Monday, June 9, 2008

Green = One Earth, One People

The green movement has been described as an effort to re-create our entire economy to be low-carbon, conserve and preserve, reduce reliance on oil, become more healthy and environmentally-friendly, and become less toxic. This societal and economic rebuilding is expected to create a wave of new green-collar jobs. However, the "green" movement has been accused of lacking diversity.

There are many leaders seeking to widen the scope of the environmental movement and make it more inclusive. Although attempting to list all the environmental diversity leaders would be impossible, here is a small list of some names you should know:

Van Jones - lawyer, activist, and founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. He is considered the lead advocate of the green-collar jobs movement and green economic development for urban America. He is also a co-founder of Green for All, "a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to life people out of poverty." He is a regular contributor at Huffington Post.

Majora Carter - an Advisory member for Green for All, she is founder of Sustainable South Bronx, a "non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation" which runs the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program, "one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems." Watch a 2006 presentation she gave or the more recent May 2008 interview with Tavis Smiley. Hear an April 2008 Tavis Smiley interview with both Majora Carter and Van Jones.

Charles Jordan - has an impressive list of "firsts" including the first African American Chairman of The Conservation Fund. Listen to his NPR interview and read the recommendations of Bonta & Jordan for diversifying the environmental movement.

Marcelo Bonta - shares the broad vision of diversifying the environmental movement to audiences around the U.S. He is the founder of the Young Environmental Professionals of Color and the Center for Diversity and the Environment in Portland.

Roger Rivera - Chair of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change which works to ensure that Latinos have an integral voice in the national dialogue on climate change.

Sanjayan - Lead Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, he seeks to be a "role model of color in the conservation movement." Listen to his interview "Where are the Green Minorities?"

Organizations working toward green and environmental diversity that you should know:

EcoEquity - seeks to contribute to a just solution to the climate crisis by emphasizing the importance of equity principles in all aspects of the policy response, by producing political and economic analyses that highlight equity issues, and by developing practical proposals for equitable climate policies.

Keeping It Wild - seeks to bring together members of diverse conservation communities, with a special focus on the perspectives of African Americans and other people of color, and hosts the annual National African American Earth Day Summit.

The Apollo Alliance - a leading proponent of clean energy investment and green collar job creation in the new economy.

Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative - seeks to represent and empower U.S. communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and low-income people with a demand for climate justice.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice - "a non-profit, community-based, environmental justice organization dedicated to building community power to fight environmental racism and improve environmental health, protection and policy in communities of color."

Black. Brown. Green. - seeks to integrate people of color and their needs and issues with the movement for environmental sustainability.

If we are to re-create our entire economy, let us learn from mistakes of the past and make this economic and societal re-creation an equal opportunity and inclusive effort. One earth, one people.

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