource recovery economy that creates community jobs with family-supporting wages.

Residents and allies march to Detroit's incinerator in favor of recycling over incineration

These are jobs we desperately need, and the money to invest in them could easily be redirected from subsidies that are currently being wasted on polluting incinerators and landfills. Simply put, we need to reinvest in recycling, composting, reuse, and strategies that move us on the path toward zero waste.

We need to demand that public money supports the future we want to see. Not only does recycling offer a cleaner, safer option for waste than landfilling or incineration, it also takes a lot less energy to manufacture products from recycled material than from newly extracted, material. Reaching a nationwide 75% recycling rate would create healthier communities too. Cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland have shown this is achievable, and the state of California has set a statewide recycling goal of 75% by 2020.

Burning waste kills jobs, burdens public health and ruins local economies. Cities like Harrisburg, PA and Detroit, MI are going broke because incinerators are risky investments. Not only are they the most expensive way to make energy – incinerators are the most expensive way to handle waste. A new GAIA report - Burning Public Money for Dirty Energy- exposes the tax breaks and public money handed this industry. These subsidies are intended for clean, renewable energy, not a technology that creates more climate and mercury pollution per unit of energy than coal-fired power plants.

And now Congress is poised to make a bad situation worse by gutting the Clean Air Act for some incinerators and cement kilns (HR 2250, HR 2681). Earth Justice estimates the resulting pollution would cause up to 9,000 deaths every year. Congress is also considering a bill (HR 66) to create new tax exemptions for “waste-to-energy” incinerators.

Recycling and composting are necessary steps to Zero Waste and Climate Justice. We simply need to stop subsidizing polluters, and get busy turning waste into work!


Letting My Light Shine

Authors: Kandyce Perry, College Ambassador, Spelman College My name is Kandyce Perry and I am a junior Environmental Science major at Spelman College. Serving as a Green for All College Ambassador has been a privilege - and an experience that has taught me a lot. I am very passionate about environmental responsibility. It’s something that I talk about with my friends all the time.The ambassadorship gives me the opportunity to expand that dialogue to those I would not normally have had a chance to converse with. Most people are not as environmentally responsible as they could be largely because they simply aren’t aware of how their daily actions affect the world in a broader context. When people are aware - and are willing to change their behavior - they will consider the impact of their actions. Through the workshops that my campus partner and I have hosted, we have learned to break down the topics of global warming, environmentalism, and sustainability. We've developed ways to share information with people so they understand, relate to it, and effectively spread the word to others. Our workshops are not meant to imply ignorance, but to shed new light to environmental topics, challenge societal norms, and motivate people to work for change. Seeing people’s faces when the light switch turns on and they truly get why sustainability makes sense is rewarding. My goal is to spark a light within as many people as I can so they become more environmentally conscious - and truly get how crucial sustainability is. Seeing that spark reminds me that it only takes one person to make a difference. We must work to change our future today, and Green For All gives me the opportunity to do that.

Kandyce Perry — Spelman College

Kandyce Christine Perry is a third year Environmental Science major at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA hailing from the west side of Detroit, MI. She is interested in environmental topics that include but are not limited to the following areas: green technology, renewable energy, sustainability, recycling, water conservation, and green jobs.

Local Food, Solving Local Problems

Authors: Hakim Cunningham, Green For All Fellow

Since our earliest time on this planet, people have hunted, gathered and farmed land to ensure our survival. Agriculture - and urban agriculture - is nothing new; it has just taken a while for it to catch on in the United States. 

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Let's Make One Small Change - And Bring Fresh Food To Millions

Authors: Shamar Bibbins

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Did you know that a simple, easily-fixed issue forces low-income people to buy unhealthy food instead of fresh fruits and vegetables?

Imagine this scenario: A farmers market opens in a rural community that has been a food desert for nearly 20 years. The community is thrilled to finally have access to fresh and healthy foods - including a mother that loves the idea that she can provide quality produce to her small children.

Her excitement quickly fades when she realizes that the market does not accept benefits she receives through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She frequents the market when possible; however, she’s often forced to return to the nearby gas station mini-mart for her grocery needs.

This is a real situation for families across America. Many of the nearly 45 million Americans participating in the SNAP program are unable to use their benefits at many healthy fresh retailers such as farmers markets, farmstands, and roadside stands.

Belmont Farmer's Market

Belmont Farmer's Market, taken by Marc Smith

Similar to a credit or debit card, SNAP benefits are processed electronically, using an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machine. The USDA currently offers free EBT machines to all retailers certified to accept SNAP benefits – but only those that have a telephone or electronic lines. Farmers markets, farmstands, or other healthy food retailers without telephone and electricity are required to purchase or rent their own equipment.Some states have raised funds to provide EBT machines to their farmers markets, and the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program provides grants to individual markets to get them; however, funds do not nearly come close to the demand.

Let's change that. The USDA can make a common sense, low-cost administrative change that would provide EBT machines free of charge to healthy fresh food retailers. This change would benefit farmers that are losing out on important sales and allow low-income customers to have access to healthier, more nutritious food options.

No one should be forced to buy unhealthy food for their family because the government makes it impossible to buy anything better.

Can you help us make this change?

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Take Action: Contact Secretary Vilsack

Use the tool below to contact U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and ask him to provide wireless electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines free of charge to healthy fresh food retailers that do not have electricity or telephone lines.

Take action now!


Mercury and Air Toxics: "The Promise of the Green Economy"

Authors: Green For All

In an essay at the Huffington Post, Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins explains why today's EPA announcement is so important for our communities - and our economy.

 

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Keep It Fresh - and Win Some Prizes!

Authors: Seema Rupani

Keep it Fresh is a campaign by and for young people from across the country. We recognize the problems facing our neighborhoods, the power of hip-hop to be a force for positive change in our communities, and our potential to create real solutions right now.

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A victory - and a step in the right direction

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

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The Keystone pipeline – a project that would have shunted toxic tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast – has been deferred.

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From the Flickr account of Lauri Gorham.

It’s breathtaking. Stunning. It’s absolutely the right thing to do, of course, to further assess the potential damage the pipeline could do - to the land it runs across if the oil were to spill; to the planet, once its burned. But somehow I don’t think we expected this to happen.

It was your leadership that got this done. It was the leadership of the thousands who protested last weekend in Washington, of the hundreds who went to jail to draw attention to the cause. It was the leadership of young people and indigenous people and retirees and communities of color. It was the leadership of our allies at 350.org.

But it was also the leadership of President Barack Obama. Make no mistake: without his intervention, this outcome may not have happened. We thank him for doing the right thing - and we remind him that the fight for a cleaner environment isn’t over.

Thank you for your engagement and your commitment. It’s been a generally bleak few months. So let’s take a moment today to celebrate a substantial victory.


Who Is Ben Wreckt - And Why Is He Hating On Student Leaders?

Authors: Green For All

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Who is Ben Wreckt? He's uncovering imaginary conspiracies so you don't have to.

Loosely based on a similarly-named former television personality, Ben Wreckt is the star of Brainwash, Inc. Watch the video, below, where Wreckt explains a national conspiracy: students at historically black colleges and universities taking leadership roles in the fight for the green economy and green campuses.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/KNAZu3PeWW4

Over the summer, dozens of young leaders joined Green For All’s College Ambassador program and got busy on their campuses, organizing for sustainability. Wreckt doesn't like that.

Let people know how student leaders are being portrayed on Brainwash, Inc. Share the video with the tools below.

On Twitter (use #benwreckt):

On Facebook: null


Senate Leadership Moves One Step Closer to Putting America to Work

Authors: Shamar Bibbins Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee unanimously voted to move its two-year transportation reauthorization bill, Map 21, out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a full vote. In a show of bipartisanship, Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) aggressively worked with committee leaders, including Ranking Member Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Senator David Vitter (R-LA), and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) (who’s also Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee). Together, they produced a reform bill that consolidates over ninety programs into thirty, maintains current funding levels (plus the cost of inflation), saves 1.8 million jobs and creates up to an additional one million more.

Photo of a highway exchange in Oakland

From the Flickr stream of Derrick Coetzee

Chairwoman Boxer and Senator Inhofe admitted that they did not agree on everything that’s in the bill - but agreed that there's a critical need to work together to put Americans to work restoring our roads and bridges and maintaining essential programs that ensure the safety and integrity of our highway and transit systems.

Green For All has been working in coalition with national partners -including labor-advocating to Senate and House leadership for the inclusion of a Construction Careers Demonstration Program into the next transportation reauthorization bill. At today’s hearing, Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) offered an amendment urging the committee to strongly consider the pilot program which helps disadvantaged and marginalized workers gain valuable construction training and employment in the transportation sector. The program encourages hiring of local workers so that communities are able to retain investment dollars, builds more opportunities for quality apprenticeship training, and funds the training needed to get new workers ready for long-term jobs and careers. Due to the unique nature of today’s hearing, there was no vote taken on the amendment, but Chairwoman Boxer indicated her initial support. While a step in the right direction, today’s hearing was the beginning of a long process. There is a $12 billion financing gap that must be raised to fund the bill. In addition, three other committees - Senate Banking, Commerce and Finance – also have jurisdiction over the bill and must consider it separately. It’s likely that each committee will have hearings on their respective pieces before the end of the year; the current transportation plan expires March 31, 2012. Infrastructure is the most basic element of a strong economy, and every Senator that spoke today acknowledged this. Many seemed frustrated by the fragile state of our roads, bridges and highways, offering that we can - and must - do better. Today was evidence that our leaders can put aside their differences and work to boost the economy and create jobs.Let’s hope they do the right thing - and do it quickly.

"The Story of Broke": A New Video - At Exactly The Right Time

Authors: Rosa Gonzalez

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Does the economic crisis mean our country is broke? Too broke to take care of its citizens?

The makers of The Story of Stuff released a new video today, with a simple answer: No. But our economic system is broken.

We agree. After all, how can we be broke if our tax dollars still pay for billions in subsidies to big oil companies and huge industrial agriculture?

The Story of Broke: Why There’s Still Plenty of Money to Build a Better Future explains in an easy-to-understand way why we might think that. Having us think the country is broke makes it easier to ensure that the money we do have keeps going to the people who already get it.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/G49q6uPcwY8?rel=0

There's a better way. Green For All and our community partners across the country believe that building a better future means investing in sustainable infrastructure so that our cities have access to fresh water, healthy food, good public transportation and clean air. It also means supporting the development of local economies that communities have more control over their own resources and less vulnerable to economic crisis. All of this means pushing for new economic priorities in this country that put Main Street ahead of Wall Street.

“The Story of Broke” helps us understand how we can begin to make that shift. Share this video with your friends. It's time we invest in a healthy future for all - and create thousands of jobs in the process!


