Posts tagged ‘politics’

Barbara Boxer Falls in Line

Penned by Nick

This morning Solar Richmond hosted Senator Barbara Boxer. Amongst a well-orchestrated public relations production, about 100 attendees from all walks of society milled about and got to know each other.

At a time when folks are wondering “where are the green jobs?”, this place seemed to have all the answers. People were together, training, and envisioning–indeed, realizing!–a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

But after the applause had died down and the press disappeared, I got a chance to sit down with Solar Richmond and hear about how hard it is to really change the world.

The reality of the situation, despite all the applause, was that there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.

Graduates from these programs still find too few career opportunities, and the support structure that surrounds them needs to be reinforced with more than just hard skills training.

As Senator Boxer noted many times, these graduates are our future, and their futures are tied to a cleaner, greener economy.

If we are to truly make an inclusive transition to the green economy, we need to do more to help at-risk citizens from falling into the trap of unemployment.

The self-confidence and sense of satisfaction these kids gain from programs like Solar Richmond is immeasurable. They literally beam out the good vibes. But they also need help polishing off their corporate personas and skills so that they don’t pass the class only to fail the real-world test.

A lack of reliable transporation, credible role models, and access to job opportunities daily reminds us all that it’s not easy to climb up above the fray of broken families, drugs, discrimination, and a broken social support system.

The Obama Administration is investing heavily in next generation job training programs. The programs promise to be premised on partnership, and in the process, bring together a stronger family of organizations in which to raise the next generation of environmental leaders.

Along with Senator Boxer, Solar Richmond, and the Administration, I hope that we all can continue to come closer together to support this vision, and in the process, ensure everyone benefits from a cleaner, greener tomorrow.


June 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Horrified. Hopeful.

Penned by Nick

The NY Times covered a breaking story titled, “Critics Assail British Police for Harsh Tactics During the G-20 Summit Meeting“.

The footage (above), is horrifying. In defining the police’s perception of the protesters as the “proto-enemy”, the climate change debate has moved beyond the semantics and become frighteningly real.

Smart mobs of impassioned people are self-organizing to push for action on issues climate change. Popular demand for environmental stewardship is overwhelming. Alas, governments are slow–at best–to respond, and corporations continue to externalize their environmental costs of doing business. With unemployment at decade-long highs, civil unrest is growing, and putting people back to work is increasingly not enough.

Van Jones and other global leaders continue to emphasize the importance of supporting integrative solutions to poverty, health, and empowerment. Green collar jobs are one “pathway out of poverty” that will bring us a step closer to harnessing the power of market-based solutions to these crises. Putting people back to work in responsible, meaningful careers must happen now, if we are to reconcile social and environmental injustices that are at the roots of many inequalities: extreme poverty in the face of first-world over-consumption, curable diseases gone untreated due to the high cost of drugs, and illiteracy despite the spread of the internet.

The G20 will continue to be a forum for political theatre until true consensus translates into measurable results on crises like climate change: “Global warming is causing more than 300,000 deaths and about $125 billion in economic losses each year, according to a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, an organization led by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general.

Change must come, and it must come soon–the people and the times demand it.

May 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

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