An Open Letter To The Women Of Congress, From Climate Change Activists, Actors, & Average Moms

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and historic fires, federal agencies are struggling to keep up. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is pursing a 31 percent budget cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In response, over 100 women and mothers from all walks of life have come together to sign an open letter asking Congress to get serious about protecting kids and communities from poison, ending harmful pollution, and preventing the next climate disaster by fully funding the EPA.

Read more

Why Moms (and the rest of us) Must Fight for EPA's Future

By Vien Truong for greenbiz.com

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Americans have been compelled to face an indisputable fact: Climate change is real and it has set upon us. To continue oversimplifying it as strictly a matter of "global warming" is to deny the breadth and scope of its detrimental physical and economic impacts on the most vulnerable among us.

Read more

VIDEO: Moms mobilize for clean air, water

Green For All's CEO, Vien Truong shares why this fight against poverty and pollution is so personal. Hear from moms across the country who are mobilizing for clear air, clean water, and a future for their kids. Then join us to take action and sign our petition:

SIGN OUR PETITION


Meet Jaden: The kid fighting climate change with a comic book

jaden.png

Recently, Green For All traveled to New York to sit down with Jaden Anthony, the 11-year-old who was inspired to do something to help people in Flint and other parts of the country. Jaden introduced us to his project. Kid Brooklyn is a graphic novel series that follows Jaden & friends as they are given the power to save the planet from evil aliens (disguised as corporations) and environmental crises. 

Watch Jaden's Video

Read more

KQED Talks Climate Equity, Diversity in Tech with Vien Truong

AIRED AUGUST 25, 2017 on KQED NEWS.

 

 


Van Jones and Green For All Rally with CHISPA for Clean Buses for Nevada Students

August 23, 2017. Article published in NEVADA FORWARD. By Andrew Davey. 

“It is very hard to learn when you can not breathe.” That’s the message Green for All founder Van Jones had for Governor Brian Sandoval (R) last Saturday. He joined Chispa Nevada and over 100 grassroots community activists in Las Vegas to call on the State of Nevada to invest in cleaner school buses for Nevada students.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Volkswagen has agreed to pay a total of $19 billion to settle the criminal and civil cases involving its diesel emissions cheating scheme. Volkswagen claimed its vehicles were “clean diesel”, even though they were actually in violation of federal fuel economy standards.

Nevada will likely receive $24.8 million from the Volkswagen settlement over the next 10 years.

Read more

Making Sure Your Houston Relief Money Is Going to Black Folks Who Need It Most Isn't Easy

Reposted article published by The Root, contributor Charles D. Ellison.

People make their way out of a flooded Houston neighborhood Aug. 29, 2017, after it was inundated with rainwater following Hurricane Harvey. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Houston state Rep. Shawn Thierry’s majority-black district houses nearly 200,000 residents, the Houston Texans football stadium, and a massive population of folks who were already low-income and living from paycheck-to-paycheck.

They were all in the eye of the storm when Hurricane Harvey hit. 

“It’s really that bad,” Thierry, a single mom of a 4-year old, told The Root. “My house got hit, too; there’s mold everywhere. But I just really don’t have time to think about that; I’ve got to make sure my people are taken care of.”

But as millions upon millions of dollars roll in from a growing lineup of celebrities, athletes and a nation of sympathetic Americans eager to save #HoustonStrong, there’s no guarantee that much of that money will reach already economically battered Houstonians who need it most. 

 

 

Read more

The climate movement’s new battle cry

By Bill McKibben for Nation of Change

The knock on environmentalists is that they’ve been better at opposing than proposing.

Read more

Tour against hate makes stop in New Orleans

By James Sebastien for Louisiana Weekly

On August 17, New Orleans’ historic Saenger Theatre was visited by Van Jones’ WE RISE AGAINST HATE TOUR. The Crescent City was just one stop on this 14-city tour powered by Dream Corps’ Love Army (#LoveArmy) and in partnership with Roc Nation.

Read more

Analysis | The Energy 202: Trump's lack of nuclear knowledge is what's really scary

By Dino Grandoni for The Washington Post

A year-and-a-half ago, Donald Trump was thrown a question about the U.S. nuclear arsenal that he still hasn't answered very satisfactorily.

Read more

Can business leaders be culture healers?

Vien Truong, director of Green For All, is bringing equity, social justice and climate justice together to help build a prosperous and fair society.

This means healing the deepening divide between the "haves" and "have-nots" in the U.S. — and business leaders are in a position of responsibility to move the needle on these issues. The effective voice of businesses was evident when they joined forces to sign the "We're still in" pledge after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate. 

"We need businesses to be leaders more than ever before with the people they hire, the culture that they set, even how they influence states and governments, " said Truong during VERGE Hawaii 17. "We need businesses to step up as citizens." 

Read more

More Boldly Going: A Family Foundation Turns to Activism in Trump Era

By Tate Williams for Inside Philanthropy

The giving of the Roddenberry Foundation to date has projected a kind of sunny progressivism, channeling creator Gene Roddenberry's and Star Trek’s optimism about human potential for innovation, equality, and inclusivity. 

Read more

The power of community inclusion


Overcoming Our Toxic Legacy

This week, Green For All spoke with Heather Von St. James, an 11-year mesothelioma cancer survivor who has dedicated her life to fighting for a ban on asbestos. In 2006 her life was upended by an environmental toxin she was exposed to 30 years earlier. Now she has something to say to Trump, the families of Flint, and the country about pollution and the future we are fighting for.

13502520_10210028668100349_4940868833991973622_o.jpg

“What I want to say to the families in Flint is to not give up, to keep fighting. They want us to be silent, they want us to give up and just accept things, but we can’t and we won’t. We will continue to fight for what it right, what is moral. The truth will win in the end.” - Heather Von St. James 

Read more

Sierra Club (via Public) / Environmental Justice Organizations Request EJ Report for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Programs in Maryland

Annapolis, MD-- Green For All, Free Your Voice, GreenLatinos, Maryland Environmental Health Network, Chispa Maryland of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Dr. Sacoby Wilson and the Sierra Club delivered a letter to Maryland's Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Hughes and Maryland Energy Administration Director Beth Tung today requesting an environmental justice (EJ) analysis of the pollution reduction and economic development impacts of the RGGI program.

Read more

Sierra Club (via Public) / Environmental Groups Urge Support for Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Ahead of next week's vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Green Latinos, Green For All, Safe Climate Campaign, Environmental Working Group, Endangered Species Coalition, Earthworks, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Oil Change International, The Climate Reality Project, Clean Water Action, Climate Vote Hawks, and 350.org sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mcconnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, and House Speaker Ryan and House Minority Leader Pelosi urging support of the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. This letter follows a letter sent in March ahead of the House vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Read more

3 barriers holding equitable cities back

By Lauren Hepler for GreenBiz

In the grand scheme of pressing issues facing residents of U.S. cities — scarce affordable housing, high health care costs, anxiety about immigration status or racial tension, to name a few — warnings about the long-term consequences of climate change can, understandably, take a back seat.

Read more

The unsustainable whiteness of green

By Nikhil Swaminathan for Grist

Aaron Mair’s story starts out all too familiar to people of color who have encountered any of the big green groups: He asked one for help dealing with an issue of critical importance to the health of his family and community — and was turned away.

Read more

EPA Cuts Are Way Too Extreme

By Climate Nexus for EcoWatch

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress said Thursday that the Trump administration's proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cuts are too harsh.

Read more

VAN JONES ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE WE RISE TOUR powered by #LoveArmy

Exclusive Intimate Talks Combine Changemakers and Tastemakers

ACTION, CONNECTION AND EDUCATION 

(New York, NY: June 12, 2017) Van Jones & Roc Nation are proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership and nationwide event tour: WE RISE Tour powered by #LoveArmy. WE RISE will bring an array of artists, athletes, thought leaders and local leaders to cities across the country this summer. Van Jones, a renowned activist, CNN commentator and two-time New York Times bestselling author will headline the tour promoted by Live Nation. 100% of net ticket proceeds will go to the Dream Corps initiatives and local charities.

Read more

Podcast: Vien Truong — An Environmental Hero for Our Times

By Aimee Allison for Democracy in Color

 

Read more

California Latinx Community Fights for their Future

By: Lauren Gaytan and Déjà Thomas

When planning commissions no longer listen to the citizens, citizens will make their voices heard. That is what community activists, like Raul Lopez, are doing in the fight for clean air and a healthy Oxnard, California in this video: Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.19.15 PM.png

(Image credit Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy)

Oxnard, California is a small farm-working community of color in Southern California that has mobilized their community to voice their concerns for their assets and dreams for the future, in the face of a proposed power plant, the Puente Power Project.

Read more

Fast Company: Green Jobs Are Still the Future of Work After Trump's Paris Accord Pullout

And the most innovative companies already know it.

Fast Company June 7, 2017

Excerpt:

While President Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden last Thursday to announce America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, I was in Brussels at a green jobs conference. It was a stark contrast. Even as Trump announced that the world’s second-largest polluter would no longer commit to curbing carbon emissions, a choice he wrongly framed as good for the U.S. economy, I talked with European leaders about the promise of advancing a green economy and ways to avoid disastrous environmental policies that could undermine it.

Read more

Prince's secret energy investment could help solar startups under Trump

By Maria Gallucci for Mashable

The late, great Prince quietly funded solar energy startups before he died last year, and now that funding could help young clean-tech firms navigate the turbulent Trump era. 

Read more

Black Lives Matter raises $1,300 for Flint

By Brian Blair for Columbus Republic

Black Lives Matter of Columbus’ fund drive to help people in Michigan get their water pipes fixed stands at $1,300, according to organizers. A total of $500 of that was raised during a Saturday rally and march in downtown Columbus at City Hall and The Commons.

Read more

Politicians and Environmentalists React After Trump Pulls US From Paris Agreement

By Yessenia Funes for Colorlines RSS Feed

The president says he's open to negotiating the terms of the agreement, though world leaders assert it can not be renegotiated.

Read more

Paris Climate Accord: The Future Depends on Us

IMG_2407.JPG

Green For All’s director, Vien Truong, is participating in the European Commission’s Green Week in Brussels, where she is meeting with top European leaders to discuss the promise of advancing a green economy and the importance of avoiding Trump’s disastrous environmental policies.

