The Green Collar Economy

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Provocative, personal, and inspirational, The Green Collar Economy is not a dire warning but rather a substantive and viable plan for solving the biggest issues facing the country -- the failing economy and our devastated environment. From a distance, it appears that these two problems are separate, but when we look closer, the connection becomes unmistakable.

In The Green Collar Economy, acclaimed activist and political advisor Van Jones delivers a real solution that both rescues our economy and saves the environment. The economy is built on and powered almost exclusively by oil, natural gas, and coal -- all fast-diminishing nonrenewable resources. As supplies disappear, the price of energy climbs and nearly everything becomes more expensive. With costs and unemployment soaring, the economy stalls. Not only that, when we burn these fuels, the greenhouse gases they create overheat the atmosphere. As the headlines make clear, total climate chaos looms over us. The bottom line: we cannot continue with business as usual. We cannot drill and burn our way out of these dual dilemmas.

Instead, Van Jones illustrates how we can invent and invest our way out of the pollution-based grey economy and into the healthy new green economy. Built by a broad coalition deeply rooted in the lives and struggles of ordinary people, this path has the practical benefit of both cutting energy prices and generating enough work to pull the U.S. economy out of its present death spiral.

Rachel Carson's 1963 landmark book Silent Spring was the pivotal ecological examination of the last century. Now, rising above the impenetrable debate over the environment and the economy, Van Jones's The Green Collar Economy delivers a timely and essential call to action for this new century.

Customer Reviews:

  • Van is right on with Green Collar Economy
    I just ordered this, and haven't gotten my copy yet, but Van is amazing leader and speaker and I know this will be an amazing book. We have to create a green collar economy to bring people out of poverty, reduce our emissions and create a more stable economy. Van spoke at our Southeast regional conference in 2007 to a standing ovation and he was so good that students hung around him asking questions and listening for hours after he spoke. ...more info
  • A different spin on the green economy
    Van Jones published this book at the right time. President Barack Obama has even referred to some of the things mentioned although Jones does say that there is no such thing as clean coal (in contrast to President Obama's push for it). It's not just intellectual reading; he gives an extensive list at the back for people to actually get involved and get things moving.

    This book is inspirational reading for every high school and college student who aspires to be an entrepreneur and not just an employee....more info
  • Did not receive
    I ordered "The Green Collar Economy" by Van Jones and never received it. Please check to see if this book was sent to
    2065 S. Grant St #B
    Denver, CO 80210
    I would really like to receive this book since the cost was taken onto my credit card....more info
  • Revolutionary and Necessary
    This is the most forward thinking book I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. There is hope for this planet and it's inhabitants....more info
  • We can solve this
    Great book presenting a number of important ideas on how the private sector, government and the citizens need to work together to create a clean, green economy that is inclusive. Especially like the break down of the Green New Deal to mobilize the nation, get people back to work and address the climate crisis. ...more info
  • van-j: the blueprint
    just got my copy this morning, and i can't put it down. this book provides one of the most important blueprints for creating economic development opportunities in urban centers and saving our dear planet. ...more info
  • The Green Collar Economy a must read!
    The Green Collar Economy is a must read for anyone who cares about the environment, the economy, and our minority population. Van Jones is brilliant, caring, concerned, knowledgable and articulate. He knows the subject matter and how to communicate it. This book will motivate anyone who cares about these issues to action!
    Rick Shoudt
    International Green Ideas Shows...more info
  • Muddled and Simplistic
    "The Green-Collar Economy" muddles this important issue with too many irrelevant side discussions of racial, gender, and economic equality, suffers from poor timing (the current economic downturn and steep fall in energy costs), fails to document key assertions (eg. "cutting emissions to California's per capita level would allow the U.S. to surpass Kyoto targets;" lay out the amount of energy savings available through retro-fitting buildings), is biased against the role of coal (no consideration of the impact of clean coal and new experiments on pollution), and fails to address key underlying impacts of population growth, Free Trade (on our ability to fund new energy initiatives), pays little attention to fuel economy, and is oblivious to the sometimes idiotic transportation of urban garbage hundreds of miles in the name of ecology.

