When San Francisco’s Sunset Reservoir solar project is completed later this year, it will be one of the largest installations of its kind in the country. A sea of 25,000 solar panels kicking out five megawatts of clean, green energy, Sunset Reservoir holds the distinction of drawing 30 percent of its project workforce from the city’s most economically disadvantaged communities, including Bayview Hunters Point.
Sunset Reservoir also holds the distinction of being the first solar project in the country to be shut down by a community protest.
“Green jobs” has become the latest buzz-word, with stimulus monies pouring into green job creation programs around the country. There is a window of opportunity to ensure equity, transparency, and accountability in the green economy, as demonstrated by emerging success stories. Blacks and Latinos experience unemployment rates that are 70 and 50 percent higher, respectively, than the rate for whites. This is the green promise, that those communities most devastated by the recession -- women and people of color – can mobilize to ride the green wave.
The Obama administration’s special adviser for environmental jobs, Van Jones, has resigned citing what he described as a “vicious smear campaign” against him. For the past month, Fox News has run a series of reports on Jones’s alleged association with communists and his decision to sign a petition calling for a congressional probe of the 9/11 attacks. Jones is the founding president of Green for All and author of the book The Green Collar Economy. We speak with James Rucker, who co-founded the group Color of Change with Van Jones, and with Malkia Cyril, founder of the Center for Media Justice. We also talk to Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.
Two weeks ago sacked workers on the Isle of Wight, off the British coast, occupied their plant to protest the loss of 600 skilled jobs. The Danish owned transnational Vestas Turbines closed the manufacturing plant and the accompanying research facility claiming that it was unprofitable. This was the only wind turbine manufacturer in Britain.
President Obama devoted nearly $60 billion of his stimulus package to building a new green-based economy rich in renewable energy and strategies to cut carbon. But despite the price tag, not one green job yet exists. It comes down to a problem of etymology. No one can yet agree on what a green job actually is. The working definition paints a broad stroke: a job that's good for the economy while simultaneously healing the earth. But that leaves lots open to interpretation—natural gas is technically a cleaner fuel than crude oil, but it's still unsustainable—making it difficult, if not impossible, to measure whether eco-based jobs are being created and whether, as the administration has claimed, they're the saviors of a sagging economy.
In large part, the very idea behind a green job ensures there will never be a full definition, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics agreed in April to start measuring data on them. (Critics, in response, quickly suspected that the BLS, an agency supposed to measure objective data, could soon help carry water for an administration eager to show the stimulus is working.) Several environmental advocates polled by NEWSWEEK defined green jobs the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously defined obscenity: I'll know it when I see it.
Luke Cole, a San Francisco attorney who was one of the pioneers in the field of environmental justice - filing lawsuits for poor plaintiffs or people of color whose communities were being ravaged by corporate polluters - died in a head-on car crash Saturday in Uganda. He was 46.
Mr. Cole and his wife, Nancy Shelby, were on vacation and traveling on a rural road in western Uganda about 7:30 a.m. when "a truck veered to Luke's side of the road," said Mr. Cole's father, Herbert "Skip" Cole.
Mr. Cole died, and his wife was injured. She was flown to Amsterdam, where she underwent an eye operation Monday, Herbert Cole said.
One environmental justice advocate contends that before communities of color go green, they must confront the trauma of white privilege.
Last fall, there was a Slow Food Nation event held in San Francisco. The city's Civic Center was turned into a temporary show-and-tell community garden and vendors sold overpriced organic foods. People spoke on the importance of learning to grow our own food and cook it fresh, leaving the world of microwaves and processed foods behind. At one point, my mom and I walked past a middle-aged white man speaking to a small crowd about meat recipes. He lectured on how they needed to learn to use the entire animal, leaving none to waste. My mom laughed and said to me in Tagalog, "Chinese and Filipino people have been doing that forever. This dude is so ignorant." I laughed, reminding her that all peoples before industrial capitalism used the entire animal or vegetable.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – The 5th World Water Forum (WWF) is now in full swing in Istanbul Turkey. Water justice activists have convened from around the world to challenge the corporate driven agenda of the Forum while presenting an alternative vision for water justice that upholds and protects water as a human right and ecologist trust.
Such a response to the Forum is not new; every three years, the opening of each Forum has been marked by demonstrations, counter forums and other actions around the world that seek to challenge the role of private water corporations in setting the agenda for global water justice and policy.
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The current thrust toward energy independence may offer the Navajo Nation an opportunity to create green jobs, initiate an economic renewal and revive traditional enterprises, according to tribal advocates.
“Indian people live off the land, so in a sense they have basically practiced green jobs,” said Joshua Lavar Butler, communications director for the Navajo Nation Council.
A new Navajo Green Economy Coalition is preparing a resolution for the council that, if approved, would allocate $6 to $10 million for a Navajo Green Energy Commission and Navajo Green Economy Fund.
Elected officials from around Alameda County gathered in San Leandro on Friday to discuss how the county can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions — despite harsh economic times — and create a "greener" future to ward off permanent climate change.
"If, in fact, we don't find time to clean up our environments," county Supervisor Keith Carson said, "then we are not handing over to the next generation a place of improvement, but rather a place that has been forecast by many to be a place of doom."