Next in the Keystone Fight: Maintaining Momentum

Authors: Shamar Bibbins On Sunday, I joined thousands of passionate and energized activists outside the White House in a massive rally against the Keystone Pipeline XL. Our partners at 350.org organized a powerful and bold event in which about 10,000 people cheered, chanted and eventually encircled the White House with several rings of people.

Keystone XL protest

The goal: send a strong, united message to President Obama that we do not - and will not - support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline extension. Goal accomplished. Now the challenge: keeping this momentum. President Obama is expected to make a decision soon - most likely before the end of the year - on whether he will grant a permit for the pipeline. As that decision moment approaches, the oil industry is doing what it does well: using its financial strength to reinforce the false choice that jobs and the environment cannot live in tandem. Claims that proteting the planet harms job creation are unfounded. We promote good jobs, safe jobs, clean jobs. The Keystone Pipeline XL doesn’t create long-term, quality jobs – and what it brings is not worth it. In life, one of Sunday’s speakers noted, there are moments when you need to draw a line. And this is one of those moments. To keep the momentum, we need your involvement. Make your voice heard. Stay connected to 350.org’s campaign. Follow us on Twitter for updates. Talk to your friends and family about the pipeline’s impact. We know that we can protect the environment, preserve public health and create jobs. We don’t need to sacrifice that goal to make oil companies more money. Let’s be leaders in advocating for the bigger picture.

This Is Our Time To Shine

Authors: Courtney Strickland, College Ambassador, Elizabeth City State University My name is Courtney Strickland and I am currently a junior majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Biology and Chemistry at Elizabeth City State University. I am also the president and founder of ECSU’s Green Council, Director of Sustainability for CRC, and on the Executive Board for other clubs and organizations. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of becoming a Green For All College Ambassador for ECSU. I am super excited about it for one main reason: it’s an opportunity for me to be a voice for my fellow students. My experience as a Green For All College Ambassador has given me a whole new outlook on the world today. During the last few months, my campus partner Ryan Lawrence and I have been creating new initiatives and forums to teach students about the needs and the benefits of sustainability. Getting the campus involved and motivated isn’t easy! What needs to be done? Who do we talk to first? How do we get Greek Lettered fraternities and sororities involved? Do we need to have refreshments to get students to come out to our event? These type of questions run through my mind as I work to increase environmental awareness on our campus. I understand that I have the power to instill information on how to change the world and how to be a better person to the world, which makes me feel like I am on top of the world! Ryan and I have completed a workshop and also done some community outreach. We were amazed that Elizabeth City is so small and everyone is stuck in their ways. We have been through the mud, over a bridge and through the woods to inform students, faculty and the community on how to live a sustainable life - and I would not have it any other way. This is our time: our time to shine, our time to reach out and grab this opportunity. The only question is: do we have the guts to take it?

Courtney Strickland — Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Courtney Strickland is a junior marine biology major with a minor in Chemistry at Elizabeth City State University. She is also the founder and president of ECSU's Green Council and Director of Sustainability for CRC. She hopes to reach those that aren't fully aware of their potential. Going green just isn't a saying for her it's a life style and she plan to keep it that way! Through her dedication and motivation she hopes to reach others.

What's Next For Occupy? Here's What You Said.

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

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Yesterday, Green For All joined Occupy Oakland in the general strike. Our staff marched alongside others fighting for a more fair economy. It was a deeply inspiring scene: thousands of people who were willing to say, "we deserve better."

Nonetheless, a thought nagged at us. Yesterday was powerful. But what comes next?

From the Flickr of Brian Sims

I asked people on Twitter to share with us what they saw as the next step in the #Occupy movement, to predict where it could - or should - go. We got a number of interesting, thoughtful responses that I wanted to share.

View the story "What's next for #Occupy" on Storify]

Creating Jobs Shouldn't Be A Short-Term Proposal

Authors: philip

In a new piece at the Huffington Post, Phaedra argues that it's easy to create bad jobs that hurt our environment -- but that doesn't mean we should.

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Our last chance to put people to work?

Authors: Philip Bump

Read Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins' piece at The Hill about why this is the moment to invest in infrastructure.

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What the Keystone XL Choice Means

Authors: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate "A few bucks here and there isn't going to help us for a lifetime, let alone the next generation. If it's going to hurt us in the long run, we don't need to do it." This is the voice of James Foster, a 55-year-old electrician and union member who came to a rally in Washington several weeks ago. The rally, led by the Sierra Club (who were the first to share James’ quote) and other friends and allies in the environmental community, gathered scores of people in opposition to the construction of the planned Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project (a.k.a Keystone Pipeline XL). James heard that the rally was a protest for jobs. Like many of his colleagues that were encouraged to attend a public hearing held by the State Department to support the pipeline, he didn’t know a lot about the issue. When he learned more, James Foster decided that work that destroys the environment isn't worth it. He’s right. We have a clear choice before us. We can protect our ecosystem, water sources and public health, or we can continue with business as usual – creating dirty, dangerous jobs that put our communities, workers and environment at risk. DC Keystone Protest

PHOTO: Protests organized by 350.org

Actually, the person who has to make the choice is President Obama - and soon. He is charged with making the final decision on whether or not oil industry giant TransCanada can extend the pipeline, which currently runs from Steele City, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma. An extension would transport tar sands oil along a route from Alberta, Canada to Texas, covering nearly 2,000 miles and passing through six states to a delivery point in the Gulf Coast. The proposed plan has come under vehement attack by not only the environmental community, but also labor organizations and Members of Congress. Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman has been increasingly vocal about his desire to develop an alternative route that would not cross Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer, in an attempt to protect the water supply for the state’s farmers and ranchers. The existing section, after all, has already seen repeated spills.

>We’re not talking about a regular fossil fuel. Tar sands are a viscous form of petroleum that can be mined and turned into a form of crude oil. They are found in extremely large quantities in Canada and Venezuela. Extracting tar sands oil is a hugely energy intensive process that requires vast amounts of water, natural gas, chemical agents, and heavy machinery and equipment. National Geographic described the Alberta Tar Sands as the most environmentally destructive project on the planet. Canadian tar sands oil is the number one source of foreign oil imported into the United States and emits three times the carbon pollution compared to conventional oil. There is strong evidence that tar sands development is poisoning First Nations communities in Canada who are on the frontlines of extraction. Over the last 40 years, open pit tarring has weakened the water quality and quantity of these indigenous communities. Increasingly, these communities are experiencing high rates of rare and aggressive cancers, while their traditional ways of life of relying on the water and land are under assault. There are two arguments made in support of extending the pipeline: national security and jobs. The argument that vastly increasing carbon dioxide pollution and therefore the impacts of climate change somehow helps our national security fails to consider the long-term perspective. Meanwhile, the job numbers cited by TransCanda have been overstated, exceeding State Department estimates by a factor of 19 - and it is important to note that the majority of the jobs created will be temporary, not permanent. James Foster couldn’t reconcile the valid and urgent need for more jobs with the long-term detriment that the pipeline could cause. With any luck, the President won’t be able to either.

The Promise of America: Your Voice Will Be Heard

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

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The noble promise of America is simple: people should govern themselves. We elect a peer to take our voice to Washington. Consensus is developed; the people consent to the collective decision. Elegant. Equal.

This, of course, is not how it works. Mr. Smith goes to Washington; Mr. Potter comes back.

Capitol

PHOTO: US Capitol, from the Flickr of Vince Alongi

When we talk about what’s wrong in our country, most Americans say the same thing: no group should concentrate its own power and wealth at the expense of the rest of the country. We worry that we’ve become powerless. Unheard. Bottled.

Like growing pressure in a sealed pipe, our voices leak out of cracks: the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street. The Tea Party railed against Washington. The occupiers rail against Wall Street.

I work in the environmental movement. In our work, we try to stem the increasingly dire impacts of pollution and on our climate by putting people to work in green jobs. We have an opponent, too: big oil and fossil fuel companies.

What we’re learning is that it’s all the same group. The politicians in Washington and the bankers and the big oil interests are all the same pool of people – preserving power and wealth, moving back and forth, switching staff, switching jobs. The fight for job creation, against bailing out banks, against the Keystone pipeline, for debt relief: it’s all the same fight. The 99% against the 1% – or, rather, the 90% against the 1% and the 9% who work for them.

We are in an incredible moment in which that can change. Seeing democracies being born in Egypt and Tunisia has reminded us of what democracy is supposed to look like. Unlike the Middle East, we don’t need a revolution. We just need to speak up. So, from both ends of the political spectrum, people are doing just that - but outside of the political system that isn’t listening. People are making themselves heard in the streets and in the community.

It’s democracy as phoenix. We’re saying: enough. Hear us. No more putting the wealthy first. No more dirty, lousy jobs. No more Citizens United and corporate personhood. We’ll shake the rafters of the powerful with our voices. We’ll pour ourselves into democracy.

The American promise is worth defending. Every American, no matter what gender, race, orientation or income level, can defend it simply: by ensuring that our voices are heard.


Why the Occupy Movement Inspires Me

Authors: Seema Rupani, Organizer

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Earlier this week, I was tear gassed by the Oakland Police.

They attempted to shut down the Occupy Oakland encampment – but several thousand people then took to the streets in solidarity, taking down the barricades, and organizing a 3000-person peaceful general assembly. We showed the city and the rest of the country that we are not giving up this fight. Americans are awake, and we're not going back to sleep.

Occupy Wall Street Oakland

PHOTO: Occupy Wall Street Oakland by SWARM GALLERY OAKLAND, on Flickr

We are tired of severe economic inequality that has resulted in soaring rates of poverty, joblessness, and homelessness. We are fed up with poor healthcare, cuts to education, and the fact that us young people are graduating off a cliff. We are no longer putting up with environmental injustices that have allowed polluting factories and liquor stores to line our communities, causing asthma and diabetes for black and brown kids, further hindering our ability to get ahead.

We realize that in many ways greed and corruption have hindered our ability to be human with each other. And people across the country are making it clear that we are not going to allow ourselves to be divided any longer.

The current economy is depriving us of what we need to live quality lives: clean air, fresh water, healthy food, shelter, education and good jobs. This has been a deep reality for communities of color and low-income communities for far too long, although more and more Americans have been feeling it since the recession.

Occupy Wall Street is a symbol of this frustration, but what’s exciting about this movement is that it’s undefined – and in that, it holds boundless potential.

It’s not endorsing candidates for the upcoming elections or making specific demands to be met within the next month. It’s not limited by the agenda of a particular organization. Instead, it’s opening up a door to re-imagine what real change can look like in this country – it has shifted consciousness about the severity of our crises, and it's a chance to really shift power in this country—but only if get involved.

This growing movement is made up of people of all ages, colors, genders, classes, ideologies, recognizing that we need to drastically change our way of being together on this planet.

