Author seeks to renew through ‘Green Collar Economy’

Van Jones (right) with Laura Flanders at the Live From Main Street town hall in Denver Aug. 24. (Photo/Steve Rhodes, Flickr)

Van Jones (right) with Laura Flanders at the Live From Main Street town hall in Denver Aug. 24. (Photo/Steve Rhodes, Flickr)

Van Jones, author of the forthcoming book “The Green Collar Economy,” told a Denver audience Monday that the future of revitalizing this country’s spirit, economy and quality of life can be found by developing jobs in alternative energy.

“We want a solution-oriented environmentalism now,” Jones told an audience of media, activists and politicians in The Big Tent, a media lounge in downtown Denver sponsored by a variety of sustainable energy and media organizations, including the Colorado Independent’s parent group, the Center or Independent Media.

He credited “stubborn” progressive movements throughout the 1990s for keeping the United States from indulging “its worst instincts” and “rescuing democracy” after Sept. 11, 2001 – all leading to this year’s historic Democratic National Convention.

“Barack Obama didn’t create the grassroots movement. The grassroots movement created Barack Obama,” Jones said.

But he cautioned that progressives must transition from pointing out what is wrong with the country to offering socially uplifting solutions.

In the next 10 years, the U.S. can develop 5 million “green collar jobs,” or manufacturing and labor jobs in alternative energy fields such as installing solar panels and running organic farms, which use less energy than factory farms, Jones said.

Jones founded Green for All as part of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2007 in an effort to combat what he considers American society’s two greatest ills: social inequality and environmental destruction.

Green for All works to raise awareness and to match advocates and organizations interested in providing well-paying, green jobs, which can help individual employees as well as the entire community by improving the
environment, according to the organization’s Web site.

Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish wind turbine manufacturing company, recently announced it had “resolved to build the world’s largest tower factory in Colorado,” in Pueblo, which is expected to need 450 to 550 employees.

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J.C. O'Connell

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