    Some important points are raised - eg. the need for more electric transmission lines to take advantage of solar and wind sources, but even that discussion lacks depth. ("How much energy would be lost through transmission?" and its cost is simply referenced vs. the Iraq War - something undefined as well.)

    Finally, the book lacks delineation of eg. how buildings would be retrofitted, thereby supposedly benefiting our economy. If, for example, the major benefit is obtained through more efficient electric motors, the bulk of the economic benefit of constructing them would probably end up in China - not the U.S....more info
  • Perfect Timing!
    The Green Collar Economy, How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, by Van Jones, could not be more timely. As our economy (and perhaps the world economy) enters a period called stagflation--meaning, a stagnant economy coupled with inflation--Jones offers a sound solution.

    Van Jones gets right to the point in the first sentence of the introduction: "The pain at the gas pump is just the beginning...This weakness can and will send the entire country into a particular kind of a tailspin." Jones writes that oil can't keep up with the demand and that it is running out. This is a fact--we cannot keep on living as we have, sucking up finite resources as if there is no end.

    "Clean coal", (an oxymoron, he explains, and part of a clever marketing campaign,) nuclear power plants, and off shore drilling are not the answer to our problems. We need to invest in sustainable resources--like the sun and moon--for the future of the planet and people.

    Using corn for fuel was also a huge mistake. I love what he wrote: "Government-mandated and subsidized ethenal from corn will go down in history as the 'Iraq war' of environmental solution."

    The solution to the problem lies within our people. Jones believes we need workers--and lots of them--trained to green our economy. Most of the jobs would be considered blue-collar, and little more than a high school education and some training would be necessary. The new green collar workers have jobs "preserving and enhancing environmental quality." Jobs run the gamut of installing solar panels to energy auditors.

    Yesterday on the radio, I heard a plumber complain that he hasn't had so little work in over 20 years. That he considered a good day when he could work until 1pm. These people are who Jones writes about and are the workers who would most benefit from the new green economy.

    Let us hope that The Green Collar Economy becomes the reality.

    Highly recommended.


    ...more info
  • Not well researched
    The author is on the right track in that we definitely need a green revolution, and this could help the economy. Unfortunately, there isn't hard data in the book really backing up much of the author's statistics and data. It is argued, for instance, that we could run out of coal. We supposedly have enough to last 250 years, although coal is only 49% of our electricity, and 22% of our energy. So, if we ramped it up, we could run out in our lifetime (and this would kill the planet). It would have been nice to see more data about fossil fuel reserves, or how much land would be needed to replace coal with solar, or how much battery technology would be needed to store it for night, etc.
    Most glaring is the author's dismissal of nuclear power in one paragraph. The author suggests we could run out of uranium. This is only possible if we use light water reactors. Using Integral Fast Reactors, the fuel supply is unlimited. IFR reactors are 100 to 300 times as efficient, and can use very low grade ores, like uranium in granite or seawater! Obviously, the author is not an energy expert. I would recommend "Prescription for the Planet," by Tom Blees, or "Beyond Fossil Fools," by Joe Shuster, for an alternate point of view that does nuclear justice. The author may be in for a big surprise, since based upon current technology only nuclear plants can meet our energy challenge....more info
  • Excellent Read
    Excellent writing and offer of a logical solution, how come this isn't on Oprah's list?...more info
  • Green Jobs But Not Regressive Taxes
    Jones's book covers two areas. The first is "eco-apartheid/environmental justice." Says Jones, "When most people think of 'green solutions,' ... they envision affluent white people who care about nothing but polar bears." Environmentalists take note: Jones speaks from firsthand experience, and as he notes, "eco-elitism can actually set back environmental initiatives." But I'm unpersuaded by his recommendation of "minimum demands" for "Green Jobs, Not Jails," and "Greening the Ghetto First."