As we are tempted to place labels on this movement, analyze its limits, or feel the rush to make demands, let’s take a step back and open our minds. Our biggest barrier to real change is often our own cynicism and disbelief in real change, so we settle for less, we come back home, we think our current system is inevitable. But this time around, we have a lot on our side.

We are the vast majority, we’re acting at the right moment near the brink of economic and ecological collapse, and we have the support of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, calling for a new way of governing, a new economics guided by values that put people and the planet first.

If we want things to change, we must seize this moment. Whether joining a march, fighting back against police repression, moving our money to local banks, forming neighborhood committees, or planting urban gardens, everyone has a role to play.

We are the 99%!


The 2011 Coaching Class

The 2011 Coaching Class

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Resistance is Fertile: The Science Behind Climate Change

Authors: Mark Welsch, Fellow Candidate, Class 5 I was honored to spend seven hours with Dr. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen is one of the world's best-known and respected researchers on the long established scientific facts of global warming and climate change. I arranged for him to meet with Nebraska State Senators Ken Haar and Heath Mello, Omaha's Mayor Jim Suttle, and other important players in Nebraska politics and electricity production. They were impressed with the clarity of his message: If humans do not stop burning all fossil fuels by the year 2030, global warming will cascade out of control and cause catastrophic human and natural disasters in the United States and around the world. Unfortunately, the world's poor will be the ones who will suffer the most from these changes. In a recent paper, Dr. Hansen outlined what governments need to do to stabilize climate, fulfilling their obligation to young people and future generations. Dr. James Hansen interviewed by the local TV station

PHOTO: Dr. Hansen interviewed by the local TV station

Dr. Hansen's message reenergized my work to reduce Nebraska's dependence on coal and debunk the myth that climate change is not real. We must stop increasing, and start to reduce, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by 2030. If we don't reduce the amount of CO2 back to, or under, 350 parts per million (PPM) the remaining glaciers, including the ice sheet on Greenland, will melt and disappear into the oceans, causing them to rise 20+ feet in this century and over 200 feet in the future centuries. Some rivers will dry up and others will have massive floods very often. CO2 is at 392PPM and rising about 2PPM every year. Before the Industrial Age started burning huge amounts of millions-of-years-old fossil fuels, the Earth's atmosphere had around 270PPM. If we don't stop CO2 emissions, the only way to stop the Earth from heating up after 2030 would be through costly bioengineering processes that have yet to be developed. To learn more about the effects of climate change on sea levels and Antarctica ice sheets, I recommend the documentary Secrets Beneath The Ice.

Fellow candidate Mark Welsch (L), Tim Rinne (C) and Dr. James Hansen (R)

PHOTO: Fellow candidate Mark Welsch (L), Tim Rinne (C) and Dr. James Hansen (R)

Local Action is Most Important Right Now

We all need to work together to keep this planet cool enough to avoid massive deaths of people and extinctions of 20 - 40% of everything alive today. This summer, many areas in the US experienced floods, droughts, massive fires and dust storms that were all made worse because of global warming. Climate change will only get worse if we don't stand up and take action quickly to stop putting more CO2 into the air. Local action is most important right now. You can make a difference. Every state will need to change their laws to force power companies to reduce the amount of CO2 they put into the air. I urge you to utilize the resources are available at http://www.realclimate.org for beginners and experts alike. Please join me. Resistance is Fertile!

Mark Welsch — Omaha, NE

Mark Welsch was raised on a farm in southeastern Nebraska where he learned about environmental and economic problems first hand. His father was politically aware and active, teaching him the importance of caring and working for things that he cares about. In the past six years Mark has played a key part in pushing the Omaha City Council and Mayor and the state's Senators and Governor to pass laws that clean the indoor working environment by making almost all workplaces 100% smoke-free. Read Mark's full profile »

Congratulations to Troy Swanson, our #CleanWaterAct Twitter contest winner!

Authors: Green For All

PHOTO: Mississippi River

Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has helped to keep our water cleaner, safer and more beautiful. In honor of the Act's 39th anniversary, Green For All held a Twitter contest to see whose tweet about a favorite body of water would get the most retweets.

And congratulations to Troy (@T_Swanson) whose tweet about his favorite, the Mississippi River, was retweeted the most! The Clean Water Act has been a key part in ensuring that the Mississippi is clean and safe as it flows from its source in Minnesota, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. (To see some of the ways the Clean Water Act has helped the river—and what else needs to be done—see this document.) And it has certainly helped to protect the other bodies of water that you have mentioned: Big Bear Lake, Hawk's Channel (Florida Keys), Cattaraugus Creek, Lake Huron, and many others. Once again, congratulations, Troy! Here's a map of the Mississippi river, from top to bottom:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=47%C2%B014%E2%80%B223%E2%80%B3N+95%C2%B012%E2%80%B227%E2%80%B3W&daddr=29%C2%B009%E2%80%B204%E2%80%B3N+89%C2%B015%E2%80%B212%E2%80%B3W&hl=en&geocode=&aq=&sll=30.982319,-90.488892&sspn=4.002498,6.47644&vpsrc=6&mra=ls&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=40.044438,-90.439453&spn=21.816197,49.833984&z=4&output=embed


Communities, contractors, workers and unions don't wait for federal action to create jobs.

Authors: Julie Roberts, Director of State and Local Initiatives There has been a lot of talk lately about how hard it is for the green economy to grow when the congressional efforts that would "even the playing field" between the dirty old economy and the growing green economy have been blocked. While their failure to act is frustrating, many communities are not waiting around, and have figured out other ways to grow demand for green products and services, and grow businesses. Since they are creating the work, the smartest initiatives have leveraged partnerships with contractors to get trained workers from their communities to work. Green For All is excited about one of the projects which does just that, documented by Green For All fellow, Clarke Gocker of PUSH Buffalo. After a careful process of building relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, they have built a network with 9 contractors who have signed a high-roads agreement committing them to hire targeted workers and pay fair wages. As a result, community partners will be creating leads for these contractors and helping to grow their home improvement business. We think it's a good model, and if you're interested in building a high road contractor network to drive demand in your community, putting folks to work, we highly recommend taking a look at Clark's final project for the fellowship.

Clarke Gocker — Buffalo, NY

Clarke Gocker is a native of Rochester, NY. He has spent most of his adult life acquiring the tools of a critical sociological perspective at universities in Western New York and Canada. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in sociology from the University at Buffalo while also working full-time as a project manager and workforce organizer at PUSH Buffalo, a grassroots anti-poverty, jobs and housing justice organization. Read Clarke's full profile »

What's next for the Green Economy?

Authors: Rosa González, Director of Education and Outreach

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This was the leading question at the GreenBuild conference earlier this month in Toronto, organized by the Center for American Progress and the Blue Green Alliance. I spoke on a panel titled "Building Power on the Ground," and it was clear to me—and, hopefully, others—that "what's next" is the need to build power, from the grassroots up.

Listening to the keynote addresses and the other panelists at the Green Jobs Summit, I was struck by a contradiction. There is a stark contrast between the current political landscape (and the negative press affecting the future of the green economy) and the incredible successes of the green economy developing in the US. Even more so in Canada, where public investment in infrastructure is attacked less. The tone of the conference was thus a curious mix of foreboding and celebration.

Practitioner after practitioner shared success stories of putting people back to work in exciting new fields that improve the quality of life for current residents and secure resources for future generations. Fields like green construction and energy efficiency that create new economic opportunities for businesses, save families millions on their energy bills collectively, and significantly reduce the amount of carbon we emit into the atmosphere.

It was so strange to hear these causes for celebration juxtaposed with fears regarding the future of the green economy. How can these efforts be so heavily under attack in the media and in Washington, D.C., especially at a time when a) everyone is in favor of job creation, b) climate change-related devastating weather events are on the rise in this country, c) the majority of voters both believe in climate change and want solutions to it, and d) the green economy bears some of the fastest growing and most innovative new industries responding to the challenges of our time?

How do we ensure that these efforts to create jobs building sustainable and healthy communities not be undermined by a handful of oppositional politicians? The answer lies in building power from the ground up. Sustainable development is something that happens at the grassroots and must be supported and sustained by the grass-tops. This is why Green For All is dedicated to investing in local leaders from low-income communities. This is why we build the capacity of women and minority-owned small green businesses, why we partner with local practitioners to help replicate what works. And this is why I was happy to be among the 23,000 people at GreenBuild who are working to build real solutions to joblessness and climate change.

What's next for the green economy is, in some ways, obvious—it's going to continue to grow and thrive. The question may not be what's next. The question may be: how do we grow it faster?


The Clean Water Act is 39€“ and needs your help more than ever

Authors: Green For All

In 1969, a river caught fire.

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We are the 99%

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Chief Executive Officer

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Being part of the 99% isn't about dominance – it's about universality.

The struggling economy is impacting everyone. Well, almost everyone. Americans on the whole aren't getting ahead; they're falling further behind every year. Nearly every American is worried about paying his bills or keeping her job. The terrible economy of 2008 has become the still-horrible economy of 2011.

We've worked and waited for change, for the system to improve, for the reasons the economy got broken to be fixed.

America's done waiting for change. Frustrated, furious - people took to the streets.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Boise – they're done waiting for change. Now, they're demanding it.

Washington isn't making our economy better. Politicians aren't. Oil and gas companies aren't. Wall Street isn't. They aren't making the economy better because the economy doesn't impact them. The Senators who voted against the jobs bill aren't unemployed or struggling to pay their bills. The heads of ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs aren't either. And they aren't holding each other accountable.

The protests throughout the country are.

Loud, peaceful protest is making America pay attention to the discrepancies and weak spots in our economy. It's something we've been saying pointedly and politely for nearly five years. But it's something that needs to be said more loudly.

To our supporters: join the conversation today. Bring your voice and your issues to your local Occupy assemblies. Go. March. Make signs. Protest. Stand up for what you believe in.

Clean air, fresh water, healthy food, and good jobs aren't just going to happen. The economy isn't going to fix itself. Say so quietly is no longer saying it loud enough.

To the people Occupying America - young and old; black, brown and white: We add our voice to your calls for change.