Read more

Green For All Statement on U.S.’ Potential Withdrawal From Paris Agreement

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Contact: Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com 

Green For All Statement on U.S.’ Potential Withdrawal From Paris Agreement

OAKLAND, Calif.--Recent reports suggest that Donald Trump intends to back out of the Paris Climate agreement. This could reverse years of climate progress globally.

This week, Green For All’s director, Vien Truong, is participating in the European Commission’s Green Week in Brussels, where she is discussing the promise of advancing a green economy and the importance of avoiding Trump’s disastrous environmental policies with top European leaders.

Read more

Black Lives Matter hoping to help with water problems

By Brian Blair for Republic Online

Black Lives Matter of Columbus will join with other groups at a rally and march at 2 p.m. Saturday to raise its voice and money to help people in Flint, Michigan, get their tainted water problems resolved. 

Read more

Scientists Really Aren’t the Best Champions of Climate Science

Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?

Read more

Flint Residents Still Suffering, Exposed to Contaminated Water

By D. Kevin McNeir for Voice & Viewpoint

Residents of Flint, Michigan have very little to celebrate, three years after the water crisis in the city made national headlines.

Read more

Green For All Statement On Trump’s Dirty Budget

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Contact: Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

Green For All Statement On Trump’s Dirty Budget

OAKLAND, CA--Following the release of Trump’s budget launching an unprecedented attack on our children’s health, access to clean air and safe green spaces for families to play, work and grow, Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement: 

“In one budget, Donald Trump has managed to achieve what most polluter’s have strived for over the last 40 years -- the complete decimation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Green For All joins millions of Americans in calling on Congress to reject Trump’s dirty budget.

Read more

VIDEO: The California Model: Make Polluters Pay

Reposted from UniversityOfCalifornia.edu

Even when climate change is a top priority for lawmakers, progress is challenging. It often comes down to money: We have plenty of expensive problems right now, so expensive problems down the road take a backseat.

It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that climate change isn’t down the road, it’s right now — and addressing it can help solve other problems.

Read more

As Machines Take Jobs, Companies Need to Get Creative About Making New Ones

By Harvard Business Review

Jobs in retail, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture are highly vulnerable to technological change. 

Read more

True Climate Justice Puts Communities of Color First

By Audrea Lim for The Nation

Black and brown communities have long borne the brunt of our addiction to fossil fuels—and now they are leading the fight for a post-carbon economy.

Read more

The Resistance is Growing: Dispatches from Flint to Washington, DC

People all over the United States are fed up with attacks on our air, our water, and our future. At Green For All we are building a future to fight for every.single.day. Let me shed some light on our actions since our founder, Van Jones launched #FixThePipes for Flint on April 20th.

Why Flint now? Just look. A young mom in Flint took this video from her bathroom on April 15th:

Screen_Shot_2017-05-16_at_10.30.59_AM.png

Read more

Big Sean Joins Fight to Help Flint Water Crisis

By Lenore T. Adkins for Afro

Rapper Big Sean has joined a celebrity lineup helping to raise money for residents of Flint, Mich. still grappling with poisoned water.

Read more

Van Jones Names Roc Nation As Exclusive Management

By Roc Nation 

NEW YORKMay 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Renowned activist, CNN commentator and two-time New York Timesbestselling author, Van Jones, has joined Roc Nation as an exclusive management client.

Roc Nation will work with Van across all aspects of his career. The work will be about making change. It will be cause-oriented, it will be justice-oriented, and it will strive to uplift all people in innovative ways.

Read more

NowThis: Here's why the Peoples Climate March is so important

Van Jones And Vien Truong of Green For All Discuss Why They March
Screen_Shot_2017-05-02_at_10.59.01_PM.png

Fast Company: The Flint Water Crisis Is Far From Over: They Still Need New Pipes

Fast Company April 27, 2017

Excerpt:

Green For All wants to deliver $500,000 directly to Flint families and raise awareness of environmental injustice across the United States.

Three years ago, the city of Flint, Michigan, in search of a cheaper water supply, connected its system to the nearby Flint River. The switch was meant to be temporary; as such, officials neglected to treat the water flowing into the pipes to ensure it wouldn’t cause corrosion. Almost immediately, residents, 40% of whom live in poverty, took note of the strange taste and color of the water, but their complaints fell on deaf ears. By the time officials acknowledged that the water from the Flint River had corroded the pipes, high levels of lead had already seeped into the water supply of 100,000 people.

Read more

Three Years Later, Water Specialist Says Broken Pipes, Not Lack of Water Treatment, Was Real Cause of the Flint Crisis

Although it’s been three years, the struggle for Flint, Mich., is far from over as the lead-tainted city is still in need of new water pipes.

Read more

WaPo: Laying a road map for states, liberal senators introduce bill to end U.S. fossil fuel use by 2050

Washington Post April 27, 2017

Excerpt:

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Thursday that calls on the U.S. to transition off fossil fuels by 2050, hoping to spur action on the state and local level, even as the Trump administration pushes for expanded coal, oil and natural gas production.

The 100×50 Act would impose new federal mandates requiring vehicles in the United States to release zero carbon emissions, while barring federal approval of oil and gas pipelines in the country, while also establishing an auction of “climate bonds” that would raise money to support renewable energy projects. The measure would also provide job training for low-income Americans and Americans of color, as well as those in coal communities, to work in the renewable energy sector.

Read more

The Flint Water Crisis Is Far From Over: They Still Need New Pipes

By Ellie Anzilotti for Fast Company

Green For All wants to deliver $500,000 directly to Flint families and raise awareness of environmental injustice across the United States.

Read more

3 State Reps Announce Congressional Caucus Dedicated to Environmental and Climate Justice

By Yessenia Fuentes for Colorlines

The task force aims to provide marginalized groups with a voice.

Read more

Laying a road map for states, liberal senators introduce bill to end U.S. fossil fuel use by 2050

By Juliet Eilperin for Washington Post

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Thursday that calls on the U.S. to transition off fossil fuels by 2050, hoping to spur action on the state and local level, even as the Trump administration pushes for expanded coal, oil and natural gas production.

Read more

Merkley, Sanders goal: U.S. on all renewables by 2050

From KTVZ

WASHINGTON - Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced landmark climate legislation Thursday that would transition the United States to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by no later than 2050.

Read more

Common Joins Van Jones and ‘Green For All’ to #FixThePipes in Flint

It’s the three year anniversary of the poisonous pipes installation in Flint, Michigan and despite popular belief, the issue has not yet been completely resolved. Although the city of Flint reached a settlement with the State of Michigan, the plan does not provide all Flint families with clean water immediately. They are still waiting.

Read more

Frontline Communities Seeking Solutions Unite for Peoples Climate March

By Keith Rushing for Huffington Post

Environmental justice groups will descend on Washington, D.C., this weekend from around the country to ramp up their fight against climate change. They will come together on April 29th for the Peoples Climate Movement march, walking from the U.S. Capitol to the White House and finally to the Washington Monument.

Read more

Groups Gear Up For Major Climate March

President Trump and people concerned about climate change will observe the president's 100th day in office.  But not in the same way. 

 climate-change.jpg

Read more

With Our Health and Billions at Stake, Black People Need to Join the Clean-Energy Revolution Now

By D. Amari Jackson on Atlanta Black Star. 

Despite the Trump administration’s disdain for renewable energies and promotion of fossil fuels like coal, the current revolution in clean energy is showing no signs of slowing down. The Solar Foundation recently reported the number of solar jobs increased by an unprecedented 25 percent from 2015 to 2016 to produce a total of 260,077 workers nationwide. 

Read more

I Believe That We Will Win - Actions from Earth Day to May Day

We are in a fight for our future. This Saturday begins an historic Earth Week of Action to defend people on the frontlines of pollution -- from coal miners to Flint families -- and our Mother Earth which we depend on for life.

PCMSave.jpg

Read more

Invest in Oregon by capping carbon (Opinion)

Posted in Oregon Live April 18, 2017

Maggie Tallmadge and Vien Truong

Oregon's state leaders are debating the very significant environmental policy of whether to cap the climate pollution coming from our biggest polluters. This decision is important for Oregonians and for the country as a whole. Why? Because this policy can clean up the air and generate proceeds to lift up communities facing poverty and pollution. On top of that, this can be a counterbalance to environmental rollbacks by the federal government.

Read more

These Mothers Are Fighting Climate Change for Their Children

Reposted from Peoples Climate Movement on Medium

The Peoples Climate March is a march for climate, jobs and justice. It’s about intersectional movement building, intergenerational struggle, and the right to clean water, breathable air, and economic opportunity. These mothers demonstrate not only the breadth of our collective, but the wisdom of our cause. We all have much to learn from why they march.

Vien Truong, Green For All (Oakland, CA)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

The Peoples Climate Movement is a chance for people from all backgrounds to stand with communities living at the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America for solutions that uplift the health, wealth, and security of everybody by leaving polluters no place to dump their waste.

Read more

Green For All, State Innovation Exchange Launch Campaign To Revolutionize State Climate Policy

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2017

Contact: Nina Smith, nina@megaphonestrategies.com, 301-717-9006

               Margaret Ann Morgan, margaretann@stateinnovation.org, 601-551-1808

Green For All, State Innovation Exchange Launch Campaign To Revolutionize State Climate Policy

Groups Team Up to Push State Climate Policy that Prioritizes Communities of Color and Low-Income Communities Harmed First and Worst by Fossil Fuels

Oakland, Ca. -- Following Trump’s announcement this week that his administration plans to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, Green For All -- a non-profit co-founded by Van Jones and led by policy architect and innovator Vien Truong -- launched a campaign with the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) urging state legislators to advance state climate policy and pledge to prioritize funds to invest in communities of color and low-income communities that have been harmed first and worst by fossil fuels.

Read more

The secret behind creating the largest fund in U.S. history for building a green economy

vien4.png

By Vien Truong 

[Reposted courtesy of State Innovation Exchange]

As the head of Green For All, I travel the country working with grassroots leaders and state electeds to craft policies that prioritize families and workers living in the most polluted cities in America.

My heart breaks every time I hear about another Flint or Standing Rock. I know what it’s like to live in a struggling and polluted community. In Oakland, California where I raise my 3-year old twin boys, air pollution is so bad that where we live is known as the “toxic triangle.” I see dilapidated homes, a food desert, homeless families and neglected schools on my way to work every day. It is because I see and live in the daily reality of what poverty and pollution looks like that I have continued to feel the urgency to fight for communities like mine all across the country. Will you join me?

