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The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 7, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“This book illustrates the link between the struggle to restore the environment and the need to revive the US economy. Van Jones demonstrates conclusively that the best solutions for the survivability of our planet are also the best solutions for everyday Americans.” (Al Gore )
“Van Jones has a unique ability to inspire people of all colors, classes and generations to uplift vulnerable people, while protecting our vulnerable planet. His sparkling intelligence, powerful vision and deep empathy are all on full display in The Green-Collar Economy.” (Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives )
“The baton is passed to climate advocate Van Jones who clearly sees that our future must be green and must include everyone. His powerful new book ‘The Green Collar Economy’ shows us how to accomplish it.” (Laurie David, global warming activist )
“Van Jones’ authentic and passionate arguments trump the status quo. In The Green Collar Economy he holds the welfare of our neediest people front and center as he lays out a viable plan for the remainder of the 21st century.” (Tavis Smiley, Author, Television and Radio Host )
“Pay attention: we are witnessing the debut of a major American voice.” (Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest )
“It’s rare that someone with such a gift for speaking is able to convey the energy and excitement of his message equally well in writing. With The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones surpasses all expectations. The country seriously needs his take on the environment and the economy.” (Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco )
“Van Jones reminds us that the worst of times can also be the best of times-- that a nation with an abundance of resources it’s wasting -- beginningwith its youth -- has an enormous opportunity to stop foolishly bankruptingitself by chasing resources it is running out of -- like oil.” (Carl Pope, Executive Director Sierra Club )
“Jones accomplishes the super heroic feat of linking together the solutions for poverty, the energy crisis, and global warming. Van is a visionary of our times, and one of my personal heroes. Every relevant 21st century leader needs to read Van’s book.” (John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO, Operation Hope )
“Van’s words echo the sentiments of many indigenous communities, who have endured the effects of coal strip mining, uranium mining and mega dams. The Green Collar Economy outlines industrial society’s path towards a just future.” (Winona LaDuke, Native American and environmental activist )
“Once in a very long while, a truly original voice enters our national political discussion--and changes the conversation for the better. [...]Van Jones does just that. The Green Collar Economy lets us envision a world in which the Earth and everyday people both thrive.” (Senator Tom Daschle )
“In The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones turns conventional environmentalism on its head. Watch out: this book could change everything.” (Larry Brilliant, Google.org )
“As the Earth warms and the oceans rise, the civil and human rights agenda must expand. No one has worked harder to level the playing field in the rapidly growing green economy than Van Jones.” (Ben Jealous, President, NAACP )
“In The Green-Collar Economy, Van Jones has penned a working man’s manifesto for the solar age. When green solutions finally catch on among everyday folks, Van and this book will deserve the lion’s share of the credit.” (Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus )
“The Green Collar Economy is a both a rallying call and a road map for how we can save the planet, reduce our dependency on budget-busting fossil fuels, and bring millions of new jobs to America.” (Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund President and New York Times best-selling co-author of "Earth: The Sequel" )
“Van Jones represents a new generation of environmental leader – one who sees the Greening of America as both a moral imperative and a nuts and bolts economic issue. His passion, intelligence, and idealism shine through every page of this must-read book.” (Arianna Huffington )
“Brother Van Jones is a visionary who spells out real solutions in black and white - and, of course, green. Van’s vision of a thriving, green economy doesn’t have throw-away things or throw-away people. It’s the kind of environmentalism everyone can get behind.” (Mario Van Peebles, actor and producer, Mario's Green House )
“Jones, the head of the non-profit Green For All and the author of the new book The Green-Collar Economy, could represent the future of environmentalism in America and a way for the movement to survive and even thrive through the coming recession. (Time )
“In looking at the bigger picture, Jones provides ideas for rebuilding infrastructure and creating alternative energy sources, which would have the double bonus of boosting the economy through increased employment and higher wages while decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels . . . recommended for all libraries.” (Library Journal )
“Van Jones is someone who makes you feel like an underachiever, no matter if you’re a NASA scientist or a captain of industry. . . . Echoes of his ideas can be heard among lawmakers from Sacramento to Washington...” (San Francisco Chronicle )
“Van Jones has made a national name for himself by finding one solution to three persistent problems: poverty, racial inequality, and the environmental crisis. He wants to solve these problems by creating green jobs filled by the poor and people of color—the groups often left behind during technological advances.” (Boston Globe )
“In less than two years, Jones has risen from local grass-roots organizer to shepherd of a national movement to build an inclusive green economy... Jones is making sure that our planet and our people will not just survive but also thrive in a clean-energy economy.” (Leonardo DiCaprio in Time magazine )
Top Customer Reviews
My largest complaint is that so much of this book (the first 65 pages) covers nothing but Hurricane Katrina and race relations. You would never tell from the cover descriptions or introduction that this really is a book about race and class. Van Jones comes across as obsessed with this issue, yet fails to convince me of a real connection between race and the environment.