Babylon, NY: Creating Green Jobs through PACE

Authors: Daniel Sanchez, Green For All Sammy Chu, a member of Green for All's 2009 - 2011 Retrofit America's Cities Working Group, is a local leader in creating green jobs. With Sammy as director, Long Island Green Homes in Babylon, NY, uses Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to drive demand for home energy upgrades. That program supports 50 full-time green jobs making homes more comfortable and saving money for homeowners. Reporter Stephen Lacey, of ClimateProgress.org, caught up with Sammy at the Greenbuild Conference in Toronto. What follows are Sammy and Stephen's thoughts on green jobs, energy efficiency, and the future of PACE.
Babylon Steps Up the PACE of Green Jobs: "For Energy Reduction, Carbon Savings, and Green Jobs" by Stephen Lacey Sammy Chu knows that energy efficiency creates local jobs. He's seen it for himself. As director of Long Island Green Homes, a local financing program based around Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Chu has seen the creation of dozens of new contractor positions that have helped his home town of Babylon, New York, invest millions of dollars in efficiency retrofits. Since the program started in 2008, Chu says it has brought $1.89 in value for every $1.00 invested through savings on energy bills — helping support hundreds of efficiency retrofits and support 50 full-time jobs. "These are local jobs that can't be outsourced," Chu explains in an interview at the Greenbuild Conference in Toronto. "And the value is felt right here, for both the customers and the contractors." The town's program was so successful, one contractor moved over to Babylon from the west coast to set up shop. And in 20 months, his outfit grew from one person to 27 employees.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/MA6mWYQIhEM?rel=0

Read the full article on thinkprogress.org
Long Island Green Homes has been able to leverage that demand to create career track job opportunities to workers that face barriers to employment by partnering with training programs to provide qualified workers to contractors as they ramp up their operations.
If that's not the most important story of all this, I don't know what is. We have a contractor that is adding employees, creating jobs, we have homeowners who are saving energy, and we are reducing carbon in our community, serving an extremely important public purpose for all of our constituents. We've been doing it, we continue to do it in Babylon…. And to the extent that Congress can validate what we've been doing and make this possible in other places, it would be terrific. But we're going to keep doing what we're doing because we know it's the right thing. And it's been very, very successful for job creation, for energy savings, and for carbon reduction. - Sammy Chu, Director, Long Island Green Homes
Under PACE programs, municipalities issue bonds to help pay for energy efficiency or renewable energy retrofits. The home or business owner pays the loan back through an increase in property taxes. However, the Babylon program operates a bit differently, with the fee assessed through the city's solid-waste program. (Very accurately, the city expanded the definition of "waste" to include energy waste.) Creating 50 jobs might not sound like much. But when you consider that PACE programs create about $10 million in gross economic output and 60 jobs for every $4 million spent in a locality, that adds up across the country. If we performed efficiency retrofits on only 1 percent of the homes around the U.S., hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created — all with no upfront cost to homeowners. Babylon has been a major success story in the residential PACE sector at a time when other municipalities have struggled in the last year. But those towns and cities haven't struggled because of poor program design. They've struggled because of the stranglehold that the nation's top mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have put on PACE. Last year, these lenders issued new restrictions on mortgages to homeowners participating in PACE programs. Under PACE, if a homeowner defaulted, the municipal loan would get paid back before the mortgage. That riled Fannie and Freddie, which argued that they should get paid back first. So, the Federal Housing Finance Agency instructed them to enforce very strict guidelines on homeowners receiving PACE loans, forcing many communities to halt their programs. That put a virtual freeze on this important economic driver. But Babylon has pushed on. Sammy hopes that the city's success will inspire other city officials and national political leaders to help re-ignite PACE. "If we all got up and actually spoke with one voice, they'd have to listen up. These are organizations that contributed to the financial collapse of this country, and now they're hindering new economic growth," says Sammy.

This Saturday: Cultivating Community with the Four Elements of Hip Hop!

Authors: Rosa González, Director of Education and Outreach This Saturday, in Oakland CA, Green For All Fellows will represent big for LIFE IS LIVING, a celebration of urban life through hip-hop, inter-generational health, and environmental action (Started by Marc Bamuthi Joseph through YouthSpeaks in 2005). Straight outta the garden, from Denver, CO, Green For ALL Fellow Ietef 'DJ Cavem Moetavation' Vita and eco-justice songstress/Green For All Fellow Jennifer Johns will rock the stage, along with renowned local artists Los Rakas and The Coup. Do not miss this!

http://www.youtube.com/embed/OWBURAIMxoQ?rel=0

Zakiya Harris, from the first class of Green For All Fellows will be holding it down with Grind For the Green and their solar-powered eco-edutainmemt unit. Helping to build community partnerships is Green For All Fellow and food justice activist, Ashara Ekundayo. Life Is Living is an urban arts festival that happens in cities across the country through partnerships with local grassroots organizations dedicated to community-building, arts-activism and sustainability. Check out the festival this Saturday in DeFremery Park in Oakland, CA and experience all four elements of hip-hop in action on behalf of all people's right to a healthy community. Saturday October 8th | 11am-5pm | Defremery Park/1651 Adeline St (Between 16th & 18th), Oakland CA Life is Living Festival

Give Green Jobs Training Time to Succeed

Authors: Jeremy Hays, Chief Strategist for State and Local Initiatives

Contributors: Jason Walsh

Investments don't pay off over the short term. That's the point. You're investing in a future return.

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Power Moves

Power Moves is a campaign to help young people take action and make their voice heard in the Political process. Check out the video and ‘Zine which help tell the story of what youth can do when they build power! Sign the Power Vote pledge and figure out your Power Move!


Upgrading water systems can reduce pollution – and put nearly 1.9 million people to work

Authors: Green For All   // <![CDATA[ $(document).ready(function( ) { $('div#execsummary').hide(); $('h2#summarylink').toggle( function() { $(this).next('#execsummary').slideDown('slow'); }, function() { $(this).next('#execsummary').slideUp('fast'); } ); $('#closesummary').click( function() { $(this).parent().slideUp('fast'); }); }); // ]]>
Download the Report
Want to create nearly 1.9 million American jobs and add $265 billion to the economy? Upgrade our water and wastewater infrastructure. That’s the message of a new report released today by Green For All, in partnership with American Rivers, the Economic Policy Institute and the Pacific Institute. Every year, sewage overflows dump 860 billion gallons of raw sewage into our water systems – enough to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania with waste one-inch deep. But investment in our nation’s infrastructure to handle stormwater and wastewater has lagged, falling by one-third since its 1975 peak. The report, Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs, Greening the Environment, looks at an investment of $188.4 billion in water infrastructure – the amount the Environmental Protection Agency indicates would be required to manage stormwater and preserve water quality. That investment would inject a quarter of a trillion dollars into the economy, create nearly 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs in related sectors and result in 568,000 additional jobs from increased spending.
This report estimates the economic and job creation impact of a major investment in water infrastructure in the United States. This number—$188.4 billion—is based on the level of investment necessary, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency, to manage stormwater and preserve water quality across the country. We find that an investment of $188.4 billion spread equally over the next five years would generate $265.6 billion in economic activity and create close to 1.9 million jobs. We argue that maximizing the use of green infrastructure—infrastructure that mimics natural solutions—is essential to meet the stormwater management needs of our communities while also providing a number of additional co-benefits. We provide job creation estimates for each of the 50 states and review the workforce opportunities that would result from such an investment, analyzing a representative set of occupations in industries related to water infrastructure. We find that new jobs generated by these investments could be good jobs that are broadly accessible to American workers. Water Works examines why a significant level of investment in water infrastructure and, in particular, stormwater infrastructure, is so necessary right now. It reviews evidence of a water and wastewater infrastructure in the U.S. that is outdated, overextended, and in crisis. We find that our decaying water infrastructure pollutes our waters, sickens our children, and wastes natural resources. Every year, sewer overflows contaminate U.S. waters with 860 billion gallons of untreated sewage, an amount that could fill 1.3 million Olympic- size swimming pools or cover the entire state of Pennsylvania with one inch of sewage. This sewage contains pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, as well as pharmaceuticals, synthetic hormones, and personal care products. As our water infrastructure deteriorates, we also find that investment is not keeping pace. Total public investment in water infrastructure as a share of the economy is estimated to have fallen by over one-third since peak levels of investment in 1975. As new challenges emerge and systems deteriorate further, we are seeing a growing gap between our clean water needs and annual investment. In this report, we argue that the decline in America’s water infrastructure, and its associated economic, health and environmental costs, must be reversed. To achieve this reversal will require significant new investments that ensure the highest return possible and provide a multitude of benefits to our communities. This kind of strategic approach requires not only making traditional infrastructure upgrades but also pursuing new approaches, in particular green infrastructure techniques. Although an increasing number of cities are implementing green infrastructure strategies, these opportunities have not been realized as extensively as their multiple benefits warrant. Water Works examines why now is best time in a generation to tackle our water infrastructure investment gap, for three key reasons: (1) Water infrastructure investments would create jobs now, when they are most needed; (2) The cost of financing this investment is at historic lows; and (3) The current economic climate can reduce the costs of infrastructure projects. The report also provides analysis demonstrating that investments in water and other infrastructure are one of the most efficient methods of job creation in the current economy, particularly when compared to other policy prescriptions that often claim the political center stage. Infrastructure investments create over 16 percent more jobs dollar-for-dollar than a payroll tax holiday, nearly 40 percent more jobs than an across-the-board tax cut, and over five times as many jobs as temporary business tax cuts. Water Works analyzes the quality and accessibility of jobs created by an investment in water infrastructure. We find that most of these occupations do not require high levels of formal education, but rather typically require a high school degree plus some post-secondary education or training. We argue that this labor market dynamic provides an important opportunity to counteract income inequality, by opening up job opportunities with family-supporting wages for “middle-skilled” workers, including low-income people and people of color who have struggled during the current recession. However, women and people of color are under-represented in many of these occupations, highlighting the need to couple investments in water infrastructure with an economic development strategy to build a society characterized by environmental sustainability and shared prosperity.. This “high road” approach, which we detail in the report’s conclusion, creates family-sustaining jobs, access to economic opportunities for diverse businesses and workers, and supports quality training programs that connect workers to career pathways. Finally, as cities and municipalities prepare to make these critical investments, we offer guidance in the form of three criteria to ensure a sustainable water future. We conclude that in order to have maximum impact these investments must (1) Create accessible and quality jobs; (2) Maximize environmental gain; and (3) Use financing that is stable, fair, and scalable.

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The report also notes that this is the best moment to make the investment. With the recession creating a shortfall of 11.1 million jobs (that would be otherwise be enough to keep pace with the population growth) and with 9.1% unemployment, these are jobs that are critically needed. Moreover, the cost of financing these essential upgrades is at historic lows, and the still-struggling economy means much cheaper construction costs. "Cleaning our environment and putting people to work has always been the value proposition of the green economy," said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All. "This report demonstrates that there’s a massive opportunity to ensure clean water, improve the economy, and put people – particularly low-income workers – back to work."