Read more

Statement on Trump Executive Order to Roll Back Clean Power Plan

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com

Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

Statement on Trump Executive Order to Roll Back Clean Power Plan

OAKLAND, Calif.--Today, Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement in response to reports that Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back key parts of the Clean Power Plan:

“Today, we have taken a step back as a country. This administration continues to gut key protections that keep our families safe and our waters clean.

Read more

Trump’s Executive Order Repeals Environmental Protections; Hurts People He Claims He Wants to Help

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2017

Repost from PeoplesClimate.org.

Contact: Sharon Singh, sharon.singh@peoplesclimate.org ; 202.499.9565; @spksingh


March for Climate, Justice and Jobs on April 29 to Resist Attacks and Bring Solutions to Elected Leaders

Washington, DC — In response to Trump administration’s latest executive order that begins to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and environmental protections, the Peoples Climate Movement (PCM) is demonstrating itself as a massive and wide-reaching movement in opposition to this dangerous step that puts people and the planet at grave risk. The PCM is a broad-based ground-breaking coalition of hundreds of faith-based, labor unions, indigenous, civil rights and environmental justice groups based around the country working together to build bold solutions that tackle climate change, rooted in economic and racial justice.

Read more

America Didn't Vote to Change Clean Air Act to the Dirty Air Act

Watch Green For All Director of Partnerships, Kim Noble discuss the heroin epidemic, the drug war, and Trump's attacks on clean air and clean water on Thom Hartmann. kimhartmann.jpg


Frontline Communities Rally at EPA Headquarters In Washington to Defend Climate Progress

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com

Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

Frontline Communities Rally at EPA Headquarters In Washington to Defend Climate Progress   

Responding to executive orders undermining climate protections, and proposed EPA budget cuts, leaders from frontline communities gathered to defend climate progress

 

WASHINGTON, DC--Today, Green For All and its labor and community partners organized an emergency lunchtime rally at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in opposition to Trump’s disastrous, anti-climate agenda that rolls back climate protection rules and guts clean air and water protections. Joined by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), Jared Polis (D-Co), and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), the protest also highlighted reports of proposed catastrophic budget cuts to the EPA and pushed back against attacks on EPA employees and the programmatic and scientific integrity of the work they do.

Read more

Carbon pollution isn’t free: How Oregon can cap, trade, reinvest

Michelle Romero
Photos by Arkady Brown
Michelle Romero, deputy director of Green For All, speaks to Street Roots before testifying to the Oregon Legislature in support of a measure that would invest carbon market revenue in economically depressed communities. Lawmakers in Salem are considering five different bills with the same goal of significantly reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Why I Reject Trump’s “Dirty Water Order”

Last Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order gutting protections for wetlands and drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans. But what really caught my attention was that on the same day, he signed another order to supposedly strengthen White House partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). I saw this as Trump being Trump -- pretending he wants to help African American communities on the one hand, while with the stroke of his pen, doing some real damage on the other.

Read more

Progressive Leaders Issue Joint Statement on Fighting President Trump and Conservatives’ Corporate, Billionaire-Driven Agenda

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Contact: Margaret Ann Morgan, (601) 551-1808, margaretann@sixaction.org

Progressive Leaders Issue Joint Statement on Fighting President Trump and Conservatives’ Corporate, Billionaire-Driven Agenda

State legislators and allied groups will counter Trump’s address to Congress with #FightingForFamilies Week of Action 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, SiX Action joined several national policy and advocacy groups in releasing the following statement ahead of President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress:

“In a matter of hours, President Trump will be delivering his address to Congress and laying out his vision for the country. We know that when it comes to the Trump administration, actions speak louder than words, so regardless of what we hear tonight, here is what we can expect over the coming weeks and months: more giveaways to corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1%, more rollbacks of critical worker protections, and a repackaging of the same failed policies that depress wages and offer no actual path to the middle class for America’s working families. 

Read more

African American Leaders Reject Trump’s “Dirty Water Order”

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com

             Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com 

African American Leaders Reject Trump’s “Dirty Water Order”

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Today, as Trump signed an executive order gutting protections for wetlands and drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans, he signed another attempting to strengthen White House partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. African American leaders in the climate justice movement denounced his efforts to appeal to Black Americans while signing away their rights to clean water.

Read more

A New Home for Green The Church

We want to share some exciting news: Green The Church has a new home! Green The Church is a national effort designed to tap into the power and purpose of the African  American faith community, to explore and expand the role of churches as centers for environmental and economic resilience.  The vision for Green The Church was birthed out of the Black Church experience by Rev. Ambrose Carroll.  A few years ago, Rev. Carroll, who was a Green For All Fellow, asked Green For All to help incubate the campaign, providing a temporary home where the vision could be cultivated and grow.

Read more

Green For All: Pruitt’s Confirmation Ushers in Dark Era for America’s Health

For Immediate Release: Friday, February 17, 2017

Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com

Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

 

Green For All: Pruitt’s Confirmation Ushers in Dark Era for America’s Health

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Today, Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement in response to news that the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency:

“Scott Pruitt’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate is a huge setback for low income communities and communities of color, who have a right to clean water and air that doesn’t make our kids sick. Pruitt’s confirmation is a tragic outcome for all Americans, but especially for frontline communities who have been subjected to the the nation’s most hazardous industrial pollution. His confirmation begins a dark new era for America's health that could take us back to the days of burning rivers.

Read more

Marching for frontline families and spreading a message of love

As the nation was preparing to swear in the 45th president, I along with my colleagues were turning our attention towards the day after – the Women’s March on Washington. We spent the weeks leading up to the March inviting others to join our contingent to stand with the many women and families at the frontlines of the fight for equal rights and to say that we must fight different on climate change. We must put workers and families at the frontlines of pollution first. My organization Green For All put out a press statement in conjunction with the Women’s March. Several partners (Climate Parents, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Flint Rising, Green the Church, GreenLatinos, Interfaith Power & Light, Moms Clean Air Force, NextGen Climate, and the Power Shift Network) signed on to say they will put frontline families first over polluter profits. We also were marching to spread the message of the #LoveArmy in contrast to Trump’s message of hate – when it gets harder to love, love harder. 

Read more

Green For All Decries Decision to Advance DAPL

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2017

Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922 diane@megaphonestrategies.com

 

Green For All Decries Decision to Advance DAPL

SAN FRANCISCO -- Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement in response to news that the Trump Administration has waived the environmental impact assessment, paving the way for the final step to construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline:

Read more

Green for All Slams Trump’s Reckless DAPL & KXL Executive Orders

San Francisco, CA - Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement in response to news that President Trump has signed executive orders advancing construction on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines:

“Donald Trump’s executive orders are evidence that his administration sees people living at the frontlines of pollution and environmental devastation as unimportant.

Read more

Green For All, Environmental Groups Join Women’s March to “Fight Climate Different” in the Age of Trump

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nina Smith, nina@megaphonestrategies.com, 301-717-9006 cell

 

Green For All, Environmental Groups Join Women’s March to “Fight Climate Different” in the Age of Trump

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  In advance of the Women’s March on Washington, Green For All -- with Clean Air Prince George’s, Climate Parents, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Flint Rising, Green the Church, GreenLatinos, Interfaith Power & Light, Moms Clean Air Force, NextGen Climate, and the Power Shift Network -- are pledging to denounce attacks on the environment by prioritizing vulnerable communities living on the frontlines of poverty and pollution.

Read more

Green For All Statement on Scott Pruitt's EPA Nomination

For Immediate Release: December 7, 2016
Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com
Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

Green For All Statement on Scott Pruitt’s EPA Nomination

Green For All Deputy Director Michelle Romero released the following statement in response to news that President-elect Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to head the EPA:

“The importance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s role in ensuring that the rights of all communities to clean air and safe drinking water are protected, cannot be understated. The nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator -- someone who has consistently challenged EPA’s efforts to regulate toxins and keep families safe, while favoring fracking and big polluters -- is deeply disappointing.”

###


Green For All Applauds Key Climate Legislation in Illinois

For Immediate Release: December 7, 2016
Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, diane@megaphonestrategies.com
Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, nina@megaphonestrategies.com

Green for All Applauds Key Climate Legislation in Illinois

Green For All Deputy Director Michelle Romero released the following statement in response to the signing of critical clean energy legislation by Illinois Governor Rauner:

We applaud Governor Rauner and state leaders in Illinois for enacting the Future Energy Jobs bill, which will expand the state’s usage of renewable energy to 25 percent. This bill is a critical step in setting Illinois on a path towards achieving a clean energy future for all by prioritizing investments in the communities who need it most. The Future Energy Jobs bill dedicates millions of dollars in state funds into expanding clean energy in Illinois and bringing good jobs to low-income communities most harmed by pollution.

 

Read more

Green For All Calls for Stronger Pollution Cuts from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2016

Contact: Michele Setteducato, 732-614-3818, michele.setteducato@gmail.com

Green For All Calls for Stronger Pollution Cuts from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Today, the Northeast states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative presented a scenario to cut greenhouse gases by either 2.5 percent or 3.5 percent annually starting in 2020.

Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement in response:

Read more

Green For All Remarks on the Defeat of Washington’s Initiative 732

For Immediate Release: November 8, 2016

Contact: Michele Setteducato, 732-614-3818michele.setteducato@gmail.com
 
Green For All Remarks on the Defeat of Washington’s Initiative 732
 
Tonight, the people of Washington state voted down Initiative 732, the “revenue-neutral” carbon tax proposal on the ballot.

In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:

“We must combat climate change by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. As we do so, it is pivotal to invest in a just transition. Initiative 732 rightfully aimed to put a price on carbon, but unjustly favored tax cuts for corporations over investments in clean energy and green job creation for struggling families and displaced workers. This defeat shows that Washingtonians recognized that I-732 is a false solution."
Read more

Recap from the 2016 Green The Church Summit in Baltimore

Carroll Ministries, Interfaith Power & Light, U.S. Green Building Council, and Green For All engaged church leaders and congregations at Green The Church Summit

On October 25, 2016, one hundred African American faith leaders from around the country joined together for the third annual Green The Church Summit. The summit explored and expanded the role of churches as centers for environmental and economic resilience. The faith leaders at the Summit have helped black and brown communities that are often the most impacted by pollution from fossil fuel and waste facilities fight for clean water and air, as well as increasing health, wealth, and opportunity.

View photos from the Summit.

