When Van Jones speaks, people listen. Whether it’s a public library full of unemployed high school drop-outs, an audience of environmentalists at San Franciso’s Green Expo, or a board meeting of Wall Street big shots. And it’s not just due to his piercing brown eyes and boyish charm (sorry, ladies; he’s married).
Whether you’re talking grassroots minority issues or a nationwide renewable power superhighway, Van Jones is a leading voice of our time. So, it’s no surprise that the Obama administration is all ears to his ideas about how to solve our nation’s two biggest problems – unemployment and climate change – at the same time.
Though he is not exactly our nation’s new “Green Jobs Czar,” as, like many excited folks in the blogosphere, we reported earlier, we can hail Van Jones as the new Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. (He was quick to point out that the word “czar” was never a part of it, though I personally think it sounds way cooler). His job, as described by him, will be to help shape the administration’s energy and climate policy, so that climate solutions produce jobs and justice for all Americans.
Jones is on schedule to start work in Washington DC next week, which means leaving Green For All, the nonprofit he founded just over a year ago to help bring people out of poverty through green job training and development. He’s placed this rapidly growing organization into the capable hands of Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. And is confident that she can continue the success that Green For All has been enjoying.
So what does Van Jones’ new appointment mean for America? It means that an inclusive green economy is becoming a reality rather than a great marketing plan. It means that the movement for green jobs for our low-income populations is growing from inspiration to implementation. It means that the white house is taking bold steps toward a focus on not just what’s best for our people, but also what’s best for our planet.