More Local Bang for the Public Buck

Authors: Sandra MyungJae Yu, Green For All Fellow, Class 4 For my term of service as a Green For All Fellow Candidate, I focused my work on a project we are calling the "Talent Hub" with the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF), a pool of philanthropic investments dedicated to improving the ineffective workforce development system in Detroit. The project takes a sector-based approach focusing specifically on green construction. How high is unemployment in Detroit? In the words of our Mayor's Chief of Staff, Kirk Lewis, whatever the number is, 40% is "directionally correct." And a lot of our unemployed adults are what we call "hard to employ" – they may not have completed high school, or have spotty work history, or prison records. In response, local community organizations have created really good programs that combine basic education, such as literacy, math, job readiness, resume-writing, GED prep, with technical training to prepare residents for jobs in construction, weatherization, deconstruction, and environmental remediation. Construction jobs are green jobs! Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) has had very good placement rates, which our job developer will say is due to his prowess... and also the fact that we train our workers for a "diverse portfolio of legally required certifications." In an industry where jobs are short term, a worker certified in asbestos, lead, and hazmat can find their next job a lot quicker than someone with just one certification. A worker certified in anything can find a job more easily than someone without any certifications. Unfortunately, not all single-focus training programs share this approach. There are several different job training programs in the local area, just in the "green" sector - environmental site remediation, weatherization, construction, deconstruction, lead abatement, asbestos abatement, hazardous waste removal, energy auditing. There are also a number of big, publicly subsidized development projects. For big projects whose funding comes from HUD, there is the Section 3 policy that encourages local hiring. Amazingly, there isn't much (or any) coordination among the different federal agencies that fund training (DOE, DOL, EPA) and those that fund the construction/repair/remediation/development projects for which residents are being trained (HUD, EPA, DOE). Nor is there very much effort or political will at the local government level to follow its own local hiring policies and leverage local jobs out of public expenditures. As it is, there is a weak "try your best" mandate to contractors to hire locally, and then contractors are given a list of 6-7 different training agencies to call. While Doing Development Differently in metro Detroit (D4) works on ways to strengthen the policy environment for local hiring through coalition-building and advocacy, the DRWF Talent Hub focuses on facilitating local hiring by making it easier for trained/qualified workers and contractors find each other. The Talent Hub proposes to maintain a sector-specific citywide master list of all of the trained and certified jobseekers, and serve as a single point of contact for city contractors who are looking for Detroit residents with the required skills. As the Talent Hub pilots this quarter, I am excited about the impact it will make on local hiring, income security, and ultimately, quality of life.

Sandra Yu — Detroit, MI

Sandra grew up in Southeast Michigan, then earned her SB and Masters in City Planning from MIT and taught high school for one year in Mexico before returning to the area to join Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice as the Build Up Detroit Program Manager. Her first encounter with environmental justice was in an international context, but since starting at DWEJ, she have come to understand... Read Sandra's full bio »

The Green Economy Grows in Rural America

Authors: Julie Roberts, Director of State and Local Initiatives

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Some of our readers who live in cities may wonder what the green economy looks like in rural America. The Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) has long supported organizations who are leading the way in ensuring that the promise of a green economy reaches rural and tribal America where low income communities and communities of color face some of the same issues that we're familiar with in cities.

Opportunity Link, a NWAF partner, invited Green For All and The Write Choice Network to meet their partners in Northcentral Montana, celebrate the successes of local organizations, and share tools and best practices from across the nation. While we brought information on energy efficiency, stormwater management, healthy communities and renewable energy, I feel like I learned as much as I shared.

It's interesting to see what opportunities are being developed in Montana. Opportunity Link developed a bus line connecting isolated rural communities, improving lives and creating economic opportunities for riders in so many ways. The response has been dramatic. They expected 300 riders a month, and are now serving 1500 riders monthly! Riders include commuters who are now able to reach jobs, youth who are connected to opportunity through Youthbuild programs and the colleges, and elders who are now able to make it to doctor appointments. These riders show that there is a real demand for public transportation! It was also interesting to see how this project physically connects people and communities while also spurring collaborative regional partnerships that are sure to help grow the "sustainability sector" – which is how folks in Northern Montana refer to the green economy.

Biofuel is an area that we hear a lot about when we work with rural communities who recognize both the promise of cleaner renewable fuel, and also the danger of competing with food production. Montana State University in Havre has a recognized bio-fuels research program that studies the process from ‘seed to tail pipe', and focuses on research that tests real world applications. The people I met from all over the globe who have been drawn to Havre (population about 10,000) to participate in the program were a delightful indicator of its cutting edge innovation.

The university is working on fuel for many different applications, from powering tractors, to cars, as well as trains and jets. While some are pushing for large, centralized bio-diesel refineries, many of the participants in the convening saw more promise in small distributed processing that would support isolated communities in becoming more independent. To explore this potential, farmers are producing canola which is first processed as food grade oil. Local restaurants switched from harmful transfat oils and transitioned to healthier canola. The oil is recaptured and processed as bio-diesel which is returned to farmer's tractors, providing about 10% fuel independence. This double use makes it more feasible for farmers to grow oil seed, and is seen as addressing some of the concerns about biofuel competing with food. Another way that they are looking to address the issue of competing with food is by testing growing oil seed as part of the crop rotation while the land is recuperating. Some oil seed types may contribute to the health of the soil, rather than depleting it, so it could potentially be grown on fallow land that is supported under the USDA land retirement program. This could add income for farmers without competing with food crops.

One of Montana NeighborWorks's projects sparked interest among participants. They help people buy new manufactured homes which are dramatically more energy efficient and less toxic than the approximately 23,000 remaining homes in Montana that were built prior to 1976. Even with a new mortgage, the drop from a $500 energy bill to a $75 energy bill means that families save money. There are twice as many manufactured homes in MT than the national average, and there was an interesting conversation about the potential to manufacture homes locally. By helping to set up co-ops and putting the new homes on foundations, the home owners control the land their homes are on and their homes appreciate rather than depreciating (like most manufactured homes do).

There were more projects than I can mention here, and interest in taking them further. A few other promising ideas included rebuilding a native community damaged by two ‘100 year floods' (in the span of two years) with sustainable elements, supporting local contractors to move into the sustainability sector, and using high road agreements to enable local businesses and workers to share in the prosperity created by upcoming projects. Havre partners asked Selim Sandoval and Monica Niess of the Write Choice Network to invite some of their partners from New Orleans and Appalachia to come to Havre and exchange models and experiences. I'm excited to see what comes of all the great ideas and next steps that partners identified. While the language and projects were a little different, Havre, MT is one part of rural America that is already realizing the promise of a green economy!


Doing Development Differently in Detroit

Authors: Sandra MyungJae Yu, Green For All Fellow, Class 4
Metro Detroit Area Satellite Photo (NASA)

PHOTO: Satellite photo of the Detroit Metro Area (NASA)

My organization, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, is part of a citywide coalition of community, environmental, faith-based and labor groups that have come together for "equitable economic development that creates good jobs while ensuring a healthy, safe environment for all communities." The coalition is called Doing Development Differently in metro Detroit (D4), and it really is the perfect name for what we are trying to achieve. So often, the story we're told is that there is a trade-off between jobs and environment, that we can't have both good jobs and a clean neighborhood or workplace. But we must and can find a way to ensure secure, family-sustaining jobs, clean air to breathe, and safe places to live and work. D4 pursues these goals by reaching out and supporting organizations on the ground, building relationships across different sectors of the community, and digging into the inner workings of public policy and development decisions. A member of the group noted last week that the community's voice is marginalized between the decision-making power of politicians and the moneyed influence of corporations. As long as the organizations that advocate in the name of "community" remain fractured, we don't stand a chance. We've divided ourselves and can be conquered easily. That is why it is so important that we come together and stand together for each other. It is definitely a work in progress, but as our local environmental, faith, community and labor leaders learn to understand each other and start to stand for each other, we strengthen the voice that speaks for quality of life.

Sandra Yu — Detroit, MI

Sandra grew up in Southeast Michigan, then earned her SB and Masters in City Planning from MIT and taught high school for one year in Mexico before returning to the area to join Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice as the Build Up Detroit Program Manager. Her first encounter with environmental justice was in an international context, but since starting at DWEJ, she have come to understand...

It's Common Sense - Green For ALL

Authors: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate

.blogwide { display: block; margin: 20px 0; border-top: 3px solid #d6d6d6; border-bottom: 3px solid #d6d6d6; clear: both; } .widecaption { margin: 20px 0 0; } .blogcaption { font-size: 0.85em; color: #666; margin: 0 0 20px 0; } .newsImageContainer { display: none; } .quotes { padding: 38px 0 30px 75px; color: #666; font-size: 1.2em; background: url(http://gfa.fchq.ca.s3.amazonaws.com/images/gray-quote.png) no-repeat 0 0; font-style: italic; } #top_thumb { float: right; margin-left: 15px; border-top: 3px solid #d6d6d6; border-bottom: 3px solid #d6d6d6; } The All Green Everything Party

On September 24th, Green For All hosted a celebratory "All Green Everything Party" with rapper Common at The Park nightclub in Washington D.C.

What an exciting way to end an eventful week, and an eventful year! The week leading up to the party was filled with panels, brain trusts, and receptions for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference.

The All Green Everything Party brought together supporters of the green jobs movement, Congress members, artists, and Green For All staff and fellows, to celebrate the successes of our movement – in style.

The All Green Everything PartyThe All Green Everything Party

After opening remarks by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and shout-outs to Green For All by Common, the audience watched Common perform some of his best hits, including "The Light".

The All Green Everything PartyThe All Green Everything PartyThe All Green Everything Party

Several hundred supporters mingled, danced, watched Common perform, and took photos to show visible support for the movement we're building together.

The All Green Everything PartyThe All Green Everything Party

If you joined us last Saturday, you can find your photo here: bit.ly/AllGreenPhotoAlbum.

As Emma Goldman said,

A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.


Congratulations to Tania Pulido, Winner of the 2011 Brower Youth Award!

Authors: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager GFA Fellow Tania Pulido Class 4 Fellow Tania Pulido will be recognized as one of seven Brower Youth Award winners by the Earth Island Institute next month. Tania is being honored for her leadership in community development and food security in Richmond, California. She not only has dedicated herself to improving her community through her work at Urban Tilth, but also documents community struggles and solutions through media at Youth Movement Records' program at the RYSE Center. When Tania joined Urban Tilth, she had little experience working in a garden. The organization recognized her incredible leadership ability and hired her on as the site coordinator for Berryland Garden, a neglected stretch of the Richmond Greenway. With some positive energy, a willingness to learn and a lot of hard work, Tania is now growing 18 varieties of berries, numerous herbs and even a fig tree in Berryland Garden. She has engaged teens from the community to take ownership of the garden to ensure that it will not fall into disrepair again, and uses the garden as a classroom to increase their knowledge of global environmental issues. The food grown in the garden has supplied the teens and their families with healthy and nutritious options. Tanya records the events on MLK March Day Tania uses video and community journalism as tools for social change, uplifting the voices of youth in Richmond.

Media is a very important tool for activists and organizers, because it allows them to inspire and empower people who usually don't get to hear stories about their neighborhoods and their communities in a positive light.