Read more

Green For All Responds to Ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2016

Green For All Responds to Ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement

Today, President Obama announced a historic moment in the fight against climate change.  The world has crossed the threshold needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force on November 4th.

In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:

“The ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement today is a historic step forward to fight climate change not only in the United States but around the world.”

“Communities of color are hit first and worst by the pollution from the fossil fuel industry around our country.  We must protect the health and safety of the millions of people on those frontlines as we implement this agreement worldwide. If we are to meet the Climate Agreement goals, we must invest deeply in the frontlines and ensure that all communities are protected from climate change devastation.”

###


Farmland and the Concrete Jungle

Growing up outside of the Atlanta city limits, surrounded by Georgia red clay and acres of green space, I was innocently oblivious to the effects of air pollution in my world. Summer vacations, however, were spent inside the city limits - East Point, GA to be exact. My aunt and uncle would have my brother and I excitedly pack our suitcases for a two-week 'staycation' in the city that was “too busy to hate.” As my uncle’s blue Volvo drove past miles of green pastures and eventually swiveled its way through the busy I-75 highway exchange, I observed the change in the “color of the air” and I noticed my hesitancy to now take the big, engulfing breaths that I enjoyed in my small town, on the humid summer nights filled with the sweet smell of honeysuckles and the intoxicating glow of lightning bugs.

In hindsight, I wonder if my trajectory would have been different had I grown up in an area that lacked access to one of the most fundamental rights seemingly guaranteed to all: clean air. Would I have grown up in an area exposed to harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide and mercury? Would I have suffered from asthma and often been susceptible to life-threatening illnesses like cancer? Would my home have been more vulnerable to climate change-induced storms and floods? Would my neighborhood have had to bear the disproportionate brunt of the burden of decisions made by those who did not represent nor live in my neighborhood?

What are the costs when we do not account for the deadly effects of pollution in areas that disadvantaged populations call home? Often the risks and consequences are overlooked, leaving low-income, marginalized, indigenous people, and communities of color with a collective experience of disease and mistrust of those in charge of ensuring and creating equity in access to clean air.  These communities are now beginning to break ground and find a voice in repairing the damage created by dirty energy systems.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) presents an opportunity for voices in “frontline” communities to be heard.  Through the CPP, states are called to engage in conversations and concrete action surrounding the impact of carbon pollution as described by those most affected in the process. Directed implementation of funding acquired from polluters can restore the power and pride back into the hands of the residents who have suffered the effects of pollution. However, for the CPP to translate into positive empowerment and investment in the aforementioned frontline communities, citizens and elected officials must engage proactively with a focus on social equity.

While we all currently experience the effects of air pollution in varying degrees, it is important to note that frontline communities experience pollution in an extremely different manner. Communities of color routinely fail to meet EPA standards for air quality, often attributed to their close proximity to power and coal plants. Comparatively, children in these areas experience excessive visits to the emergency room with asthma attacks, with African American children dying at alarming rates as a result of these attacks. With insufficient resources and less job security, recovering from personal health disasters becomes nearly impossible. The damage done in these neighborhoods should influence and continue to drive the decisions associated with the funding recovered from polluter fines.

With an equitable implementation plan, CPP can serve as a catalyst to addressing these issues by empowering neighborhoods with the necessary knowledge and foundation to begin creating an alternative narrative and a shift in resources.

For more information about an equitable implementation of the Clean Power Plan, visit www.TheCleanPowerPlan.com

Untitled.png

Alexis Carter is a southern historian and a middle school social studies teacher in Georgia. She enjoys reading, researching, and rewriting the narrative.


Green For All Responds to House Voting to Support Flint Water Crisis

For Immediate Release: September 28, 2016

Contact: Michele Setteducato, michele.setteducato@gmail.com

 

Green For All Responds to House Voting to Support Flint Water Crisis

Averting a near shutdown of the federal government, the U.S. House finally reached consensus today on supporting Flint in their ongoing water and financial crisis -- resulting in a vote passing a multi-million dollar support package.

In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:

“Today is an important step forward for Flint -- and more needs to be done.”

“It has been more than two years since Flint’s water was poisoned as the result of Gov. Rick Snyder’s reckless actions. We have left Flint residents to struggle alone through the horrors of lead poisoning and government neglect. Housing prices have plummeted to next to nothing, people are still bathing their children in bottled water, and tens of thousands of people have lost generations of wealth. On top of that, many families will be dealing with the health ramifications of lead poisoning on their children for decades to come.”

“When I was in Flint, I met with residents who were poisoned from the lead water, who were afraid to shower or bathe their children -- who were on disability from being poisoned, and still working to support their kids and organize their community to rebuild.”

“For too long, those in low income communities and communities of color have been hurt first and worst by unhealthy water and air. Today is a step in the right direction, but far more needs to be done in the weeks and months ahead to do right with the people of Flint.”

In March, Green For All organized a tour of Flint with Van Jones, Tom Steyer, and Mark Ruffalo with local residents. Read more about that here: http://www.greenforall.org/mark_ruffalo_joins_green_for_all

 

###


White House honors Oakland mom for work on climate change

opengraph_default.png

East Bay mom up for White House honor for work on climate change

Updated 5:35 pm, Thursday, July 14, 2016

An East Bay woman is one of 10 people from across the country who will be recognized by the White House Friday for helping low-income and underserved communities prepare for and adapt to a changing climate.

Vien Truong of Oakland will be named a White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity for her work to end environmental racism and empower communities of color to join in the fight against climate change.

“Winning this award is a huge honor,” Truong said. “I do a lot of this work by keeping my nose to the ground and trying to do the right thing. It feels very validating that we are being recognized by the president as doing the right thing.”

Truong was drawn to her current line of work after moving to the United States from war-torn Vietnam with her family, only to have her parents end up working as strawberry pickers in pesticide-ridden fields in Oregon, then at sweatshops in one of Oakland’s poorest and most polluted communities — where Truong ultimately grew up as the youngest of 11 siblings.

“It’s not right for families to struggle as much as they do and still not have a decent living condition,” Truong said. “I wanted to commit my life to make a better future for people.”

Truong is the director of Green for All, an Oakland nonprofit organization dedicated to creating an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

She lives in the city and has twin 3-year-old sons.

Truong may be known best for past efforts of expediting California’s transition to electric vehicles through the Charge Ahead Initiative and developing strong environmental-technology workforce standards through the California Climate Credit. She also has developed more than a dozen state policies, created energy and workforce programs, and advised public investments for energy and community development programs.

One of Truong’s most notable accomplishments was contributing to the passing of SB535, which in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, redirected money paid by polluters to disadvantaged communities. In the past two years, that fund has directed more than $900 million to the poorest and most polluted communities in California, according to Green for All.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to honor individuals doing work to empower and inspire members of their communities.

White House officials selected award winners based on their work with low-income people in underserved communities.

Truong will be honored with nine others at the White House Friday, in a program that will feature remarks by Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the Council on Environmental Quality, and John Holdren, policy director for the White House Office of Science and Technology.

The event will be live-streamed on the White House website Friday at 11:30 a.m.

“It will be great,” Truong said. “We get to go to the White House. It’s been a dream of my mom’s for her entire life. I’m taking her and also bringing my niece to connect generations and show her what’s possible when you do great work.”

Read the San Francisco Chronicle article here.


White House Awards Vien Truong “Champion of Change for Climate Equity” Award

static1.squarespace.png

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

CONTACT: Daniel Wein | daniel@greenforall.org

 

 

White House Awards Vien Truong “Champion of Change for Climate Equity” Award

Green For All Director honored by White House for her work to combat pollution and poverty

 

On Friday July 15th, Vien Truong will be honored with the White House Champions of Change for Climate Equity Award for her work to end environmental racism and empower communities of color to join the fight against climate change. Truong is the Director of Green For All, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Truong grew up the youngest of 11 kids to a refugee family that fled from war torn Vietnam. Her parents worked in the pesticide ridden fields of Oregon picking strawberries. Later they worked at sweatshops, where she grew up in the heavily polluted region of Oakland, California, known as the “toxic triangle.” It is through these life experiences that Truong grew to understand the inequality and marginalization endured by disadvantaged communities.

“Winning this award is a great honor, and validates all the work we are doing to end environmental racism and prioritize solutions in frontline communities that are hit first and worst by pollution and climate change,” said Truong.

One of her landmark accomplishments is the passing of Senate Bill 535, a community reinvestment bill in California that created a polluters pay fund, which created the largest fund in history for low income communities to green up and to create economic revitalization for residents. In the last two years, it has directed over $900 million into the poorest and most polluted communities in California.

“I’m privileged to be leading Green For All to create national programs that will prioritize low income communities and communities of color in the crafting of policy across the country,” said Truong.

The award comes as Truong continues to lead in climate equity efforts in collaboration with a coalition called the Clean Power for All Collaborative, which is mobilizing to make sure that the EPA’s first national initiative to regulate greenhouse gases is used as an opportunity to clean up and reinvest in polluted communities.


Earthjustice: Green The Church, On A Mission of Faith For Sustainability

Photo courtesy Green for All

Rev. Ambrose Carroll, co-founder Green for All’s Green the Church movement, standing at the pulpit. The Green the Church movement is teaming up with spiritual leaders to engage churches and other houses of worship in the climate fight.

African American churches have been on the frontlines of the most important social movements of the last century. The movements begin at the pulpit, with preachers stirring their congregation to action via Sunday sermons that link spirituality and faith to a greater calling.

“The bible has a call for stewardship and a call to action—there’s a hook around sustainability,” says Julian McQueen, Green for All’s director of education and outreach.

Green for All’s Green the Church is commonly referred to as a movement, with founders McQueen and Rev. Ambrose Carroll saying it is bigger than just a program – it is a force on climate action.

“I come from a very social justice church atmosphere,” Carroll says. “For us, climate change is the civil rights issue of our day.”

When McQueen joined Green for All in 2008 on the organization’s 28th day of existence, he felt a calling to engage local community leaders and youth in protecting the environment. Now, serving as Green for All’s director of education and outreach, he has found success by creating Green for All’s All Fellowship program, which helps fellows develop skills to build community-generated solutions and organize in their cities. He’s also spearheaded the organization’s College Ambassadors Program, which supports the leadership development of students at historically black colleges and universities.

It was at Green for All some years later that he teamed up with Rev. Carroll, formerly a fellow, to pinpoint how they could move the African American church to engage in the climate fight.

