Lawyer activist Van Jones calls for a green collar job corps to train “train urban youth of color to retrofit U.S. cities so that they are environmentally sustainable” and for the politics of environmentalism to become more inclusive and include the working class too.
We are seeing a new kind of social-uplift environmentalism, and a new image of an environmentalist with a hard hat, a lunch bucket, and rolled-up sleeves: somebody who says, “Give us the tools. Give us the technology. We can fix America.” I believe this kind of working-class eco-populism will become the dominant political mode for progressives in the new century as we put people to work weatherizing buildings, installing solar panels, building windmills, and creating public-transportation systems.
The people who are dominating the environmental discussion right now want everybody to watch their movie, sign their petition, and march in line behind them. But the movement cannot grow the way we need it to unless we let the working-class guy and the undocumented worker and the poor kid from the inner city articulate their own agendas.
Absolutely. Not only does the working class need to be a part of the environmental movement, their inclusion will change it for the better too.
Celcias has more on Van Jones’ ideas.