    The book's second area, the dual crisis of poverty and environmental destruction, provides a concrete answer to eco-elitism — green-collar jobs. Jones identifies an excellent opportunity—fixing inefficient buildings. This is green, actually saves money, and requires lots of labor, much of it low-skill. These programs require tricky financing arrangements, and Jones provides examples of innovative pilot programs that sound promising. Jones could do us a great service by focusing on this huge area of opportunity, especially since Obama's stimulus plan seems headed this direction.

    Unfortunately, we get instead a laundry list of every green, organic, "eco-elitist" proposal ever put forward, to "completely overhaul" the economy in "one of the single biggest feats in the history of world politics." Financed by a cap-and-trade tax on fossil emissions, Jones says it will cost $350 billion per year. But this tax—like a gas tax—hits poor people harder than the rich, in proportion to their income. In other words, it's a regressive tax worse than the conservatives' "flat tax."

    Climate scientist James Hansen proposes to give the money back equally, so poor people would actually get more back than they pay in higher emission prices. This is explained in Carbonomics: How to Fix the Climate and Charge It to OPEC. It's fair because the poor cause less than their share of emissions. So why fund green jobs with a regressive cap-and-trade tax?

    The green laundry list will simply power the "backlash alliance" Jones says has already "arrived—full force." Better to use less expensive, more effective green policies with maximum bang for the buck—as explained in Carbonomics, and to provide green jobs for the unemployed with Jones's building-upgrade programs—which also give maximum bang for the buck. As I said before, Jones is worth listening to....more info
  • Interesting Book...
    I liked the idea that Mr. Jones is promoting here, and I think that he is on the right track. He makes a difficult issue very easy to understand, and goes very deep into the issue to the point where even if you disagree with him on a lot, you will agree that he makes a variety of good points.

    That being said, he is overly dramatic in his analysis, and definitely picks and chooses what facts to focus on. This can be said about any political book I suppose.

    It is definitely worth the read....more info
  • Great!
    Great read. Fast.

    Opened my eyes to the need to 'broaden the tent'.

    Well done Mr. Jones and thanks for doing.

    My only reason for 4 over 5 stars was that it could have been a bit deeper about the actual jobs created. e.g. limits on development, industry needs, markets, etc.

    Overall very worthwhile and I hope to see it top the best seller lists. ...more info
  • a new future: green economy
    Van Jones represents what we would want our vision to be. We want to save our earth, we want real jobs that real people can do with dignity. We want our young people to be able to work, we don't want to ship all the jobs to other countries....more info
  • The Reality Check on nuclear power is itself detached from reality
    More nuclear power is produced here in American than in France and nuclear power provides 77 percent of France's electricity. But yet Van Jones dismisses nuclear power in one short paragraph (13 lines). Is he serious that things like more caulk guns will solve our growing energy needs? And if he really believes that there are viable energy solutions contained in this book why didn't he bother to create an index so that they can be found more easily by readers seriously looking for realistic answers to our complex energy challenges? ...more info
  • Disappointment
    I'm sorry to say this book is very racial in nature. Van Jones considers me an enviromental elitist. I'm not a black convict, so I'm not needed to re-invent our economy. I was really hoping to learn something, as I am intensely interested in working in the alternative energy field....more info
  • great toolkit
    it helps to learn so much about the new idea which basically combine what seemed to be so contardictive: environmental awareness and disadvantaged people..awesome...more info
  • Green Collar Economy
    This book is very well worth reading and passing along to others. The author presents inspired - yet in many cases common-sense - solutions for the massive environmental and economic malaise that the US is mired in. Very well written and easy to read, yet without being dumbed down and insulting to the reader's intelligence. The book appears to be very thoroughly researched and there are extensive footnotes that provide more detailed background information. Definitely a book for the times that offers hope and a way forward....more info
  • Interesting ideas
    The Green collar economy is very well thought out and easy to read. The Jones lays out a plan to reduce the use of fossil fuels, reduce the amount of Green house gasses, and create new jobs in the United States. The Green collar economy delves into the use of fossil fuels, what it takes to get it out of the ground and refine it, the cost to the atmosphere due to this process. Eventually the world will dry up of fossil fuels, were dealing with a limited supply at a time when much of the world is learning to drive. The Green collar economy talks about places like India and China the bicycle is being replaced with the automobile and the economic effect that has on the price of gas world wide. Consumer demand is now out stripping the supply of oil. Oil prices are rising due to world demand. Jones does a great job of covering the economic effect of this and what it will lead to if we don't start really developing alternative energy resources and making Green technology available and affordable. There are many untapped resources out there for creating Green jobs and a cleaner environment.