We congratulate Tania for being selected for this prestigious award and wish her continued success with her work in Richmond. Watch one of the videos Tania worked on with Youth Movement Records:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/WbtmUr3cbpY?rel=0

Tania Pulido — Richmond, CA

Tania went from "at risk youth" to community activist and organizer. Currently working as Program Coordinator with Urban Tilth, a Richmond non-profit manifesting a more sustainable, healthy and just food system. When she's not in the garden, Tania is working with Youth Movement Records and the RYSE Center, as a Media and Arts assistant program coordinator. Read Tania's full profile »

Green For All Mourns the Death of Wangari Maathai

Authors: Green For All

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You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.- Wangari Maathai, 1940-2011

The world lost a champion yesterday. The world broadly: the people of the world and the planet itself.

Wangari Muta Maathai was perhaps an improbable leader. Born in the highlands of Kenya, she was one of the few girls in her generation to go to school. After attending college in the United States, she returned to Kenya to teach. She soon engaged with environmental and humanitarian organizations in Nairobi.

This work introduced her to rural Kenyans who complained of worsening environmental conditions, and led to the insight that changed the world: the green belt. By planting trees, villages got access to firewood, improved soil, improved water systems. But - more importantly - it gave birth to the idea that improving the environment was good for society.

Professor Maathai led a movement that unsettled existing leaders. She stepped forward boldly with an innate sense of the strength of her own values and with little hesitation. She risked her own safety to reveal a simple truth. She was the sort of leader every activist should strive to be: humble, brilliant, dedicated, world-changing. She was an inspiration to all of us at Green For All.

In 2004, Professor Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on sustainable development and toward peace - the first African woman and first environmentalist to be so honored. Grist.org interviewed Professor Maathai shortly after; it's worth a read to give more background on the life of a remarkable woman. You can also learn more at the webpage of the Green Belt Movement, the organization she helped found in 1977 that carries on her work. We also encourage people to leave a comment on her Facebook wall, extending your appreciation.

With Wangari Maathai's death, a light has gone out. But the many fires of knowledge and innovation her life inspired have made the world a much brighter place for her having been on it.


Thank You, CBC, for Walking the Walk on Job Creation

Authors: Green For All

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Yesterday afternoon, Green For All and Black Enterprise magazine helped kick off the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation's Annual Leadership Conference with a reception at the Capitol.

CBC Walking the Walk Reception

Hosted by Lamman Rucker, star of movies and television (and the newest member of our board!), the event was called "Thank You, CBC: Walking the Walk on Job Creation." Our intent was simple: to honor the CBC for doing what so few others have - try and put people to work.

Over the summer, the CBC launched a jobs tour, hitting five cities across the country in an attempt to pair businesses looking for employees with people looking for work. It was a phenomenal success. Tens of thousands of people showed up seeking work, and while not all of them were able to find it, every opportunity to meet employers is a worthwhile one. With unemployment in the African-American community over 16%, the tour's national media coverage brought a lot of needed attention to what is happening outside of the Beltway.

CBC Walking the Walk Reception

A packed room heard from CBC Chair Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II, and applauded the presentation of awards to a number of CBC members. We appreciate those who took the time to attend - particularly the member of Congress who stopped by between critical votes on the floor of the House.

The CBC continues to be one of the strongest, most committed Caucuses in Congress. We appreciate their leadership and were happy to provide some much-deserved recognition.

CBC Walking the Walk Reception

Actor (and Green For All Board Member) Lamman Rucker meets with fans


Is cleaning the air and keeping people in college really that "radical?"

Authors: Markese Bryant, College Ambassador Program

Last week, Congressmember Mike Pompeo of Kansas introduced the "EPA Student Nondiscrimination Act," an effort to prevent funding of an EPA program he deems "radical." The program is the Environmental Justice eco-Ambassador Program, which recruits minority graduate students for a 10-week internship to work with community-based groups addressing issues like asthma and other health effects of pollution in low-income communities. Two million Americans die prematurely as a result of air pollution. One in six African-American children has asthma. But Rep. Pompeo thinks putting resources into a program that would address these problems is too intense, too wild an idea. I wonder if he'd feel the same if his children had to grow up breathing mercury, lead, and particulate matter – things known to cause brain damage, physical disorder, aggravated asthma or chronic bronchitis.

Read more

Just released: "Wheat Grass", a new green Hip Hop video from DJ CaveM, Green For All Fellow

Authors: Green For All Ietef Vita, a.k.a. DJ CaveM Moetavation, is a Green For All Fellow straight out of the garden, representing the historic Five Points district of Denver, Colorado. He describes himself as an O.G. – Organic Gardener, "teachin' HIP HOP history and how to grow greens."

"Wheat Grass"

http://www.youtube.com/embed/OWBURAIMxoQ?rel=0

DJ CaveM is the definition of HIP HOP: "Higher Inner Peace, Helping Other People." He is also an award winning activist, founder of the Brown Suga Youth Festival, "b-boy", and midwife. This vegan chef is producing more than just "beets," harvesting two albums: Deep Rokc and The Teacher's Lounge, in collaboration with other renowned hip hop artists Dead Prez, Digable Planets, KRS-One, and Bun B, to name a few.

Behind the Video: "Wheat Grass"

http://www.youtube.com/embed/DfdnuSWyQTI?rel=0

GFA Fellow Ietef Vita

DJ CaveM talks to other Fellows during the Fellowship Class 4 Training

Ietef Vita

Ietef Vita - Denver, CO

Ietef Vita is a Denver, Colorado native, hailing from the historic Five Points. He has been a long time community activist due to an early awareness of inequity in his neighborhood. At age 24, Ietef Hotep Vita is DJ CaveM Moetavation, an internationally known HipHop artist, writer/producer, deejay, HipHop Yogi, Afro-Latin percussionist and environmental and youth advocate.

Sustainability Bakersfield: Engagement Meeting

Authors: Uduak Ntuk, Green For All Fellow, Class 4 I felt a sense of anxiety and excitement leading up to our first official meeting after coordinating with dozens of groups for the past two months to make the evening happen. The Engagement Meeting was my opportunity to bring together the key stakeholders of a multi-ethnic environmental coalition based in Bakersfield in order to work towards making positive environmental change. My goal was to reach across sectors, think in an interdisciplinary way and advocate for local municipal policies that will advance an inclusive green economy. As a Green for All Fellow, my role was to introduce the organization's work and provide structure for the group. There were three focal areas I prioritized: connecting existing members of the environmental community, educating each of our constituents, and advocating for policy changes from our local government officials in Bakersfield to create good local jobs. Sustainability Bakersfield: Engagement Meeting We met at the California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) in the Dezember Leadership Center. Approximately 15 people attended the meeting, including members of the CSUB Student Government, Sierra Club, Bakersfield City Council, a Small Business Owner, a Congressional Intern, a State Senator Field Representative, a Bakersfield City School District Board Member, a Dolores Huerta Foundation representative and Bakersfield College students. After introductions, I shared a presentation on the environmental challenges facing the Bakersfield area, and held breakout sessions to flesh out ideas for solutions and allow the group to get to know each other better. The meeting produced not only an energized coalition of like-minded Bakersfield residents but also laid the ground work for our continued work together, including a listing of projects going on in the community, areas of focus for the coalition, and increased commitment levels of attendees to participate in the future. Building this coalition allowed me to reach the key groups I have been targeting through my term of service, collect actionable information, and establish credibility with key community stakeholders. Sustainability Bakersfield: Engagement Meeting I felt a great sense of relief as the evening ended. You never know how an initial meeting of a very diverse set of organizations is going to go, especially when the participants hardly know each other. The meeting generated a new list of events and items to plan for as our next steps. There was interest in setting up a "Green Drinks" Networking Event to bring in more people, an invitation to the CSUB Associated Students, Incorporated executive meeting to engage the student body as the get ready for their Green Week, and several interested volunteers for the upcoming Great American Cleanup & Green Expo. We all left with a very positive attitude and resolve that through working together we can find ways to build the coalition and select local public policy changes that will create real demand for local green jobs in Kern County.
Uduak Ntuk

Uduak Ntuk - Bakersfield, CA

Uduak Ntuk is an engineer with one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. He is a technical professional that believes the economy and the environment are not mutually exclusive. Committed to protecting the environment and promoting sustainability, he has volunteered with the non-profit Alliance for Climate Protection since 2006 where he was personally trained by Nobel Laureate Al Gore. Read Uduak's full profile »

It's Time for the CBC Annual Legislative Conference!

Authors: Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate It's that time of the year again! It's September in Washington, D.C.: Congress is back in full session after the August Recess; the 2011 fiscal year budget ends; tons of legislative priorities are at hand – including President Obama's Jobs Package; the Super Committee planning is underway; and – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference! Yes, it's that time of year again and Green For All, as in the past, has a line up of programming to support and celebrate the greenest advocates on the Hill. CBC ALC is taking place Wednesday, September 21st – Saturday, September 24th, and to kick it off, Green For All, in conjunction with Black Enterprise, is hosting a VIP reception to honor the CBC for its unwavering commitment to job creation. Unemployment rates in the African American community are staggering and unacceptable. Through the leadership of Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, the CBC decided to move beyond the rhetoric here in Washington and took the issue to the streets with its unprecedented 2011 For the People Jobs Initiative. The five-city tour stopped in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, and held job fairs and town hall events hosted by several CBC Members, MSNBC and thegrio.com. The tour provided direct opportunities for people to connect with employers and gain jobs, but also helped spark a national dialogue. As many of you probably saw on television, lines were out of door - people are hungry for work. Many of the jobs at the fairs were not focused on green jobs; however, we know that the green economy is part of the larger economy, and for the CBC's leadership and commitment to help give our communities what they need at this critical time– we felt it only right to celebrate the Caucus' efforts. Our CEO, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins will join three Member panels during the conference, including Congresswoman Karen Bass' panel, "The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the Black Middle Class"; Congressman John Conyers panel, "Jobs: A Human and Civil Right"; and Chairman Emanuel Cleaver's panel, "Fresh Air & Clean Water: The EPA's Role in Protecting Public Health", which will feature remarks by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. Party with Green For All and Common! And last, but definitely not least, we are also hosting The All Green Everything After Party with Performances by Common on Saturday, September 24th at The Park at Fourteenth. If you'll be in DC this week, we look forward to seeing you!

