OP-ED originally published in The Hill by Vien Truong and Mary Anne Hitt.
As moms, we'll never forget those last few weeks of pregnancy, a nervous and exciting time when the rest of the world seemed to fall away, as we did everything we could to provide a safe and peaceful entry into the world for our babies. That time is cut short for moms who give birth prematurely, and a stunning new study out this week found that pollution from coal and oil power plants is linked to higher rates of premature birth[...]
Who better than a parent to tackle the biggest problems facing families? In honor of Mother’s Day, Parents magazine asked eight leaders to write meaningful messages to those they love. Dream Corps CEO and Green For All director Vien Truong is featured at number 7.
The Green Guardian
As the CEO of the nonprofit Dream Corps and leader of its Green for All national initiative, Truong, mom of 5-year-old twins, is on the front lines tackling poverty and pollution. "This work is a labor of love," she says. “I’m joining moms and hundreds of volunteers across the country to fight for all our kids. Whether they’re working to switch from diesel to clean fuel or to fix contaminated pipes, they’re all operating from passion, from a place of unconditional love. It’s not about politics or recognition or anything else. In that way, these moms remind me of my own mother.”
Read the full article on Parents.com
(CNN)Former Vice President Al Gore said President Donald Trump should fire Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Green For All has joined forces with national partners to call for EPA Administration Scott Pruitt's resignation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2018
Contact: Kerene Tayloe, Green For All, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-664-3767
Green For All Statement on the FY2018 Omnibus Spending Package:
A big win for the women who sounded the alarm on cuts to the U.S. EPA
Oakland, CA – Green For All today released the following statement in response to the approval of the FY2018 Omnibus spending package:
A year ago, when Trump introduced a budget proposal that would drastically cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green For All launched the Moms Mobilize Campaign to fight back. And we won. The EPA is the most critical agency for protecting our right to clean air and water.
“Green For All is thankful that Congress listened carefully to women, moms, and communities across the country who were outraged by the Trump Administration’s proposal to slash funding for the EPA. Had the Trump cuts passed, it would have put clean air, water and the health of our communities at serious risk,” said Michelle Romero, Deputy Director of Green For All.
“A future worth fighting for is one in which our children have access to clean air and drinking water. We are pleased to see that Congress has acted in a bipartisan way to ensure that the EPA is provided the funding to do this work,” said Vien Truong, CEO of the Dream Corps.
In addition to keeping EPA funding at current levels, the Omnibus provides well needed funds to address clean and safe drinking water and Superfund programs that are vital to communities across the country, especially communities of color who are most impacted by pollution.
We thank the many women who participated in our Moms Mobilize campaign, including the grassroots activists and celebrity women who signed our open letter to Congress demanding full funding for the EPA. We also recognize the women of color in Congress who were the very first to speak out against cuts to the EPA in the budget bill, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18). It is efforts like these that we believe clearly articulated why the EPA is important to protecting the health of our most precious resource, our children.
That said, we do not take for granted that this budget provides needless funding for a border fence and leaves out support for the thousands of Dreamers who are doing all they can to comply with our laws and remain productive contributors to our society. It is our hope that Congress take seriously the need to support our Dreamers as well. We will continue to fight for our most vulnerable as we build an inclusive green economy for all.
To learn more about Green For All's moms mobilize campaign, visit greenforall.org/momsmobilize
Green For All is a climate and economic justice organization working at the intersection of poverty and pollution to create an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Green For All is an initiative of the Dream Corps, which brings people together to solve America’s toughest problems by backing initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity for all.
Congressman Cleaver, Green For All, and Local Leaders Speak Out Against the U.S. EPA’s Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2018
Contact: Michelle Romero, Green For All, email@example.com, 408-550-3121
Congressman Cleaver, Green For All, and Local Leaders Speak Out Against the U.S. EPA’s Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
Pictured above: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05) gives opening remarks.
KANSAS CITY, MO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in Kansas City yesterday holding a public hearing on its proposal to repeal a program known as the Clean Power Plan. Local leaders joined Green For All and Congressman Cleaver for a community conversation in advance of the hearing, to discuss the Clean Power Plan’s implications for community health, jobs, and the local environment.
“Many of the harmful emissions torching the planet are also making our communities sick. We’re seeing high rates of asthma, cancer, and pollution-related disease in our communities,” said Michelle Romero, deputy director of Green For All, a national climate justice initiative founded by Van Jones. “People of color are hit first and worst because of their proximity to the dirtiest sources. Investing in clean energy can reverse this trend and improve public health.”
The Clean Power Plan, enacted by the Obama administration, is aimed at combating climate change by reducing pollution from power plants. Power plants account for 40 percent of the United States’ climate pollution.