Van Jones is also very non-specific throughout most of the book. He desperately needs more evidence, comparisons, and statistics to back up his claims. Not until the second to last chapter do we learn of specific policy solutions.
The Green Collar Economy also neglects some of the most important green issues. He dedicates less than one page to suburban sprawl vs. transit oriented development, which is really a paramount topic. Intercity rail is barely mentioned. He rarely brings up Europe, even though the US has so much to learn from them (How can you write book on anything green without drawing comparisons to Europe?).
Bottom line is I'm not sure who this book is for. Environmentalists will be unsatisfied with the lack of new information, and conservatives will remain unconvinced that Van Jones' proposals will actually work.
This error should not detract too badly from Jones' basic message; there is a lot of work to be done in the U.S. to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, retrofitting buildings with solar, wind, and/or geothermal systems, assessing existing buildings for cost-effective improvements, and the list goes on.
Jones' does take up the mantle of the "new" environmental movement, one which focuses on the relationship between race and being green. In this movement it is no coincidence that the Katrina response was nearly nonexistent while flooding in Iowa and elsewhere along the Mississippi River a few years earlier immediately brought out thousands of state-funded and federally-funded efforts to "save" the unfortunate residents along the banks of the river. When the victims of catastrophe were shades of brown less effort was made than when the faces of the victims were white.
This "new" movement focuses on the role of employment and middle-class attainment by labor-intensive projects to retrofit and upgrade the U.S. energy system. Since the majority of these retrofits are in urban settings, this is an opportunity for the U.S. to lift tens of millions of urban poor into low-middle-income careers. Poor people cannot afford a Prius, solar panels, organic groceries or even post-consumer recycled content toilet paper if they cannot afford rent and food.
Jones makes several useful points. U.S. Policy regarding alternative energy sources has been temporary and haphazard (at best) which leaves decision-making for ten and twenty year payback projects virtually impossible. The current green movement pays more attention to idyllic pastoral themes than the reality that NYC residents produce radically small carbon footprints because they live without cars, in highly efficient apartments (nearly always more efficient than stand-alone houses), and pay exoribitant refuge and disposal fees so they tend to reduce, reuse and recycle at higher than average rates. This pastoral idealism has left millions of city dwellers, especially the poorest, without a voice in the green movement.
Three stars - the assumption that overlooks the possibility of outsourcing production cost this book one star, and the second deduction is for the overkill on faults of the green movement as it was when he started writing. The book jacket and description are accurate. This is a book about the modern green movement, the role of economic growth/development in solving environmental problems, and social justice (race included). Anyone pretending to be blind-sided by a discussion of race within the context of the green movement either did not read the book description, jacket, or reviews, or is being disingenuous.
"It is true that we don't have any throwaway species or resources. We don't have any throwaway children, throwaway neighborhoods, or throwaway nations either. Therefore, the green economy must do more than reclaim thrown-away stuff. It must also reclaim thrown away lives and thrown-away places. And it must reclaim the thrown-away values that insist we are all members of one human family, with sacred obligations to each other.
In the United States, especially, we have strayed far from these truths. The following facts are worth repeating. We represent only 4 percent of the world's population, but we are responsible for 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. And we now jail more than 25 percent of the world's prisoners. In other words, one out of every four carbon molecules superheating the atmosphere has our name on it, and one out of every four people locked up anywhere in the world is locked up in a U.S. jail or prison. Some say that number is closer to 50 percent. This is a disturbing testament to a profound moral failing: we are functioning as if we have a disposable planet--and disposable people.
We know deep inside us that all beings have value. All people are precious. All of creation has sacred, inherent worth. We must take a stand in defense of the children of all species--including our own."
Filled with solutions and food for thought, this book is still as relevant today for fixing our economic/ecological crisis.
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