From Climate Justice to Green Jobs: Building a National Movement

Hi Everyone! I could not have made the transition to a full-time employee in a more exciting moment. My first two full weeks of work took place between We Act’s (West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc.) National Advancing Climate Justice conference and the Blue Green Alliance’s Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference. Both of these conferences offered an important look into the pressing climate justice issues, the opportunities of a new presidential administration, and the future of communities of color within a green economy. The following post offers a look into both of these events as well as highlights from these two conferences.

Advancing Climate Justice: Transforming the Economy, Public Health, & Our Environment:

We Act 2009We Act for Environmental Justice is a non-profit, community-based, environmental justice organization dedicated to building community power to fight environmental racism and improve environmental health, protection and policy in communities of color. We Act’s Advancing Climate Justice 20th Anniversary National Conference took place the 29th and 30th of January at New York’s Fordham University and brought together leading climate justice activists and key policy makers pushing an environmental justice agenda at the national level. There were a number of highlights including presentations by our grantees, which moved conference participants, but the closing plenary by Lisa Jackson, the new EPA administrator, was fantastic. In her first public appearance as administrator, she made her commitment to a climate justice policy, which positively impacts communities of color clear and encouraged advocates, organizers, and activists to continue pushing the administration so the needs of communities of color are met.

Blue Green Alliance Good Jobs, Green Jobs: Making a Down Payment on the Green Economy

blugreall2Through workshops, plenary presentations and media events, the 2009 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference focused participants on a combination of policy changes, public investments, and funding mechanisms that are necessary to accelerate the growth of the green economy; quantified and illustrated the job growth potential of global warming solutions and green chemistry; demonstrated the breadth of the coalition that supports the transition to a clean, renewable energy economy; and highlighted the potential of the green economy to forge a new social agenda that lifts Americans out of poverty, improves public health, and strengthens our middle class. With over 2,000 participants, this conference built alliances between environmental justice advocates, union members, policy makers, labor scholars, and environmentalists in order to identify a clear path towards achieving a justice green economy. Held in Washington D.C. from February 4th through the 6th, it built on the excitement of the new administration and created a number of opportunities to hear from incoming policy makers. With such a rich conference, there are a number of highlights, but for my own learning it was meeting with the Just Green funders and working with leaders in philanthropy to develop an agenda for funding and supporting the efforts of a green jobs movement.

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