U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-05) said, “We know that clean energy works. Under the Obama Administration, Recovery Act stimulus funding helped to deploy clean energy and build green infrastructure right here in Kansas City, Missouri. We even put solar on the roof of a local high school. We need more of that now and we need the Clean Power Plan.”
Sixty-eight percent of African Americans in the U.S. live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, and 80 percent of Latinos live in areas that do not meet basic air quality standards set by the U.S. EPA. Kansas City and St. Louis have the highest rates of asthma in the state of Missouri. Local residents hoped that programs like the Clean Power Plan would accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy to improve conditions in heavily impacted communities.
Margaret J. May, former executive director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council said, "Our ability to live healthy and well is largely dependent on the quality of air we breathe. Clean energy principles must be followed by industry and individuals to ensure a future for our children."
Clyde McQueen, President and CEO of Full Employment Council added, “Clean energy is not a matter of how, but when. Fossil fuels are finite by their very existence and we need to plan for their eventual depletion, and eventual transition to a green economy. For once we can proactively plan for the employment and business opportunities that will be created and ensure that the unemployed and undercapitalized in rural and urban areas are not the last to be included in economic opportunities of the eventual green economy."
Over the past year, clean energy jobs in solar and wind have outpaced job growth in the rest of the U.S. economy, growing 12 times faster. From 2015-2016, the clean energy sector in Missouri added 2,772 jobs, growing three times faster that the state economy as a whole. Climate change would increase the costs of business in Missouri by threatening economic activity and services while pushing insurance premiums higher, putting 110,838 small businesses at risk.
“Clean energy and mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has been a high priority in Kansas City over the past decade, and all of our efforts in these areas include promoting social equity and creating new local jobs,” said Dennis Murphey, chief environmental officer for Kansas City, Missouri.
The focus on building more sustainable energy infrastructure in Kansas City is paying off, but local leaders agree more is needed.
Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said, “The Clean Power Plan would no doubt boost an already thriving local clean energy economy that is driven both by the dropping price of wind and solar energy, efficiency improvements to homes and businesses, and electric vehicles.”
“In the Westside neighborhood, we’re teaching residents about energy efficiency and putting solar on affordable housing,” said Gloria Ortiz-Fisher, executive director of the Westside Housing Organization. “We’re making housing more affordable for low-income residents by reducing the cost of their energy bills. Programs like the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Energy Incentive Program would enable us to continue this work.”
The Clean Power Plan would result in a 37 percent reduction in harmful carbon emissions from power plants in the state of Missouri by the year 2030, and a 44 percent reduction in the state of Kansas. Following the community conversation, residents travelled to the U.S. EPA hearing to join people from across the region in asking the current administration to keep the Clean Power Plan.
Green For All is a national initiative to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Green For All is an initiative of the Dream Corps, a social justice accelerator founded by Van Jones.
KSHB: Green For All discusses importance of the green economy, Clean Power Plan on Kansas City morning show
They are working to educate on opportunities available with clean energy and how each one of us can help reduce our carbon footprint. Kim Noble and Kerene Taylor, of Green For All advance solutions that bring clean energy, green jobs, and opportunities to the poorest, and most polluted communities in the country. https://www.kshb.com/entertainment/kcl/home-kcl/daily-ways-you-can-be-green-at-homeRead more
This Presidents Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate some of the “greenest” Presidents in our nation’s history. You might be surprised to find that half of them are Republican.
Let’s start with President Richard Nixon (Republican). As president, Richard Nixon passed some of the most important environmental legislation in U.S. history. The focus of his efforts was protecting people from environmental hazards. Nixon passed the Clean Air Act to control air pollution across the country. The law is thought to be one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world. He passed the Clean Water Act to control pollutant discharges into U.S. waters. This law protects drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans from becoming contaminated. He also passed the Endangered Species Act, which of course protects endangered species from going extinct and preserves our food chain.
Nixon is also the one who established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. The U.S. EPA was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment. To sum it up, Nixon, a Republican, enacted some of the toughest environmental regulations of any president in U.S. history.
Ironically, every one of his landmark achievements is now at risk of being rolled back, eliminated, or defunded by current President Donald Trump, who claims environmental regulations are bad for the economy. Click here to take action. But enough about Trump.