    The book also talks about some other types of energy resources and the pros and cons of them like converting corn to fuel. Should we be burning corn as fuel when children are starving? Nuclear power again this is a limited resource since there is a limited supply of uranium. Clean coal, just an oxymoron. The process for clean coal doesn't exist; it's still the dirtiest of all fuels when you take into account the process for mining and burning coal. There is also a limited supply of coal.

    We are spiraling downward towards an energy nightmare; the book proposes some interesting and plausible ways to avoid this. The concept is great it the process of helping these ideas come to fruition that will require a lot of work. People will need to change their thought process when it comes to producing energy. Making these ideas happen will require a lot more detail with in the then what this book goes into but it plants the seed to get the process started. The book lays out the mechanics of what it will take to make the Green collar idea turn into a Green collar reality. It's up to us as citizens of the planet to make it happen. The back of Jones has a resource list of containing Green energy businesses and coalitions.

    There are many types of Green collar jobs that could be created not only in the Green industry but within the normal work place. Jobs will be created in research, development and implementation of these technologies.

    A great read for anyone but especially for those Green collar and want to be Green collar workers. Very enlightening.
    ...more info
  • A New Way to Frame the Solution
    Kudos to Jones for giving voice to a solution to the dual problems of inequality and the plight of the planet that is at once so original yet so accessible that the reader is left to think, "Well, of course, this is the path we need to take. How could it not be?" ...more info
  • Confused about the economics
    The tale of society pulling itself out from the grip of fossil and nuclear (bad, bad nuclear!!!) energy all by itself and on the way creating millions of jobs and better weather, too, is fantastic. But just like the tale of Munchhausen who pulls himself out of the swamp, it's a lie.

    Energy becomes more expensive as energy sources are depleted, true. But the fact that we haven't gone alternative yet is because alternative energy is even more expensive right now. You can use the author's own argument: expensive alternative energy projects will cause more unemployment now. In other words, the author doesn't take into account the millions of jobs that will be destroyed a) in the current energy industry, b) in the industries that rely on cheap fossil energy and c) all other jobs that are indirectly linked to a and b.

    The economics behind the book is flawed, which is also why the only people endorsing this book are politicians and not economists....more info
  • Green New Deal
    Finally! Van is the most engaging speaker I know of, so it's about time he had a book out! And what great timing. As our economy unravels and we face the most important, scary election EVER, someone needed to stand up and give a bold, innovative new plan to bring our country forward and to bring people together to work on something powerful and positive. Go Van! We love you, man!...more info
  • Green Jobs - a Big Piece of the Cure
    Van Jones and his team are both factual and inspirational. Green Jobs and the focus on training and education, keeping jobs local (not outsourced), and giving individuals dignity while working on the most important concern of the humans -- to stick around! -- brings us to a point of hard work but also a point of hope.

    I encourage everyone to read this book and the many others being penned lately that link several of our ailments -- most pointedly demonstrated by the mistakes and errors in the financial sector -- that we are simply not living right. We are living not in our own time. We are not valuing what we should given the times we live in. There are purposes beyond acquiring things -- Jones and his team help us to keep remembering that it could really be fun to be here, after all....more info


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