Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mario Van Peebles Inducts Van Jones into the Environmental Hall of Fame
I would like to honor my friend Van Jones for his commitment to the environment and the future of our planet. Van Jones is the founder and president of Green For All. Based in Oakland, California, it’s mission is to help build an inclusive, green economy − strong enough to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Van is a tireless advocate, championing "green-collar jobs and opportunities" for disadvantaged people. He is committed to creating "green pathways out of poverty," while greatly expanding the coalition fighting global warming.

Van has worked to combine solutions to America's two biggest problems: social inequality and environmental destruction. Under the slogan "green-collar jobs, not jails," he is calling for green economic development in urban America.

As an advocate for the toughest urban constituencies and causes, he has won many honors. These include the 1998 Reebok International Human Rights Award, the international Ashoka Fellowship, selection as a World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader," and the Rockefeller Foundation "Next Generation Leadership" Fellowship.

Van has served on the boards of numerous national environmental organizations. Presently, he is a board member of the National Apollo Alliance, which advocates for clean energy jobs. He is also a founding board member of 1Sky, a national coalition working to avert catastrophic climate change.

In 2007, Van helped the City of Oakland pass a "Green Jobs Corps" proposal; the City allocated funds to train Oakland residents in eco-friendly "green-collar jobs."

At the national level, Van worked successfully in 2007 with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007. That path-breaking, historic legislation authorized $125 million in funding to train 35,000 people a year in "green-collar jobs."

Van is also a co-founder of a new national coalition that promotes the idea of a national "Clean Energy Jobs Corps."

This multi-billion-dollar federal initiative would put hundreds of thousands of people to work rewiring and retrofitting the energy infrastructure of the United States.

In 2005, Van produced the "Social Equity Track" for the United Nations' World Environment Day celebration. UNWED 2005 drew dozens of mayors from around the world to San Francisco, where they developed policies promoting the concept of "Green Cities."

In 1996, Van co-founded (with Diana Frappier) the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, now located in Oakland, California. Named for an unsung civil rights heroine, the award-winning Center promotes alternatives to violence and incarceration. The Center, for which Van serves as board president, incubated Green For All in 2007 and spun it off in 2008.

A 1993 Yale Law graduate, Van is also a husband and father. He is proud to champion some of the most hopeful solutions to America's toughest challenges.