Pandora Thomas: Bridging the gap between communities of color and the environmental movement

Authors: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager Green For All Fellow Pandora Thomas Green For All Fellow Pandora Thomas is an environmentalist, permaculturist and greenbuilder, curriculum developer and teacher, entrepreneur and much more. Growing up with a strong understanding of her parent's love for the planet has allowed her to develop a career where she is sharing that love with a variety of different communities. This summer, Pandora not only worked with a group of international youth from mainly Iraq and Indonesia to green their world through the Global Youth Village but she also taught environmental literacy to men inside San Quentin as part of The Green Life Program and co-facilitated a social entrepreneurship workshop to college students along side Dave Hopkins. With over 25 years of combined professional experience in business, media, education and environmental sectors, Pandora and her business partner, Green For All Fellow Zakiya Harris started EarthSeed Consulting LLC to reconnect people of color to the earth and inspire community transformation. They leverage their broad networks to foster collaboration and ensure measurable success. Whether successfully delivering Toyota's first African American Green Initiative (TGI), integrating permaculture and environmental literacy into San Francisco Unified School District (ESLI), producing an original urban green living television series or training youth to produce the bay areas largest solar powered hip hop music festival, their work represents a new model of engagement at the intersection of culture, media, environmental awareness and sustainable solutions. In addition, EarthSeed manages G4G Mobile, a state-of-the-art solar-powered trailer that can be used to power public and private event such as lectures, concert and festivals. Pandora strongly believes that environmental change can only occur through culturally relevant and inspirational models linked to real life experience within the natural world context. In her work, she describes the idea of being green as a lifestyle and understands that there are many healing opportunities within the movement, not only in terms of physical health but for mental health and job creation as well. This philosophy guides her work with corporate partners, community members and students.
We are the experts of our own stories, we meet an individual or a community where they are at, but we don't stay there.- Pandora Thomas
She believes that "we are all experts of our own stories, we meet an individual or a community where they are at but we don't stay there." With The Environmental Service Learning Program her work insured that young people "are not only the next generation but the now generation." As part of her work with YouthBuild, Pandora co-wrote Shades of Green, a green building guide for constructing and rehabilitation affordable housing. Shades of Green was adopted by the Department of Labor as their official green building guide. Her activism and training also extends beyond the boundaries of the US. In 2010. Pandora also worked with the Global Women's Water Initiative in Ghana to train women from throughout West Africa to implement technologies that test and treat contaminated water in their communities.

Not only do we care about the environment but we also care about many other things we have to deal with daily.- Pandora Thomas

http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZmFXVkfZcFM?rel=0

Pandora has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between communities of color and the environmental movement. She believes that within all of our traditions exists an ethic of environmentalism that we can reconnect to and build upon. This is where culturally relevant and inspiring stories and projects are key. At Tedx Denver Ed, Pandora described the disconnect she felt as a deeply passionate college student who cared about both her community and the environment and saw them as completely integrated. Her mostly white classmates in the environmental club would ask her why African-Americans didn't care about the environment. "I knew deep in my core that that wasn't true. Not only do we care about the environment but we also care about many other things we have to deal with daily." Pandora recalls. This belief has guided her work ever since.

Pandora Thomas - San Francisco, CA

Pandora Thomas is Director of the Green Career Program at Global Exchange. This program creates pathways for communities of color, youth and lower income people to access jobs and healing opportunities within environmental fields. Pandora is completing an M.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Youngstown State University and a Teaching Credential from the New College of California. Read Pandora's full profile »

Protecting the San Francisco Peaks

Authors: Anna Rondon, GFA Fellow Candidate, Class 5 Whenever my family traveled from Richmond, CA, to our Navajo homeland, we would pass by San Francisco Peaks. My mother would tell us then to bless ourselves by breathing in four times – to breathe in the powers and strength of the Peaks into our physical and mental being. This mountain is one of the four sacred mountains in Navajo culture. We always honor these mountains. We are the mountains and they are us as Dineh. San Francisco Peaks

The San Francisco Peaks viewed from atop nearby Mount Elden (9,000 ft)

On August 25th, I had the honor of helping to organize the Protect the Peaks protest in Albuquerque, NM. The protest was held in order to prevent the desecration and destruction of San Francisco Peaks, sacred to 13 Native American Nations. We indigenous peoples have to say enough is enough! We are protesting the construction of a pipeline to the Snowbowl ski resort, which would carry sewage water for snowmaking. Construction crews have already cut down 40 acres of rare alpine forest and cut a six-foot wide and six-foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain, where medicine men gather herbs for healing. Runoff from the snow made with this wastewater will be harmful to plants, animals and humans who inhabit the mountain. "The strength of our heart and our spirit is our prayers, the strength and heart of our prayers is our mountains, and the strength and heart of those mountains is our great spirit," Navajo grassroots organizer Norman Brown told the protesters. "That's how we are tied in to this land. That's how and why we've never given up." We refuse to accept this destruction for recreation at the cost of cultural genocide! The Peaks are a beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Our sacred mountain is under attack. In addition to our protest in New Mexico, three other groups held solidarity protests at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices in California, Montana and Colorado. The USDA - Forest Service is putting the financial gain of one man ahead of centuries old traditions and beliefs held by native peoples as they destroy our sacred mountain. Please visit truesnow.org to see how you can help!

Anna Rondon — Gallup, NM

Anna's roots derive from Dinetah (Navajo land). She was born in Richmond, CA. She came back to her roots in 1981 and began working for her community Chichiltah (among the oaks). Her mother and father taught her to help people who need support. Her father was a WWII veteran who received the purple heart and bronze medal and both her parents were union members of the railroad. Read her full profile »

EPA Invests in Green Economy in New Orleans

Authors: John Moore, Green For All Fellow, Class 2 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping grow the green economy in the greater New Orleans area. Last week, EPA Region Administrator Al Armendariz announced $487,500 in funding to support local organizations in providing job training and environmental education. This is a huge shot in the arm for a region that is struggling to take its stand amongst the national leaders in green job development. This grant funded, in part, a job training program associated an energy efficiency program called NOLA Wise. This program is a partnership created by the City of New Orleans, the Southeast Energy Alliance, Global Green, Green Coast Enterprises and the Department of Energy. When I worked for the City of New Orleans, I was able to create this program by leveraging several million dollars in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy. In addition to this program, I also invested additional dollars into energy efficient libraries and LED street lights. The NOLA WISE program will allow low-income home owners of New Orleans to weatherize their homes while helping to develop a strong green workforce. This program was recently given national attention when leaders from Green Coast Enterprises and Global Green were invited to the White House to present on their work. It was a pleasure to work with these groups to bolster the City's green job market and to significantly expand on energy efficiency efforts. Green jobs now!

Green jobs now!

The grants announced on last Wednesday will create jobs in an economy where nationally the unemployment rate has continued to rise. Of the almost $500,000 investment in the city, the Louisiana Job Corps was granted $300,000 to train low-income residents for jobs in energy efficiency and green building; solar and/or solar thermal system installation; and materials reuse, deconstruction and recycling. The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) was also awarded $30,000 to provide local youth with training to monitor air quality in eastern New Orleans. The grants will tackle environmental education and job creation in a variety of communities, including New Orleans East, The Ninth Ward and industrial areas in southeast Louisiana, and work on a variety of environmental problems including air quality, energy efficiency, recycling and more. It is exciting to see green jobs expanding in a city that exists in a state that was ranked 47th in the nation for green job development. I applaud the efforts of the EPA and their expansion on the work that we have been tirelessly putting into this industry here in the gulf coast region.

John Moore - New Orleans, LA

A native of New Orleans, Green For All Fellow John Moore began working on environmental issues in Atlanta several years ago before returning to his hometown after Hurricane Katrina. He is an energy rater, working to help rebuild New Orleans on a green footing. Frustrated by the lack of support for low-income communities, John has been working with two non-profits working to introduce youth to jobs that can help them to be more engaged in environmental issues in their own communities.

Oakland's Grind for the Green launches G4G Mobile

Authors: Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager G4G Mobile

PHOTO: Grind for the Green Flickr

After establishing itself as one of the leading youth development organizations in the urban green movement, Oakland-based non-profit Grind for the Green has launched G4G Mobile, a partnership with Toyota/Volta and a private investor. "We want to practice the sustainability we've been preaching," says G4G founder and Green For All Fellow Zakiya Harris. "G4G Mobile is our first social enterprise, a hybrid of the non-profit and for-profit models, which uses an innovative, eco-friendly approach to create a revenue stream and employment opportunities." G4G Mobile represents an eco-evolutionary, entirely revolutionary step for promotions, utilizing a state-of-the-art solar-powered trailer made by Volta Mobile Solar. The G4G Mobile trailer, which features its own 3,600-watt renewable energy source, is part sustainable power company, part mobile classroom. It provides solar power to public and private events, powering DJs, bands, film screenings, cooking demos, spoken word events or mobile seminars. In addition, the trailer can be "wrapped" with promotional messages and images. G4G Mobile

PHOTO: Grind for the Green Flickr

With G4G Mobile, businesses, organizations, and schools can work together with Grind for the Green on developing eco-literacy workshops and green-oriented campaigns or simply power up their own events with energy from the sun. G4G Mobile is maintenance-free, and runs day or night. It also creates part-time green jobs for adults of color. Promotional events and marketing campaigns are backed up by G4G's social media and online promotions team for maximum impact across a variety of outlets. "G4G Mobile represents an innovative model of engagement by fusing the gap between micro-enterprise, culture, education and clean technologies," says Harris. "It fits perfectly into the urban edutainment model we have been cultivating since the mid-2000s, which is based around promoting the idea of sustainability, both environmentally and economically. G4G Mobile allows Grind for the Green and our strategic partners to deliver the green movement directly to the communities who can benefit the most from environmental awareness campaigns – it quite literally brings power to the people!"

Zakiya Harris - Oakland, CA

Zakiya Harris is a California native, who has been working as an artist, educator and activist for the past 10 years. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and attended New College of Law in San Francisco before leaving to pursue her life long passion of teaching. She has taught elementary through collegiate level in a variety of public and private settings. Read Zakiya's full profile »

Green For All Fellows teach Roots of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum

Authors: Jameelah Muhammad, Green For All Fellow, Class 4 Being an Instructor for the ROOTS of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum has been an incredible experience, impacting my life in many positive ways. When I was first introduced to the curriculum back in the Fall of 2009, I had no idea I would become a part of growing community of professionals and students, passionate about environmental issues, with a mission to not only teach these principles but to provide valuable skills that participants can use in future work and academic settings. Since becoming a certified instructor I have taught numerous sessions to Community Based Organizations, Workforce Development Institutions, and Worker Training Centers. I helped convene the New York City Community of Practice, where instructors can share ideas, best practices, and other wisdom that has worked well for them in the classroom.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/x_6FwgJ5dS8?rel=0

Being a part of the inaugural group of instructors to become certified to teach, has been an incredible honor and learning experience. In many ways, those first couple of classes were an opportunity to see if the curriculum really works, to get a better sense of what we were seeking to accomplish with the course and to really see how students would take the material; after all the main objective is student learning. I found that students weren't not only learning, they were inspired-- they were having life changing thoughts about how to have more green lifestyles, how to be more active citizens and how prepare for a green career. I have never seen students so motivated, engaged and intrigued by the material being presented as I have with ROOTS students. I reflect back upon the many presentations, workshops, and lesson plans I have given as an educator in other spaces. I realize that although informational, these curricula and presentations did not always inspire or bring people to action. I knew after teaching my first ROOTS class that I was doing something unique, and this experience would be different. Fellow Jameelah with her students

Fellow Jameelah Muhammad (sitting, center) with students from The Osborne Association Green Career Center after teaching the Food and Agriculture Module of the ROOTS Curriculum.