In November 2014, the early stages of what is now known as Green the Church was born to grow sustainability programs and practices across the United States. To goal was to create a massive coalition of 1,000 faith partners across the country to share the need for conservation and preservation while seeking climate justice for disproportionately impacted communities.

“As we went to friends, brothers and sisters in the clergy and in the congregations, they wanted to show that this global issue was our issue,” says McQueen.

Carroll, a native of Oakland, California, is passionate about serving inner city communities and had been looking for a way to draw from his faith to spotlight global warming’s effects. He is working to engage with communities around how to reduce their carbon footprint and activate other tools to prevent environmental damage.  

Green the Church is close to having 400 churches in 28 states represented as of June 2016. It’s focusing its efforts on states engaged in work around both the Clean Power Plan, which sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants, and the “Polluters Pay Fund,” a campaign push by Green for All to make polluters pay to clean up their own toxic messes.

Gaining momentum to grow the houses of worship involved in the climate movement is not easy, but it is having a domino effect.

“It was so powerful,” says McQueen. “The call went out by word of mouth and made its way through the networks of churches and the response has been real.”

The national Green the Church program is a partnership between the grassroots organization’s parent, Green for All, in addition to churches and the U.S. Green Building Council. While not all churches and congregation properties have the resources to be LEED-certified, the council is sharing strategies on how to make places of worship, church centers and related facilities more sustainable.

Heading into its second year this fall, Green the Church is ramping up its engagement efforts so that churches have partners and allies within the state to support each other. The support and dissemination of information is all encompassing, with guidance and educational tools on how communities can take action on environmental issues.

“This is about building power,” Carroll says. “Our communities have bared the brunt of climate change and pollution enough. We want to see more churches green their facilities and share the word of sustainability. Decrease carbon emissions, raise green economy opportunities and flex the power of the African American church.”

In August 2015, Green the Church hosted its first three-day summit in Chicago at Trinity United Church of Christ, which is also President Obama’s home church. This summer, Green the Church is hosting faith-based trainings with clergy and leadership across the country. Among the topics is a candid discussion of how communities of color can best align and develop strategies to influence environmental solutions.

The group will descend upon the Baltimore, Maryland, region October 25 to 27 to host a summit with an expected 1,000 church leaders. The primary target for training has been church leadership—starting with pastor level leadership to reach the congregation from the top down.

“We want to make a real splash in the political fights by leading with moral calls to action to make polluters pay and invest in the communities most impacted by climate change,” says Carroll. “That’s my biggest hope—a push toward systemic change.”

In addition to being active in the Green the Church movement, Carroll is pushing back on a proposed coal terminal in Oakland. Carroll believes there is a need for organizations of all sizes from grassroots to grasstops (for example, large NGOs) to work together and go beyond the labels of environmentalist, conservationist and others to define their commitment to saving the planet.

“Are people thinking they’re environmentalists? No, they’re thinking of protecting their kids from a toxic site,” Carroll says. “We try to categorize and get everything to fit in these finite places, but it’s our job to talk about climate change and connect the dots to social justice.”

Both McQueen and Carroll are thought partners, armed with faith and passion for service to their communities with the hope of continuing to bridge a gap between the faith and environmental communities who want to create change.

They and the thousands they have signed on to the journey are guided by a moral imperative to protect the earth, but they do not define their relationship with the earth in the same ways as others.

“There’s a biblical text that talks about Elijah, and at one point in his ministry he was by himself. Elijah says, ‘It’s I and I alone and no one else is left.’ And God says, ‘You are not alone.’”

“That’s how we feel about doing this work,” says Carroll. “It’s about bringing people out of isolation.”

Read the full story here.


Democratic Platform Drafting Hearing: Vien Truong Remarks

2016_Democratic_National_Convention_Logo.jpg

Vien Truong gave remarks and answered questions on June 17th at the Democratic Platform Drafting Hearing of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Phoenix. 


Medium: This Mother’s Day, Let’s Celebrate Moms Fighting Injustice

medium-m-color-688.png

Afeni Shakur, the civil rights activist and former Black Panther, successfully overcame drug addiction to become of the country’s most heralded mothers. Her strength and life story inspired the work of her son, Tupac Shakur. His song “Dear Mama” remains the unofficial hip hop anthem on Mother’s Day. The song still makes me tear up thinking about the struggles moms go through for their kids — the sacrifices my own mom made for us.

After Tupac’s death, Afeni continued shaping lives by running her son’s estate and helped to shape his legacy. She led investments to communities and charities through the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

Twenty years after the death of her son, Afeni passed away this week.

On Mother’s Day, I’m celebrating Afeni and the mothers like her who are fighting injustices to improve the lives for their children and the next generation. Like the mothers of Flint.

I’m celebrating Desiree Dual, a mother and Flint resident that I met while touring the city with Green For All, the environmental justice non-profit that I lead. Desiree watched her children getting progressively sick from lead poisoning for months, and then one day stepped out of the shower to find blood coming out of her ears. Now, she’s spending her time organizing water deliveries for local residents and fighting for the resources for her pipes to be fixed as a member of Flint Rising — all while taking care of her sick children and her own health.

Melissa Mays along other Flint mothers

I’m also celebrating Melissa Mays, another Flint mother that founded an advocacy organization called “Water You Fighting For.” She told theHuffington Post that her resolve in fighting for justice in Flint is traced back to her status as a mother. “When you cross our babies, no. That’s not going to happen. Go with your gut,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is. You can make a difference and make your voice heard. No one would be doing anything now if it wasn’t for a bunch of moms getting mad.”

My own mom was pregnant with me when escaping a war-torn Vietnam. We grew up in some of the poorest and most polluted communities in Oakland. When we finally settled down, it was in a neighborhood called “Murda Dubs” — appropriately named because it had some of the highest murders in the country during the mid-90s. Our neighbors were struggling to make ends meet for basic needs. The struggle of Flint’s mothers strikes painfully close to home.

I am now a mother of twin toddlers. We live in Oakland, in a community where residents are projected to live twelve years shorter than more affluent zip codes a few miles away. I grew up watching my parents struggle with many of the same environmental racism as Melissa and Desiree, and now I fight alongside them in Oakland.

Several years ago, my husband and I teamed up with other parents to found the Roses of Concrete School in East Oakland. The school was named after Tupac’s poem “The Rose That Grew from Concrete.” The song celebrates the tenacity of youth who reach for the sun despite growing up in a community with little resources.

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin nature’s laws wrong it learned how to walk without havin feet
Funny it seems but, by keepin its dreams
It, learned to breathe FRESH air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
When no one else even cared
No one else even cared..
The rose that grew from concrete

As I reflect on my mom’s sacrifices, and try to have a modicum of Afeni’s tenacity and the strength of Flint’s mothers, I know that there is nothing stronger than a mother’s resolve to fight for our kids.

Let’s make sure that we are constantly celebrating the mothers that are carrying the water for this activism daily, and remember that we owe it to our kids to create a sustainable legacy.


The Million Person Project: Vien Truong

Short clip of Vien Truong's personal story of why she works on the environment. Vien is one of the most passionate and effective environmental justice leaders in the country. She is the Director of Green For All which is working to develop a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

To watch the full video go here: storiesarepower.com.


The Nation: Lead Poisoning in Flint Is More Than a Health Crisis

Flint bottled water

By Zoë Carpenter

When Tony Palladeno Jr. started buying and refurbishing houses on the east side of Flint, Michigan, 25 years ago, they seemed like a good investment. The houses are on what he described as “primo land” near a community college and a park, and he figured there would always be a stream of student renters. He hoped the extra income would provide a cushion for his wife, who doesn’t have health insurance, in case of medical emergencies.

Instead, Palladeno’s houses have become a crushing financial burden. The trouble started in 2006, when Palladeno lost his job at the local newspaper, and fell behind on property taxes. Then the Great Recession walloped the city, hastening what had been a steady decline in manufacturing jobs. Property values plunged. They were finally starting to creep up again in some neighborhoods when lead poisoning in the city’s water—which began two years ago this week, when the city switched to the Flint river for its water source—became a national scandal.  All of the property in Flint combined is now worth some $500 million less than it was before the recession, according to NBC.

“We are seeing in real time how the racial wealth gap is created and perpetuated in contemporary America.” 

That’s left many residents trapped in homes they can’t sell. Not many people are eager to move into a city with poisoned water, and even if there were buyers, lenders won’t finance mortgages unless sellers can prove they have potable water. Few residents have the money to simply walk away. Some are even facing higher property taxes this year, because of the slight uptick in value before the extent of lead contamination was widely understood. 

Palladeno, who has lived in Flint his whole life, estimates he’s put well over $150,000 in his four rental properties and the house where he and his wife live. He reckons he’d be lucky to get $7,000 for any of them now. “We don’t have any hope to sell these houses for anything close to what we put into it,” Palladeno said in a telephone interview. At least two of the homes have elevated lead levels in the water. “We can’t even rent them, because if someone gets sick or dies we could be liable.”

To make their homes habitable, residents have to repair what the contaminated water destroyed: pipes, hot water heaters, dishwashers, and other appliances. The necessary repairs will cost at least $4,000 per house, on average—an impossible sum for many Flint residents, 42 percent of whom live below the poverty line. Even if every dollar of the pledged recovery money ($28 million from the state and $85 million from the federal government) were handed out to residents, it would leave them short. 

Even more devastating may be what the water crisis has done to residents’ wealth. Flint’s population, which is 57 percent black, is particularly vulnerable to downward swings in the housing market. Nationally, home equity accounts for a staggering 92 percent of black Americans’ net worth, according to the Center for Global Policy Solutions, while whites tend to have more diversified investments. Maya Rockeymore, the group’s president and CEO, says that Flint’s black population is likely to be similarly dependent on property values.

Though they didn’t have much to begin with, the corrosion and resulting lead poisoning “literally stripped what little wealth the people of Flint had in their properties,” Rockeymore says. And it dimmed any prospect of recovery from the housing crisis. “We are seeing in real time how the racial wealth gap is created and perpetuated in contemporary America,” she says. 

In February, Rockeymore and other experts on building wealth in communities of color sent a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, arguing that “in addition to damaging the health of Flint residents, we contend that your Administration’s actions have also undermined their potential for maximizing earnings and accumulating wealth over a lifetime, which has a direct impact on the social and economic viability of the communities in which they reside.” Their point was that a proportional response required more than fixing the city’s water infrastructure and providing healthcare to the people impacted by the lead poisoning and other contaminants. (Or prosecuting a few low-level officials.)  Among other things, the letter called on the governor to establish a fund to compensate residents for “long-term psychosocial and socioeconomic effects,” and for relieving homeowners of debt and tax liability on affected properties.

