- Transforming the market for energy efficiency improvements using innovative outreach strategies and financing tools;
- Training a new and incumbent workforce for family sustaining career pathway jobs;
- Connecting disadvantaged and disenfranchised communities to training pipelines and employment opportunities with local contractors and businesses;
- Reducing barriers to entry for building trades unions interested in partnering with contractors and community groups on high road workforce agreements;
- Expanding the base of certified and accredited women and minority-owned contractors able to participate in energy efficiency programs administered by New York State; and (6.) Broadening the scope of work that is eligible for GJGNY financing to include health and environmental hazard remediation and abatement that adheres to a Green and Healthy Homes approach.
Authors: Jose Narvaez, Green For All Fellow Candidate
The other day I was biking around my neighborhood. I noticed a fast food place doing something I thought was illegal. According to federal law, you are not allowed to use food stamps to buy hot foods. However, there it was: a popular fast food place with a big sign that says‚"We Accept EBT."
I go by there a lot and this sign was probably put up in the last few weeks. I've been interested in how food is consumed in low income communities for a while now. I was on food stamps myself and when money is good, I'm vegan, eat organic, local etc. But when money and time are tight, a value meal looks mighty good.
I had to pull over and see what was going on. I asked her about the sign and how to get some fast food using EBT. She explained that a customer uses their EBT card to buy a frozen meal for 25¢ less than the regular price. Then the customer pays the remaining 25¢, in cash, to warm up the food. I was taken back by the cleverness of this model. Legally, this set-up is no different than take and bake pizzas at your local supermarket.
I'm not sure if this will catch on. However, I asked the cashier if she's been selling more since they started taking EBT. She said, "Yeah, we've been selling a lot more since we started this." Moreover, this is a national franchise. If the store's sales are high, word will get out among other franchise owners. In other words, this could become popular if a store is successful with this model. If this store does not succeed, sooner or later another franchise will try it. Not having to pay your own money for the convenience of fast food is hard to pass up.
Let's assume this catches on. What does this mean from a food justice perspective? It means the fast food industry has figured out how to further federally subsidize their revenues. These companies are responsible for one of the most costly externalities today - poor health among low-income people.
While many would say, "It's their choice to buy value meals with their EBT cards," I would argue low-income people in food deserts, often don't have choices. Fast food for food stamps might be a welcomed new option for many living in areas where a supermarket is hard to get to. But the question remains, should we provide the subsidies for unhealthy food? This product is purchased on the taxpayer dime and all too often, so are medical bills from a life time of value meals. From a public health perspective, this could be problematic.
The fast food industry already benefits from federal corn subsidies. They use these subsidies to reduce their costs to sell us cheaper food that make us sicker. Food that makes our national health care problems worse. And now, they have found a loophole to receive even more federal subsidies, at the health cost of low-income people.
Authors: Jose Narvaez, Green For All Fellow Candidate As a budding electric bike designer, I try to keep up with trends on what’s hot and the latest technology. Since I am in engineering school, keeping up on the latest technologies is easy. However, I go to school out of state and this disconnects me from my community back home. So I knew I needed to touch base with someone who was more connected to their local community. Luckily, during the Green For All Fellowship training, I met Itef Vita. He’s an all round talented artist. I asked him to sketch out what he would want the bike to look like. We talked about different designs. He did a few sketches. It was inspiring. I also talked to different bike designers and met with other Green For All Fellows involved in the scraper bike movement. I took all the ideas and blended them together to develop a 3D model of the bike. Everyone I spoke with will see elements of their input: Ideally, I’d like to meet with more hip-hop artists around the country and get their feedback. For now, I’m going to make this design as open as possible. In other words, I’ll leave it up to the people to add their own flavor to it (another idea from a Fellow. Big Ups to Tanya!). Since the aesthetic design has now been finalized, the next step is to do the engineering. This involves switching from art mode to math and science mode. I have to make sure the bike will physically work. I have to make sure the battery gives enough juice to get you around and bump your jams at the same time. Stay tuned.
Authors: Eric Mathis | Green For All Fellow
Often people ask why I moved to the “Heart of the Billion Dollar Coalfield” to work on Renewable Energy and more often than not, they are shocked by my answer.
They typically view The JOBS Project’s work through the lens of environmentalism and habitually build from this assumption that we are made up of die-hard progressive Democrats striving to end mountain top removal. It is within these assumptions that I have built our organization’s strategy, that is, to decouple renewable energy from these associations by building non-traditional allies with the perceived enemy – the coal industry and the employees that are the life blood of America’s energy infrastructure.
So when I was asked by Green for All to present at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National conference I jumped at the opportunity to discuss a strategy that some environmental groups working in Appalachia have refused to accept – a strategy built around collaboration.
Moreover, Secretary Chu’s recent statement further unpacks the issue at hand when he stated that the “United States faces a choice today: will we lead in innovation and out-compete the rest of the world or will we fall behind?” Falling behind is exactly what we are doing and what lies at the heart of this issue is simple: while we are fighting each other within the various Clean vs. Dirty energy debates, our country is being chopped up, sold off and shipped to China.
As I stood in front of a crowd of more than two hundred, I began navigating through my presentation on our various projects while nervously leading up to an implicit challenge of collaboration to a crowd predominantly made up of labor unions and environmentalists, a demographic often associated with an “us against them” approach to social change.
Well, I am happy to report that the same challenge that has enabled us to build allies from both sides of the debate in the coalfields of Central Appalachia was again welcomed with warm smiles, subtle nods and inquisitive discussions during our break out session.
It is my belief that these discussions hold the potential of becoming the “ground zero” of the American psyche where we can begin building hope by collaboratively lifting our great democracy from the ashes of a strident partisanism which is quickly ripping our country apart. To create a space where we can come together as Americans and create a new patriotism built upon collaborative dialogues where idealistic discussions of saving the planet are transformed into a pragmatic duty of saving America!
Authors: Ambessa Cantave, Green For All Fellow
What is the power of one voice? Ambessa Cantave, Green For All Fellow, Hip Hop artist, activist, father, and educator with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), is using the power of his voice to activate a whole generation of eco-warriors, and it's working!
"I use my art of hip-hop music as a platform for raising awareness about climate change and how it impacts the economy and the health of communities that are historically marginalized from basic resources across the nation" says Ambessa the Articulate (that's his MC name).
Combine Ambessa's talent as an MC and his passion for empowering young people through hip hop culture with the Alliance for Climate Education's cutting-edge multi-media climate change presentation, and you've got the perfect formula for inspiring high school students to become climate heroes.
With ACE presentations in over 1200 schools thought the country so far, over 53,000 students have pledged to make lifestyle adjustments to combat climate change. Many others have chosen to take their activism to the next level by forming action teams on their campuses and being trained as leaders. To date, there are over 23,500 students engaged in action teams to address climate change on their campuses.
Ambessa was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, who reported on his recent ACE presentation for 200 East Oakland students at Unity High School. Using alternative approaches to engaging Oakland youth of color is something Ambessa has been committed to ever since he moved to the Bay Area from the east coast about a decade ago. He has contributed his skills and dedication to some of the freshest leadership development programs for low-income youth of color in the Bay, such as Grind for the Green and United Roots: Oakland's Green Youth Arts and Media Center.
When Ambessa is not educating high school students through his work with ACE or in the studio making music, he is collaborating to develop social enterprise opportunities from conscious parties to arts-based green media and marketing.
This month we honor Ambessa Cantave for using his voice, his passion, and his entrepreneurial skills to inspire hope and most importantly action.