Greening the Ghetto

The current New Yorker profiles Van Jones, an Oakland-based environmental activist who advocates for building bridges between chronically under-employed, African-American communities and the (coming) green jobs boom.

As anyone who has attended, say, a type gathering can attest, many of those in most urgent of liberal largess often aren’t a part of many of the typical liberal conversations. Take environmental activists. Picture a green activist. Maybe somebody mid 30s or older, Berkeley type hair, maybe a graduate degree, nice Prius, reusable water bottles and grocery bags, Trader Joes…now picture a person, a high school drop-out, somebody our green activist might describe as an “urban youth.” A guy, let’s say, who is in chronic need of some support, of a system that maybe offers a future, a job…

The pain facing cities like Oakland and the pain facing our planet – shouldn’t solutions that seek to ease the pain of both be earnestly explored? Van Jones makes the case.


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