The Skywriter

Guest blog: Getting inspired about green jobs with Van Jones

27
Jan

Guest blog: Getting inspired about green jobs with Van Jones

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I woke up Wednesday morning with a scratchy throat but also a whole lot of hope. This week was packed full of events, each one different, and each one inspiring. To kick things off, I was able to participate in a roundtable discussion with community leaders, legislators, business executives and one of my personal heroes, Van Jones, to talk about green jobs and the clean energy economy.

The conversation ran the gamut from energy efficiency to the disappointing failure of the Senate to pass meaningful climate legislation at the federal level. We also discussed the small bills such as a federal RES, which we need to support while also protecting the Clean Air Act. While the climate change movement has some serious threats to respond to -- Newt Gingrich just called for the disintegration of the EPA -- and there are several bills coming up that aim to take away the Clean Air Act’s ability to regulate carbon, there are also a lot of exciting opportunities at the state and federal level.

Next, I had the opportunity to lead a climate activist training for 30+ volunteers. I'm always happily amazed when people are willing to take time out of their busy lives to attend volunteer events, but this was one of the smartest, most passionate, ready-to-act groups I’ve ever met. Many of the attendees were already active in the climate movement, working on projects to retrofit their churches, teaching classes at local colleges on climate change or planning rallies and events -- not to mention Bill Bradbury, our former Secretary of State, who was one of the first climate presenters to work with Al Gore.

I think I may have learned more from them then they did from me. Over the course of the training, it became clear to me that while we have a huge fight in front of us at both the state and national level, we are building an incredible movement full of people from all walks of life. As Van Jones said, "We must do better." After my meeting last night, I truly believe we can.

Jamie Hogue is the Oregon Field Representative for Climate Solutions.
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