There is precedent for compensation funds, notably the $7 billion fund set up for 5,562 people who lost family members in the September 11 attacks. But Michigan’s political leaders have expressed little interest so far. “We were very responsive to the victims of 9/11, and yet we’re seeing a slower and indifferent response of the victims in the Flint crisis,” says Rockeymore. Race and class bias may account for the disproportionate reaction, she suggested, likening Flint to Hurricane Katrina.

Green For All, a nonprofit working to center people of color in the climate movement, recently proposed a way for Michigan to finance a compensation fund. Under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the state could draft a plan for reducing carbon pollution that requires polluters to pay for their emissions, with that money going to a “Polluters Pay Fund” that would be invested in communities most impacted by environmental damage. Green For All will push for funds in a number of states, but chose to launch its campaign last week in Flint with a specific reference to the “huge amounts of wealth” local residents have lost because of the water crisis. 

The federal government and entities like the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac should help stabilize the housing market, too, said Aracely Panameño, the director of Latino Affairs at the Center for Responsible Lending, by encouraging lenders to allow Flint homeowners to refinance their mortgages and write off the cost of repairs. “No amount of money can take away the harm that the children have suffered, and the adults too.… Having said that, you compromise the opportunity they do have if they are locked into their property and unable to move out of the city for whatever reason,” she said.

While lawmakers dither, Tony Palladeno’s wife is making plans to leave him. Not because their marriage has fallen apart, but because her hair is still falling out and she’s sick. She’s going to take the dog up to the northern part of Michigan, where they have a small cabin on a river, a river that isn’t polluted. Palladeno isn’t sure yet what he’ll do. “I can’t just walk away from this,” he said. “I’ve got too much invested.”


EcoWatch: Panama Papers Prove America Has the Money to Transition to 100% Clean Energy

ewlogo5.jpg

By Vien Truong

Last week, the IRS asked anyone who might be exposed in the Panama Papers to come forward before they get caught. And for good reason—America is a hotbed of tax evasion.

There’s an old myth that we can’t have a comfortable lifestyle—cars, homes, creature comforts—without sacrificing clean water and clean air, because it requires lots of energy and we don’t have the money to transition to cleaner energy sources.

panama_papers_750We have the money to transform America’s economy and moral reality—creating millions of jobs and ending our country’s dark history of allowing the health of whole communities to be sacrificed for fossil fuels.

Conservatives argue we can’t afford advancements. Liberals argue a transition is possible, but we need bridge fuels or “All of the Above” to fund a slow transition. The Panama Papers show we have the money to transition right now, but it’s being looted by the global elite.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the lives of people across the U.S. and the globe—fromheat waves to floods to hurricanes to droughts. Regardless of how you feel about that, it’s simply fact that the fossil fuel industry has systematically poisoned low income communities and communities of color across the globe, like the one I grew up in.

My family lived in some of the worst neighborhoods in Oakland, California. Like many others in my community, we struggled to make ends meet. As a child, it was normal for me to see families dealing with severe economic, mental and environmental problems. It wasn’t until I was able to travel and live in other parts of the U.S. that I understood it was not normal for families to live in cramped apartments festering with cockroaches; kids to attend schools that are surrounded with chain-linked fences that look like prisons; or breath air filled with toxins from nearby factories or expansive highways.

In the Gulf Coast, oil and gas refineries have lead to sky-high cancer rates, asthma rates and lowered life expectancies. Many families continue living by coal plants even though their kids can’t safely breathe outside because they can’t afford to move nor have other viable options. And we are seeing that weird rashes, cancers and chronic health issues have become the new normal for families living near gas fracking facilities.

The fossil fuel economy wreaks havoc wherever it exists. It’s past time for us to move beyond it.

But what do we hear time and time again? We can’t afford to get off fossil fuels. It’s just too expensive. Now, solar and battery technology are fast changing that tune—allowing rock-bottom prices that out-compete coal and gas across the country and incredible electric carswith ranges that rival their gas-guzzling competitors.

We have the money to fix it. The Panama Papers revealed just how far the ultra-rich will go to not pay taxes.

And let’s not glorify it. Not one has ever gotten rich without using goods and resources financed by everybody else—electricity, the internet, roads, air, water, land. These public resources are built up by low income communities and communities of color who pay their taxes year in and year out, because to do anything else would mean facing consequences.

Not these bad actors. They’ve been stealing access to our national wealth all to build up their personal wealth—and then using tax havens to build yet more. At least $150 billion dollars a year of American taxes aren’t paid by the ultra wealthy. And if you look at global estimates by the Tax Justice Network—the rich are likely hiding more than $21 trillion dollars of tax-free assets offshore.

Just a small portion of these robbed assets could transform America’s economy and put us on track to achieving 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050 and 50 percent clean energy by 2030.

We have the money to transform America’s economy and moral reality—creating millions of jobs and ending our country’s dark history of allowing the health of whole communities to be sacrificed for fossil fuels.

Let’s put this stain on America’s human rights record behind us. Let’s invest in the low-income communities and communities of color we’ve allowed to be poisoned for far too long. You can’t say we don’t have the money.

Vien Truong is the director of Green for All, a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equity at the center of environmental solutions.


Fortune: Prince Secretly Funded Solar Tech In Oakland

fortune-magazine-logo-788x443.jpg

By Katie Fehrenbacher

Prince, at times, had a love-hate relationship with technology.

While beloved musician Prince was inspiring fans through his creativity, it turns out he had a secret life as a clean energy philanthropist.

According to Prince’s friend and longtime green advocate Van Jones, Prince was a major backer of Jones’s group Green For All, which has worked on installing solar panels on the roofs of buildings in Oakland. Jones tells SFGatethat “there are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California that don’t know Prince paid for them.”

Prince was found dead at the age of 57 last Thursday at his home at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Jones says Prince funded many other charitable organizations as well as the solar projects, and that Prince quietly worked behind the scenes on initiatives combatting gun violence and police brutality. According to Reverend Al Sharpton, he donated money to the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American shot by a white neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

Prince also funded Yes We Code, a nonprofit organization encouraging urban youth to embrace careers in technology and computing. Prince helped launch the Yes We Code group after the Martin verdict.

The nonprofit’s website paid tribute to Prince through a short note:

#YesWeCode would like to honor Prince and thank him for his inspired vision for #YesWeCode. Prince’s commitment to ensuring young people of color have a voice in the tech sector continues to impact the lives of future visionaries creating the tech of tomorrow.

Prince, at times, had a love-hate relationship with technology. He was a pioneer of the early Web, and he was one of the first musicians to sell an album online. However, in recent years, Prince spent time removing much of his music from the Internet.

Last year, Prince moved all of his music over to steam exclusively online via the service Tidal, which is owned by fellow musician Jay Z. Prince said on Twitter at the time, “Essentially, streaming has offered labels the ability to pay themselves twice while reducing what is owed to artists…” The year prior, Prince removed all of his music from YouTube.


Medium: It's Bigger than Flint, Communities of Color Aren’t For Sale

By Vien Truong

It feels fitting that in the run-up to Earth Day, a day meant to have us reflect on how we treat the earth and its delicate resources, the first criminal charges were filed in the ongoing Flint water crisis. One of the worst environmental racism cases in recent memory, three low and mid-level bureaucrats and scientists were charged with data manipulation and misleading the government that contributed to the poisoning of thousands of men, women and children. It’s a ray of hope for accountability in the never ending nightmare for the people of Flint.

But it’s also far from a closed case: people in Flint are still getting rashes and their homes are worth nothing. Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder took the news earlier this week to theatrically pose with the water and pledge to drink it for the month, despite many contaminants beyond lead continuing to leach into the water. Governor Snyder has repeatedly resisted calls to resign, while doing little to change the situation on the ground for Flint’s residents.

We should all be furious. Not just by how this crisis has been handled, but by the fact that it had been allowed to occur in the first place and for so long.

Last month, Green For All travelled to Flint to witness first-hand the water crisis with local residents, who are still living entirely on bottled water.

We first met Desiree Dual, who recounted the process of watching her children getting progressively sick for months, and then one day stepped out of the shower to find blood coming out of her ears. Now, she’s organizing water deliveries for local residents and fighting for the resources for her pipes to be fixed — all while taking care of her sick children and her own health.

Then we met Harold Harrington, business manager of the local plumbers and pipefitters union, United Association Local 370. Their union is working to replace pipes, all the while living with poisoned water and pipes themselves. Harold told us his home, which his family spent years paying for, is now worth nothing because of Gov. Snyder’s actions.

Harold Harrington touring news media around the local pipefitters union, which is working to replace Flint’s lead-contaminated pipes

Existing laws make it illegal to sell a home with known water quality issues. Flint residents are trapped in their homes, with poisonous water continuing to stream from their taps. And their homes are now worth nothing.

As Congressman Matt Cartwright so powerfully stated during Congressional hearings last month, this is a man-made disaster created by Snyder himself, who thought saving a buck was more important than the health and wealth of an entire city. And amidst all of this, the cost of handling the crisis is ultimately falling on the families of Flint — with their failing businesses, dropping home values, and rising medical bills.

Gov. Snyder’s experiment with putting toxic water through Flint’s pipes has corroded ever pipe in Flint, poisoned the water of 100,000 people, and wiped out the wealth of an entire city. This leaves only one path forward to getting Flint’s residents access to water again: Gov. Snyder must flix Flint’s pipes immediately, and he needs do it with local labor.

The state and federal governments haven’t yet stepped in to fix it, other than the band-aid of bottled-water pickup stations available to mobile residents. That’s not a solution.

Residents have set up their own systems for distributing clean bottled water and caring for disabled, elderly, and homebound residents — but this isn’t sustainable. either Many of those providing help, like Desiree Dual, are struggling with their own health issues from the water.

Every corroded pipe in Flint is Snyder’s responsibility; every child struggling at school in Flint because of lead poisoning deserves Snyder’s financial support to do better; and every family who has watched and been affected by this economic devastation deserves the investment in Flint’s infrastructure that is essential to recovery.

Flint is our line in the sand: people of color aren’t going to stay silent while our lives are sacrificed for the sake of “cost-cutting.”