The response from students that I have had after teaching them ROOTS has been overwhelmingly positive and students are always eager to hear more, do more, to participate/to be a part of something bigger. The curriculum has gone above and beyond the purpose of being an educational tool, it has become a mechanism for mobilization, a means of inspiring thought, vision, and purpose for many students. Seeing graduates from the course find jobs in their respective industries, seeing students give back and teach others, and seeing students keeping in touch about their plans to become more green in everything they do, is what keeps me teaching the ROOTS of Success curriculum. In these moments I know I am truly making an impact with the work I am doing. I know I am helping to build leaders who will continue work of building a greener, more equitable economy for years to come.

Jameelah Muhammad — New York, NY

Jameelah Muhammad is a native of Metro-Detroit Michigan, where she graduated from Southfield Public Schools and continued her education at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She majored in Biology and Environmental Health, with a specialization in Resource Management. She currently is an Organizer at New York Jobs with Justice and Urban Agenda working on the Green Collar Jobs and Good Food, Good Jobs Campaigns.

Tell Us A Story From Your Block

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager Green The Block needs your help! Air pollution is an issue that affects all of us, and we want you to help us tell it. Throughout the fall, we'll be asking you to help paint the picture of the environmental and health issues arising from pollution by telling us the story of what you, your neighbors, or your community is doing about them. You can email us your story (and pictures, if any), or post a video on YouTube and send us the link. But the easiest way to is submit your story through our online form. We'll highlight your stories on the Green The Block blog and with media partners! As we collect stories from your block, we will continue to develop our fall resources and share back ideas about how you can engage your community about air quality, and look at what actions you can organize and what steps you can take to be a leader on this critical issue. Let's take action now to ensure that we can all breathe clean and fresh air!
GTB volunteers at the Denver Day of ActionGreen The Block Day of Action 2011 volunteers in Denver
GTB volunteers at the Denver Day of ActionGreen The Block Day of Action 2011 volunteers at the Art Walk Long Beach (California)

Spotlight on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative

Authors: Green For All Download the Case Study As Hunger Action Month begins today, we have a blaring statistic to face: 50 million people in America don't get enough to eat, meaning 1 in 6 people go to bed hungry. However, we also have a number of ways to support a more just and sustainable food system in this country. One unique model that aims to address this problem is Philadelphia's Healthy Corner Store Initiative, spearheaded by The Food Trust. This initiative is a national effort to increase food access by empowering communities to support their local stores and change the food landscape. Today, Green For All releases a case-study of this initiative to highlight the success of The Food Trust and pitch it as a model that could be replicated in your home town. It may not come as a surprise that most food deserts, or areas with limited or no access to affordable healthy foods, fall in low-income communities and communities of color. The only food sources in these communities are often liquor and convenience stores carrying processed and packaged unhealthy foods. Our neighborhoods not only have high rates of malnutrition and chronic disease, but also suffer from poverty and underdevelopment. Often times our communities don't even benefit economically from the creation of new healthy food sources like farmers markets and new grocery stores. This is where the Healthy Corner Store Initiative fills a much-needed gap. By working side by side with the corner store owner, it improves the food landscape by increasing availability of healthy, affordable food in already existing corner stores. There is no new land required and the store owners already have a customer base established in the community. The Food Trust helps the store owners with marketing endeavors, nutrition education, and designing a strategy to gain support for healthy food from neighbors and youth. As it says in the case-study, "The store owners partnering with The Food Trust are responsible for ensuring that the children who shop at their store before and after school are able to make healthy choices. In doing so, they empower their businesses and directly contribute to the health and well-being of the communities they serve." Since launching in Pennsylvania, this type of initiative has been implemented in 15 states across the country, providing healthy food to hundreds of thousands of people while generating thousands of jobs in the process! Created to address the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit, Philadelphia's Healthy Corner Store Initiative proposes a viable solution to both hunger and economic underdevelopment in our communities, which is very much needed. It shows us that successful healthy food ventures require more than just an affordable price – they require ownership and a cultural shift in the way that the community thinks about food. Most importantly, it puts residents in our communities at the center of the fight for equitable food access. Viva healthy food for all!


Community and Institutions Work Together to Renew Boston

Authors: Brad Swing | Director, Renew Boston

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From America's first Subway to first-in-the-nation LEED requirements for private buildings, Boston has been a leader in sustainability. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is continuing to lead the way with an innovative initiative called Renew Boston that helps residents struggling to pay their bills by weatherizing homes and creating green jobs in the community.

"Renew Boston is a unique public-private partnership that is transforming the lives of neighborhood residents, while significantly advancing our climate action agenda," said Mayor Menino. "This latest effort encourages energy efficiency across all of Boston's neighborhoods and will save residents money on energy bills, dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and put local people to work in good paying green jobs."

Launched in August 2010, the Renew Boston Residential Energy Efficiency Program is an effort that includes the local utilities, NSTAR and National Grid; Next Step Living, a Boston-based weatherization company; the non-profit Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy); and a number of community-based organizations. Renew Boston aims to weatherize homes for residents between 60-120% of area median income living in buildings with 4 or fewer units. These residents can struggle to pay for weatherization work because they do not qualify for the low-income Weatherization Assistance Program, but may not have the discretionary income to take advantage of the rebates offered by the statewide utility-sponsored energy efficiency program, Mass Save. Using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Renew Boston provides the final 25% of the customer cost-share to complement a 75% utility rebate provided by Mass Save. In total, qualifying City residents can receive a no-cost home energy assessment and up to $3500 in energy upgrades to insulate and weatherize their home.

In one year, Renew Boston has already had a significant impact:

  • More than 2,800 energy assessments and over 450 weatherization jobs have been completed.
  • Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified energy technicians with Next Step Living and their subcontractors are performing quality installations that are projected to save the typical household $800 or more in annual energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25-35%.
  • Over 40 Boston residents have been hired into green collar careers with family-supporting wages through Next Step Living, the City of Boston, Mass Energy, and other contractors.
  • 26 neighborhood associations, labor groups, small businesses, environmental organizations, places of worship and other community-based organizations have joined as outreach or referral partners.

And the best is yet to come. Renew Boston has made several improvements in response to customer feedback. Recent improvements include streamlining eligibility verification, providing assistance for remediating health and safety issues, and adding a $50 incentive for new referrals. Renew Boston is also providing valuable feedback to utility partners and Massachusetts state regulators on innovative ways to help "hard to reach, hard to serve" residents.

Renew Boston has also contracted with three community-based organizations to hire full time coordinators to lead outreach that will supplement other advertising and marketing efforts. Moreover, 26 community organizations have organized housewarming parties, hosted community meetings, set up tables at farmers markets and transit stops, canvassed their neighborhoods, and spread the word through online message boards, websites, and social networks.

From the beginning, Renew Boston organized to create permanent family-supporting wages in green collar careers. Contractors participating in the program are required to commit to workforce standards consistent with the Boston Jobs Policy, ensuring local hires, positions for historically disadvantaged populations, and compensation for workers that meet or exceed livable wages. Local community groups and workforce development agencies committed their support in finding qualified Boston residents to fill these positions. So far, the program has delivered.

Data as of July 12, 2011

Data as of July 12, 2011

Read more: Renew Boston Residential Workforce Agreement Performance


CBC Jobs Tour Visits Miami

Authors: Green For All

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Energy, Enèji, Energía are the only words to describe the shared feeling at the Town Hall meeting hosted in Miami on Monday, August 22nd, by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). This event was a part of the CBC's For the People Jobs Initiative and nationwide tour, with the stated goal of getting 10,000 people hired.

Standing in front of the crowd in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Miami, the Rev. Jesse Jackson asked how many in attendance knew someone who needed a job. Or knew someone facing foreclosure? Burdened with student loans? In jail?

With each question scores of people stood up, until Rev. Jackson declared, "This is a state of emergency."

This is a state of emergency.
Rev. Jesse Jackson

This town hall gathering in Miami was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus to address African-American unemployment rates, currently at 16.8 percent nationwide, more than double that for whites. This figure does not include those that have given up and stopped looking for work.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo), Chairman of the CBC, said that representatives are frustrated by a Congress unwilling to advance bills intended to foster job growth. Members of the CBC have introduced more than 40 such bills since January, with none of them passing.

Job seekers at CBC Jobs Tour, Miami

PHOTO: The Associated Press

Despite the common frustrations of both the representatives and those attending the meeting, there was a feeling of hope in the room as congressional leaders fielded questions from the crowd about what they've done to create jobs, reduce unemployment, and push for another stimulus.

"I have a good feeling," said Jaron Taylor, an 18-year-old Miami resident. "The energy in this room is something. There's a good vibe. People are addressing the issue. They are making sure something will be done."


Secretary Chu Visits South Carolina to Highlight Clean Energy Innovations with Rep. Clyburn

Authors: Green For All

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On Tuesday, August 22, 2011, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited South Carolina to participate in a series of events with Congressman James Clyburn highlighting the role of small business in a clean energy economy. Secretary Chu and Rep. Clyburn were joined, among others, by Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; Jon Carson, Director of Office of Public Engagement at the White House; and Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League.

Small businesses are the engine of the American economy, powering job growth and economic productivity.
Steven Chu, US Energy Secretary

More than 400 small businesses and 26 buyers and representatives from seven Federal agencies participated in this event, making it one of the biggest events for contractors that the small town of Orangeburg, South Carolina, has ever seen. Event sponsor Rep. Clyburn emphasized the need for continued innovation in energy efficiency and renewables, with remarks that all those involved, especially the contractors out in the field must identify best practices that show how the savings outweigh the costs.

Rep. Clyburn speaks at OCTC

PHOTO: Damien LaVera

During the afternoon matchmaking session, Green For All partner Sustainability Institute was invited to speak about energy efficiency and renewables. Sustainability Institute is a regional DOE Better Building grantee through another Green For All partner, Southeast Energy Alliance, and runs CharelstonWise, an energy efficiency program in Charleston, S.C.

Following the Small Business Summit, Secretary Chu attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a wind turbine at the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

I think the things that Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is doing are very, very important for the future of the United States.
Steven Chu, US Energy Secretary

After the wind turbine tilt-up ceremony, Secretary Chu headed to the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., with Clyburn to attend an event with the SC Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Alliance, where USC President Harris Pastides and others gave the Secretary an overview of fuel cell and energy research at USC and the state's role in promoting the hydrogen economy and future fuel sources.



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