I flew home from a three-week trip to Mexico on Saturday, returning with a sarong I bought on the beach, some earrings I bought for my roommate and a nice tan. Apparently, some other travelers were not so lucky – carrying with them the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus.
This strain of flu, that has previously kept itself mostly to mammals of the pig variety, has now infected 1,000 people in Mexico and the U.S.. 68 of the reported cases have been fatal. Yesterday, the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Where did this virus come from? Why are humans suddenly being infected with this a previously unseen mutated virus? Why are the pigs trying to kill us?
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.