Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good Morning, The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones

Inkweaver Review (Nathan KP) gave me the Butterfly Award

Winslow Homer, The New Novel, 1877

Good Morning

I spent five hours in the garage while my oil was changed, my filter was changed, and my car was inspected. It was a long wait. I managed to finish Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger And Better From A Crisis 7 Essential Lessons For Surviving Disaster by Iam I. Mitroff. I did not much care for the book after a while, but it was better than the talk show hosts on the television in the waiting room. The television had this ridiculous thing on television, a large shrimp on a treadmill. Sometimes, things like this make you wonder at people. They at least had a decent cup of coffee to drink.

The Green Collar Economy How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones

After I came home because I am on vacation, I got to do what many people wish to do, lie down and read all day. I read The Green Collar Economy How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones. This book is not what I expected it is really not a book on finding solutions. It is a book motivating you to be green and come up with green solutions. In other words, it is focused on getting you to join up with a green social movement.

The first several chapters do focus on the combination of our energy, environmental, and economic crisis. His solution is to create a lot of green jobs. There was a very interesting section on Hurricane Katrina which I found quite informative.

The book really is not about business or finance, or even government like it claims to be. It is more about how you can be inspired to support a social initiative to green the country. The resources at the back of the book say it all; Green Worker Cooperatives, African American Environmental Association, B'more Green, Build It Green, Local Government For Sustainability, and many others.

This book is focused on a progressive green social movement. I kind of fit in here. Some of the themes are locally produced organic produce, public transportation, employing the ex-inmates in green jobs, environmental social justice, and similar ideas. Van Jones comes up with new terms, eco-equity and "The Green New Deal."

The central idea of eco-equity is that everyone should have a seat at the table in the new green economy. It should include issues like environmental justice, and creating jobs to clean up neighborhoods as well as urban agricultural initiatives.

"The Green New Deal" is the idea that we should rebuild the country along green lines. The central themes are more renewable energy, more energy efficient construction, retool our automobile factories to produce hybrids and electric cars, rebuild our national power grid, invest in clean technology. It is very much a populist ideal aimed at breaking environmentalism out of the elite green mentality.

I found the focus on community organization, government spending, and populism a little bit disconcerting. He evokes massive New Deal style green programs to jump start the economy out of its current conditions. Van Jones doesn't really go into how the economics or the policies would work. He paints a rosey idealistic go out and serve your country to make it better through environmentalism picture.

I wish he had brought the conversation down to earth a little bit. We need to have his vision tempered with some more real ideas like renewable energy cheaper than cole.
http://www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/ or the business advantages of investing in environmental technologies.

Another problem I had with this book is that it pictures environmentalism as being easy to do. It is not. It is quite hard to follow through with. This is a major problem with the environmental movement. I have always found health food stores, community organizations, and city council meetings hard to take sometimes. Putting recyclables in the proper cans, eating healthier, driving less, using more public transportation, and other simple things are not that easy.

I found the book to be very impractical, but at the same time inspiring and full of ideas. It is worth reading if you are a progressive inspired by environmental idealism. I don't think conservatives will like this book that much. It is written in a very partisan style.

There is an index, a resource list of organizations in the back which are mainly community focused, and a list of green companies. The book is clearly very popular. It was on the New York Times Bestseller List. I think it will widen the base for a green populist movement.


NathanKP said...

Looks like a good position to be in. Sadly it is about 30 degrees outside and cloudy here, but its still nice to imagine!


Unknown said...
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Book Calendar said...

Sometimes, I like to take that position on the couch while reading a novel inside.

NathanKP said...

Book Calendar, I have given you the Butterfly Award.

Thanks for writing such an interesting blog.