We deserve investments in our communities after years of deliberate actions to poison our air, water, and land. As we move to fix this problem by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and investing in clean and renewable energy, the first investments in new infrastructure have to go to the communities who have been on the receiving end of our country’s worst political and corporate greed.


ThinkProgress: New Campaign Calls For Polluters ‘To Pay For What They Break’

ThinkProgress-logo_1_.jpg

By Alejandeo Davila Fragoso

mpp_bg_grid_lowres_1-1024x911.jpg

Environmental pollution used to be an inconsequential act for industries and communities. Yet as science has evolved and explained the many effects of pollution, including climate change, the notion of having a free pass to pollute has ended.

The big question now is often not how or what is being affected by pollution, but who should pay for it. For Vien Truong, director of Green For All, the answer is simple: whoever creates the pollution should pay for it.

“We are calling for polluters to pay for what they break, to make polluters pay for what they do to our communities,” said Truong. To make that statement a reality, this week Green For All, a group focused on giving people of color a voice in the environmental movement, launched a national campaign for each state to create a Polluters Pay Fund. Truong said the funds would go to environmentally and economically disadvantaged communities via programs that communities develop.

We are calling for polluters to pay for what they break.

The way this would work, according to Green For All, is that as states draft plans to reduce their carbon, they would make polluters pay for the carbon allowances given under the Clean Power Plan, and then invest that money back into the communities hardest hit by their pollution. Essentially, it would be a carbon tax, an anathema concept for many politicians.

Green For All is doing its first push for the Polluters Pay campaign in Flint, Michigan, a city that’s been battling a lead poisoning crisis for several months. High chloride levels made the water excessively corrosive to Flint’s pipes, which polluted the water with lead. The chloride polluting the Flint River likely came from salts used to keep ice off the roads during the winter, and Flint did not apply corrosion inhibitor chemicals commonly used to mitigate such problems.

Two state and one city official so far have been charged over the water crisis, while various lawsuits are ongoing.

“Families in Flint are sick of paying to fix Governor Snyder’s mistakes,” Truong said. “This Earth Day, it’s time to talk about the people affected by pollution — starting with Flint. Fixing pipes is just the beginning. Justice is bringing back not only Flint’s water, but also Flint’s wealth.”

Green For All is inviting celebrities, community leaders, and organizations across the country to sign a petition and take part in a day of online action this Earth Day using #PollutersPay and #FixFlint on social media. The campaign has already been favored by actor Mark Ruffalo, though Green For All said more are likely to join in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks, Green For All will be releasing toolkits in partnership with major environmental groups laying out recommendations for how states can implement their own polluters pay fund. There will also be a series of events across the country to educate stakeholders on this policy model.

This Polluters Pay campaign might seem grandiose due to its national scope. But it’s not unprecedented in the United States. In fact, it’s based on California’s Climate Investments Fund, a law that Truong designed and pushed for some five years ago. The Climate Investment Fund mandates that 25 percent of the state cap and trade funds are spent on disadvantaged communities.

The fund has helped people all over California in the last couple of years, and it’s growing fast.

“By the time we get to 2020 it’s going to be close to $12 billion,” said Truong. “It’s created the biggest fund in history for low-income families in any state.” And the benefits are already trickling down. In 2015, for instance, GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit, received $14.7 million in climate investment funding to install solar panels on low-income households.

“We expect to put solar on the homes of 1,600 low-income families across the state through 2016 with these funds,” Julian Foley, Grid Alternatives director of communications, told ThinkProgress via email, “and in the process provide 150,000 hours of job training and 400 paid work opportunities. These systems will provide families over $38 million in energy cost savings over their anticipated 25-year lifetimes.”

The California experience could be a sign that so-called polluters pay funds could multiply across the nation. After all, California is a pioneer in progressive laws and programs that other states then pick up. Yet, creating a polluters pay fund puts communities against polluters, which are often wealthy businesses or corporations that oppose more stringent laws in the first place. What’s more, Green For All proposes the Clean Power Plan, a court-challenged rule that calls for reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, to be used as a vessel for the fund.

The plan, now under a Supreme Court stay, has been opposed by many lawmakers and multiple states. However, the rule also enjoys its share of support and some states are moving forward with it. Truong said a polluters pay fund attached to the plan could bring communities to rally around the controversial rule.

“Right now when you say Clean Power Plan people close their eyes and fall asleep,” she said. But if the plan means tangible benefits, Truong said, “people are going to race to support it because, you know what, it’s going to fund the things that they want to see.”

Truong is convinced on the opportunity, despite the bad reputation carbon taxes have among many lawmakers. “What we saw in California is that even the Republicans began supporting the program because they like ribbon-cutting as much as anybody,” she said.

Michael E. Kraft, professor emeritus of political science and public and environmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, said pushing for any form of a carbon tax is daunting. “The political divisions and incivility that often characterize debates over climate change make it quite difficult to succeed in arguing for a carbon tax,” he told ThinkProgress, “even for a fee and dividend system … where all of the taxes are returned to the public.”

Still, he said public opinion surveys that show that the public is strongly in favor of many actions to address environmental problems like climate change. And Green For All — along with the organizations partnering with it — is determined to make the campaign a success.

“It is a challenge to get corporations to pay their fair share of taxes to environmental justice, that is very true,” said Jessica Juarez Scruggs, deputy director of policy at National People’s Action. “But it’s about building power in our communities so that we can force corporations to pay their fair share, you know, that’s what we need to do.”


Green for All, Flint Residents: Absence of Governor Snyder in List of Flint Charges is Criminal

Statement from Vien Truong, Director of Green for All:

“What is happening in Flint is criminal, but the person ultimately responsible is Governor Rick Snyder, who made the call to poison Flint’s residents for the sake of Michigan’s budget. This isn’t a closed case, people in Flint are still getting rashes and homes are worth nothing until Governor Snyder fixes every pipe in town. While we applaud the move towards criminal charges, what’s needed is the money to rebuild and fix Flint.”

Statement from Tony Palladeno, local Flint resident:

"People should go to jail for what's happened in Flint -- but that doesn't change the fact that we need our pipes fixed today. Our homes are worth nothing, businesses have closed. Governor Snyder is responsible, as the person in charge, and he needs to fix every pipe in Flint, with local labor, to rebuild our city."

Statement from Melissa Mays, Flint Resident and Founder of ‘Water You Fighting For’:

"I'm organizing water deliveries while dealing with health issues from the water crisis. I'm happy to see criminal charges, but Governor Snyder should be on the list. He needs to pay for what he has done -- to rebuild our lives and our economy, and to fix every pipe in Flint."

Green for All is organizing a national day of action for Governor Snyder to Fix Flint on Friday, Earth Day. More information will be released on that day of action later this afternoon. The action is part of a national Make #PollutersPay campaign.

See the petition for Governor Snyder to fix Flint here: MakePollutersPay.Us


Hewlett: Q&A with Vien Truong: Once a refugee, now fighter of poverty and pollution

 

Earth Day, on April 22, is a moment for us to reflect on how we’re protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, the species that share our habitats, and the spectacular landscapes we cherish. In honor of Earth Day 2016, the Hewlett Foundation is showcasing seven grantees who are working to help make the planet more sustainable. We’re rolling out a weeklong Q&A series with up-and-coming leaders who are passionate about the environment.

Kicking off the series, we spoke with Vien Truong, director of Green For All, a national initiative to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

How did you become involved with the environment cause?

When I was growing up, my family lived in some of the worst neighborhoods in Oakland, California. We were refugees from Vietnam and my parents didn’t speak any English.  We struggled to make ends meet. As a child, it was normal for me to see families dealing with severe economic, mental and social problems.

It wasn’t until I was able to travel and live in other parts of the United States that I understood it was not normal for families to live in cramped apartments festering with cockroaches; kids to attend schools that are surrounded with chain-linked fences that look like prisons; neighborhoods to have regular drive by shootings. When I began understanding that these conditions were abnormal, I decided to dedicate my life to alleviating poverty and building the beloved communities that Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned.  

As I continued working on anti-poverty solutions, I became more sensitive to environmental concerns like droughts, polluted air, and lack of reliable clean drinking water. Fighting for poverty felt like an immediate need – there are families out there suffering and starving. It was hard, however, to silence the nagging thoughts that we were burning up our planet and that environmental issues also need our attention.

When I learned that one can work to solve environmental problems and economic justice – I was hooked. I joined Green For All in 2008 to lead their state policy work. It was a great time to join the green jobs movement and we were able to pass a number of policies in a few years.

Can you describe a recent effort that you are proud of working on? 

Green For All decided to support the residents in Flint, Michigan, who have been struggling with a toxic water crisis. We reached out to local organizers to ask whether we can help them in getting their stories out to a national audience. At the time, major media outlets were beginning to move on to the next news cycle. News that did cover Flint did not give residents a more central role in their stories.

We wanted to lend our access to media, artists, influencers and policymakers to support Flint residents. By doing so, we were able to direct major media outlets to listen to their stories, struggles and needs. It was a proud moment for our team to stand in solidarity with the local Flint leaders and to make sure that resources were directed to them from around the country. We are now working to ensure no other city experience the tragedies that befell Flint.

What is one message you would most want to tell world leaders?

For too long, the traditional wisdom has been that the problems of poverty and pollution are so big they can’t be handled together.  We now know that these issues are so connected we can’t solve either of them unless we think about them together. Solutions like California’s SB 535 model, legislation passed in 2012 which caps the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, charges polluters for the damage they cause, and directs hundreds of millions of dollars to disadvantaged communities most impacted by climate change, is a great example of the possibility of tackling both issues simultaneously.

We can build on this model nationally through the Clean Power Plan or through state policies. By regulating polluters and investing in low-income communities, we can begin to clean up our air and improve the quality of life for all citizens while reducing the costs of living.

What sustains you?  

I’m increasingly aware of the number of nonprofit leaders who are burned out and leave the field. Given that reality, I’ve made a conscious decision to find time to rejuvenate myself by spending time with my loved ones -- family and friends. Most recently, I’ve also started exploring classes on the weekends – these classes range from learning how to do handstands to Muay Thai. It’s been a lot of fun.  

Click to read original post.


Green For All Praises Secretary Clinton's Environmental Justice Platform, Calls for Further Action to Make Polluters Pay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Green For All Praises Secretary Clinton's Environmental Justice Platform, Calls for Further Action to Make Polluters Pay


This afternoon, Secretary Hillary Clinton released her plan on environmental and climate justice. 

