Van Jones, 38, wants to know: Why aren’t environmentalists and social justice activists already working together? He insists this is possible when building an environmentally sustainable economy and healthy environment for all.
Jones is working with politicians, business leaders, educators and community activists to develop such cooperation in Oakland, Calif., where he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in 1996 to tackle criminal justice issues.
“We are working with community colleges and labor unions and prison re-entry organizations to create a green job corps, where urban youths and workers will be taught to install solar panels, do organic gardening or retrofit buildings so they don’t leak energy.”
Jones believes that the safest communities have the best education and jobs for young people, and is “calling on environmentalists and human rights activists to join in a national drive to save the environment and improve the lives of the working poor”.