President Jimmy Carter (Democrat) is another president worth our attention. In 1979, Carter became the first president to ever put solar panels on the White House. At the time, the Arab oil embargo had caused a national energy crisis, with oil prices jumping from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel. Carter called for a campaign to conserve energy across the country and decided to put up 32 solar panels on the White House to set a good example. In his first year as president, he created the Department of Energy, passed the Soil and Water Conservation Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
He also helped to further strengthen the Clean Air Act by setting limits on industrial sources of pollution. A critical component was establishing fines equal to the cost of cleanup for companies that did not comply. Carter understood the American people shouldn’t foot the bill for industry’s pollution (something Democrats and Republicans today should seriously think about).
In early 1980, Carter signed legislation to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up abandoned toxic waste dumps (aka “Superfund sites”). And, he pushed for the passage of the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which provided special protection to over 100 million acres of land, including national parks, national forests, and wild and scenic rivers. All of these achievements land him on our list of “green” presidents to celebrate.
Next up, President Teddy Roosevelt (Republican). President Roosevelt was considered the first modern environmentalist president. During his presidency, Roosevelt took aggressive actions to preserve the balance of the natural world. He signed at least 50 executive orders protecting natural resources and wildlife. For example, in 1903, plumes for women’s hats were in high demand and that had led to the decimation of shorebird populations. After visiting Pelican Island in Florida to see for himself, Roosevelt created the Pelican Island Bird Reservation.
Through the Forest Reserve Act, he protected 150 million acres of land as public land. This eventually lead to the creation of the U.S. Forest Service. Year after year, he continued his crusade, protecting more land and more species from being devastated.
Roosevelt was an avid hunter and taxidermist, but he understood that if the actions of hunters, miners, and timber cutters weren’t controlled, they could pose a serious threat to entire ecosystems. For Roosevelt, it was about balance, so that everyone who enjoyed and depended upon our natural resources could continue to benefit.
Last but not least is President Barack Obama (Democrat). Now, we should probably mention that Green For All has a special affinity for this president. Inspired by our co-founder Van Jones’s best-selling book The Green Collar Economy, Jones served at the President’s request as special advisor on green jobs.
Many of Obama’s policies helped to jumpstart the green economy and bring it to disadvantaged communities. In 2009, Obama’s stimulus package not only helped the U.S. out of the Great Recession, it also invested billions in clean energy technology. These programs helped to make wind and solar energy more affordable in the last nine years. Obama also helped to fund the Green Jobs Act, which put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work building a more sustainable future.
What some people probably don’t know is that Obama also fought to bring justice to coal miners. He put forth the POWER Plus Plan, which would have deployed $1 billion for workforce and economic development in coal communities feeling the effects of a global transition to a new clean energy economy. His proposal was blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress. But that didn’t stop him. He found a way for his idea to move forward through the POWER Initiative. This initiative began awarding some smaller grants available for economic and workforce development projects in Appalachia and other coal communities across the country.
Obama also played an international leadership role on climate change, signing on to a global agreement to curb climate change known as the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2015, he introduced the Clean Power Plan to address one of the largest sources of the U.S.’s share of climate pollution: power plants. It was the first ever federal rule to limit pollution from power plants. Overall, Obama made protecting the environment a important cornerstone of his presidency.
Take action to defend these presidents’ legacy:
Tell the U.S. EPA to protect Clean Air.
Help us spread the message on social media (use #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay):
- Name two Republican presidents who were "green." Check your answers at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
Who was the first President to put solar panels on the White House? Check your answer at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
- Can you name four Presidents who were "green"? Hint: Being green isn’t partisan: greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
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A Refugee No Longer in Flight
Vien Truong, the new CEO of the Van Jones-founded Dream Corps, digs in for a fight.
If you want to see Vien Truong get angry, ask her about lead in paint chips.
“My kids play in the playground, in the dirt, and then put [contaminated soil] in their mouths,” says Truong, a longtime activist and resident of Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, where inhabitants have more lead in their blood than the residents of Flint, Michigan. The mother of four-year-old twins, Truong was recently named the CEO of Dream Corps, the nonprofit founded by another well-known environmental fighter, Van Jones. “They’re also at a risk because of a lack of investment in this community,” she continues, “a failed school system, increased job insecurity, and increasing levels of desperation, which lead to increasing levels of crime and violence.” Because of all these problems, she says, people who live in Fruitvale are expected to live eight years less than those in Walnut Creek. “My work my whole life has been to change that.”
Oregon has an opportunity to pass a bold law that would cap and price climate pollution. If this bill passes, the largest polluters will finally be made to pay for their pollution. Best of all, proceeds will go toward putting Oregonians to work in the community making clean power like solar available to more people, upgrading homes and businesses to use less energy and save people money, building affordable housing near transit and investing in more transportation options. We're inviting you to join us for a day of action in support of passing Clean Energy Jobs legislation in Oregon.Read more