In response, Green For All Director Vien Truong released the following statement:

"Secretary Clinton's environmental and climate justice plan is an important step forward for low-income communities and communities of color impacted by pollution, and for our national discussion on environmental racism. We applaud this effort and encourage further ideas that would make polluters pay for the reinvestment and rebuilding of communities who have suffered the worst of pollution and environmental racism.
"From Flint to the Gulf Coast and from Governor Snyder to Shell Oil, we need to make sure that polluters pay, not families."
 

###

Green For All is a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equity at the center of environmental solutions. By creating and implementing equitable solutions to some our most pressing issues today – poverty and pollution – Green For All works to ensure that every American citizen has access to strong, resilient, and healthy communities.


Mark Ruffalo, Van Jones, Green For All Launch Campaign Demanding Governor Snyder Fix Flint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2016

Contact:
Daniel Wein, daniel@greenforall.org

Mark Ruffalo, Van Jones, Green For All Launch Campaign Demanding Governor Snyder Fix Flint

New Campaign Calls on Governor Snyder to Fix the Pipes with Flint Labor, Establish Comprehensive Health Services, and Repay Residents for Poisoned Water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Mark Ruffalo is joining Van Jones and Green For All Director Vien Truong to call on Governor Rick Snyder to fix the pipes in Flint, Michigan. The campaign - in coordination with Flint Rising, a coalition of local Flint organizations - launches the morning that Governor Rick Snyder is slated to testify before Congress on the Flint water crisis he created by switching Flint to a toxic water source to save money. 

See the just-launched petition here: http://www.greenforall.org/flint_petition

The campaign launches with a petition from Ruffalo, Jones, Truong and Green For All demanding Gov. Snyder fix the pipes immediately with local labor, establish an extensive health network for residents, and repay residents for poisoned water.

Mark Ruffalo, Van Jones, Tom Steyer and Green For All Director Vien Truong travelled to Flint just last week to meet with local residents and hear first-hand their stories and urgent needs around the water crisis, which has wiped out the home values of tens of thousands of residents along with corroding their pipes and leaving them without access to safe water.

“What is happening in Flint is a national disaster created and perpetuated by Governor Rick Snyder,” said Mark Ruffalo, Founder of Water Defense. “People can’t live forever on bottled water, and the time has come for Governor Snyder to step up and fix every pipe in Flint. Water is a fundamental human right, and we will fight until that right is restored in Flint.”

“Governor Snyder is responsible for this mess, and we demand that his administration step in immediately to fix it,” said Van Jones, Dream Corps President and CNN commentator. “People have saved their whole lives to buy homes that now have no value in Flint, and nearly 100,000 people have lost access to water. It’s inexcusable for these communities to be neglected a moment longer.”

“We are fed up with corporations and politicians like Gov. Snyder sacrificing the lives of low-income communities and communities of color for profits,” said Vien Truong, Director of Green For All. “This is a national disaster that has robbed families of their health, their life savings, and even the lives of their expected children. The time has come for Governor Snyder to fix the pipes, and do it with local labor. Our communities refuse to be bullied into silence.”


The Guardian: Mark Ruffalo calls Flint's water crisis a 'national emergency' in recent visit

March 7, 2016

Earlier on Monday, organizers from Green for All – a national initiative launched to highlight environmental issues in low-income communities – ferried Ruffalo, Steyer, and residents around Flint on a bus to highlight chief demands from local activists: water bill reimbursements, a full replacement of lead service lines in the city, and infrastructure investments to address long-term financial impacts in wake of the crisis.

Black Enterprise: Activist Van Jones Joins Artists For Bus Tour Leading Crisis Response In Flint

March 7, 2016

Author, activist and founder of Green For All, Van Jones, will join a group of participants of the Support For Flint’s Future Bus Tour that include actor and founder of Water Defense Mark Ruffalo; environmental justice activist and Director of Green For All Vien Truong; and businessman, philanthropist and founder of NextGen Climate Tom Steyer.

Detroit News: Mark Ruffalo says Flint is a national disaster

March 7, 2016

Oscar-nominated actor and water activist Mark Ruffalo listened to residents vent frustration over the city’s lead-tainted water system Monday, then expressed his own outrage. Ruffalo and Van Jones, a CNN political commentator, were joined by a group of activists in the basement of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church near the city’s downtown on Monday to discuss the needs of the people of Flint in dealing with the city’s municipal water supply disaster. 

San Francisco Chronicle: West Oakland deserves better than dirty coal

March 7, 2016

Coal is a dying industry, and it shouldn’t be allowed to take the people of West Oakland down with it. Instead of tying its future to a doomed and dirty fuel source, Oakland should demand a shipping terminal that won’t be tied for decades to a failing industry. Demand jobs and opportunity that don’t come with asthma attacks and heart disease. Demand access to the clean-energy economy that is sweeping America by powering Oakland with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030.

Mark Ruffalo Joins Green for All, NextGen Climate, Local Flint Residents to Call for Solutions to Ongoing Water Crisis

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Daniel Wein, daniel@greenforall.org

 

Mark Ruffalo Joins Green for All, NextGen Climate, Local Flint Residents to Call for Solutions to Ongoing Water Crisis

 

FLINT, Mich. -- Today, actor Mark Ruffalo, Green for All Founder Van Jones, NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer and Green For All Director Vien Truong came together to stand in solidarity with the organizers responding to the Flint water crisis and fighting for long-term solutions for Flint. The “Support For Flint’s Future” bus tour -- one day after the Democratic Debate in Flint -- was organized by Green for All to support the people and organizations that have been on the forefront of addressing and responding to the crisis.

 

See photos here: http://bit.ly/1QCdqNL

See video from today here: http://bit.ly/1Qybipb

 

The tour was formed to support and highlight three key demands from local group Flint Rising:

  1. Reimbursements for residents that have been forced to continue paying for contaminated water;

  2. New pipes that deliver clean drinking water, with the jobs going to local residents; and

  3. Long-term infrastructure investments in Flint to counter the brutal financial impact of the crisis.

At St. Michael’s Church, Flint Rising organizers Art Reyes, Nakiya Wakes, Desiree Duell and United Association Local 370’s Harold Harrington joined national leaders to outline the water crisis’ dangerous impact on residents’ health and call for lasting solutions. The trip also featured site visits to Hurley Medical Center with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who first sounded the alarm to dangerously high lead levels in local children and founded FlintKids.org; a briefing on water testing from Water Defense at a stop overlooking the Flint River; and a meeting with Harold Harrington, the business manager of the local plumbers’ and pipefitters’ union.

“Our kids are sick, we can’t bathe at home, and we need more sustainable solutions than bottled water,” said Nakiya Wakes. “This is our community and our home. We need investments in Flint, and we need them now. ”

“What is happening in Flint right now is a disaster, and the time has come for President Obama to officially designate the water crisis as such,” said Mark Ruffalo, Actor and Founder of Water Defense. “The United Nations has already declared access to clean water indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It’s incumbent upon all of us to bear witness to the damage done in Flint and communities like it from environmental racism. This means addressing the underlying issues that allowed for the Flint Water Crisis to take place, and empowering the groups trying to build a long-term future for their city.”

“It goes against the very nature of American democracy to subject citizens to the mistreatment that the residents of Flint have borne the brunt of for years,” said Van Jones, former green jobs advisor to President Obama and founder of Green For All. “The time has come for President Obama to declare what has happened in Flint a federal disaster, and meet it with the federal resources the problem requires. Situations like Flint don’t develop overnight; they are the result of long-standing neglect from all parts of our society. Addressing these issues starts with lifting up local community leaders and addressing their demands.”

“We’re here today because we believe that access to clean, safe water is a basic human right, and that right has been denied to families in Flint,” said NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer. “From Flint to Ohio to my home state of California, too many Americans are being denied clean water and left without a voice and without a seat at the table. We have to fix this, we have to fight for clean water and demand justice for every single American.”

“The time has come for President Obama to formally  declare the Flint water crisis a federal disaster,” said Vien Truong, Director of Green For All. “Flint has experienced the worst of America in this crisis. People have lost their kids, their livelihoods, and their drinking water. Flint now deserves the best America has to offer, which means federal resources that put Flint back to work fixing the pipes and addressing this public health emergency. With the right investments, Flint’s future is bright.”

 

# # #

Green For All works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Our goal is to make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement. That our neighborhoods are strong, resilient, and healthy. That as the clean energy economy grows, it brings jobs and opportunity to our communities. More at GreenForAll.org/

NextGen Climate is focused on bringing climate change to the forefront of American politics. Founded by businessperson and philanthropist Tom Steyer in 2013, NextGen Climate acts politically to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans.


MLive: Mark Ruffalo, activists to tour Flint in support of city in water crisis

March 2, 2016

"The mission behind this bus tour, and Green For All, is to provide a megaphone for the community leaders and organizations working to address the crisis in Flint," said Truong. "We now need to turn the focus to the future of Flint, and what the community needs to sustainably and equitably rebuild itself into a prosperous city."

Green For All Joins with Activists, Artists to Announce the SUPPORT FOR FLINT’S FUTURE Bus Tour

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACT

Daniel Wein – daniel@greenforall.org

 

Green For All Joins with Activists, Artists to Announce the SUPPORT FOR FLINT’S FUTURE Bus Tour

Mark Ruffalo, Van Jones, Vien Truong, Tom Steyer & others join for a bus tour to highlight community organizations and individuals leading crisis response in Flint

March 2, 2016 – Oakland, CA – The morning after the Democratic Presidential Debate will draw the nation’s attention to Flint, Green For All will assemble a diverse group of activists and artists to join the Support For Flint’s Future Bus Tour. The tour will begin on Monday, March 7th at 9 a.m. EST, making several site visits across Flint to call attention, bear witness and share solutions to the ongoing Flint Water Crisis.

Read more

Flint: Elevating Solutions to Stop the Vicious Cycle of Environmental Racism

Flint is not the first poisoned American city. But we have the know-how to make it the last.

By now, the cycle of how environmental racism repeats itself is well-established: a natural or manmade disaster wreaks havoc on a disadvantaged city, leaving thousands of displaced residents. An already crumbling infrastructure ruptures due to generations of neglect, leaving those most vulnerable and unable to flee or relocate to bear the brunt of the consequences.

Read more


Donate Sign Up Take Pledge