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Brandi Colander’s Blog

Kudos to Mr. Jones!

Brandi Colander

Posted October 24, 2008

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Van Jones, whose group Green for All has partnered with NRDC on various projects, has made the New York Times' best-sellers list. He talked with The Huffington Post's Nicholas Sabloff:

"Let’s tell our disaffected youth: “You can make more money if you put down that handgun and pick up a caulk gun.” Remember, adds Mr. Jones, “a big chunk of the African-American community is economically stranded. The blue-collar, stepping-stone, manufacturing jobs are leaving. And they’re not being replaced by anything. So you have this whole generation of young blacks who are basically in economic free fall.” Green-collar retrofitting jobs are a great way to catch them."

"After only one week in print, the book skyrocketed to number 12. Van Jones and the Green for All team attribute their success to the online buzz and networking surrounding the book: Although there isn’t a big budget for publicity and promotion, the team reached out to allies, friends, bloggers, and activists."

"Everyone is stunned," Jones told the Huffington Post. "Usually to get to number 12 the first week as a new author you've got to spend a million bucks or be on Oprah."

I met Van Jones years ago at Vermont Law School while he was on the lecture circuit. I had the opportunity to briefly get to know him and was encouraged by his warmth and openness; he simply has a way of pulling you in to his cause -- the environment. His conviction was recently reinforced in print upon the release of his New York Times Best-Seller, "The Green Collar Economy" this month.

Earning recognition as the "first African American to pen an environmental best-seller", Jones has demonstrated his ability to form alliances across sectors and promote an environmental agenda that is inclusive. This book provides the context that has been missing for many who have perhaps been intrigued by the notion of being an environmentalist but not certain as to how to engage in the discussion and movement. Jones has created a text that speaks specifically to this disconnect and provides action items and resources available to all.

It has often been my experience that those committed to the environment, are usually not individuals of pretense, they have a shared goal with similar values-their cause is their work. This is one of the reasons that I have found this area of study so critical and interesting. The importance of having a "Van Jones" exchange during the formative years of my environmental education is reinforced with this recent milestone. I am constantly encouraged by Van's accomplishments and hope that his vision will be embraced and fostered by individuals who never before saw their role in this movement. Furthermore, the strategies set forth in "The Green Collar Economy", with respect to remedying the economic and environmental injustices in our nation, provide real solutions to a country in need of a new course of action.

Kudos to Mr. Jones!

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