Green Collar Activism by Andrea Dean

Authors: greenforallblogger Check out this blog post from Andrea Dean: Reprinted here: This weeks eco-action was testifying during a Food and Energy Sustainability Committee meeting of the Hawaii County Council. It all began a few months ago when I read an interview with Van Jones in the Sun Magazine entitled Bridging the Green Divide. The interview really helped to me to rethink the environmental transformation of our nation and our economy. I dropped off a copy of the article at Council Chairperson Pete Hoffmann’s office and he took the ball and ran with it. Van Jones’s organization is called Green for All and they have a Local Government Green Jobs Pledge. The pledge offers specific strategies to governments to help build “a green economy from the bottom up.” Van Jones’s new book is called The Green Collar Economy- How one solution can fix our two biggest problems- meaning the economy and the environment. Van Jones and Majora Carter co-founded Green for All and they advocate that Green Collar Jobs are: good strong middle class jobs, provide pathways out of poverty, require new skills, tend to be local jobs, strengthen communities and Oh By The Way… solve our environmental problems. Green For All and its partners lobbied to make sure that the 2007 Energy Bill included two critical provisions: the Green Jobs Act and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. The purpose of these programs is to make investments in green-collar job creation and job training which they believe to be essential to building a green economy which lifts people out of poverty. The Green for All Vision is so beautiful because it seeks to improve living and working conditions for low-income people, who are impacted more heavily by environmental problems than “eco-elites” like you and I who can afford to buy hybrid cars, organic foods and live in clean and beautiful places with alternative energy.

The Hawaii County Council Resolution 731-08 was passed unanimously and encouraged the County Administration to pursue getting a piece of the funding that will come to states (hopefully, after Congress votes to fund the Act in the 2009 appropriations bill). Send an email to our Congressional delegation telling them to support full funding for the Green Jobs Act and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program in the 2009 Appropriations Bill. Hawaii County Council Resolution 731-08 also asks the administration to prepare a list of green collar jobs that would be needed to make the County energy self-sustainable by March 1, 2009, as per the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. Also on hand to testify was Brent Norris from Green Collar Technologies, a non-profit organization with a mission to educate green collar workers on Hawai`i Island. The resolution will now have to pass the full Council, but that does not look like a problem since 6 out of 8 council members were in the committee meeting and voted aye. A great first step to be sure. Now I would like to see the County Council, and for that matter the State Legislature, adopt the Green Jobs Pledge. Big applause to Councilmember Pete Hoffmann for introducing the resolution and to the rest of the councilmembers on the Food and Energy Sustainability Committee for their unanimous support.

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