Yesterday, Van Jones' bestselling book, The Green Collar Economy, came out in paperback. This was hands down my favorite non-fiction book of all the books I've read in the past year (and I read a lot), so to celebrate its paperback release, I'm offering to give away a copy of The Green Collar Economy to one lucky reader of The Green Phone Booth. To be entered, simply leave a comment on this post. I'll announce the randomly selected winner on my post next Wednesday.
And to whet your reading appetite, here's my review of this book from my personal blog.
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems
by Van Jones
Van Jones proposes that establishing a strong green collar economy is the solution for both the climate change crisis and the economic crisis. His subject is timely as the economy continues to stagnate, prices continue to rise, and the effects of climate change become more and more evident. Ironically, Jones notes in his afterword that when he first began writing the book, "very few people had heard the term 'green collar job'," but by the time the book was published, it was a political buzzword.
I've been seeing this book mentioned all over the Internet, and at first I thought, "That is not a book that would interest me." I figured it would be a heavy read full of economic jargon (read: boring). I don't know why I had that impression because I was completely wrong. Just shy of 200 pages, this book is brisk and pleasant, but at the same time, thought-provoking and inspirational.
Jones proposes that to revive the collapsing economy, the government should establish a Green New Deal by building up the green collar jobs sector in energy, food, waste, water, and transportation. He details how investment in each category would lead to thousands of jobs in technology and labor, and as an added benefit, we would save the planet. Some examples:
- A group in Milwaukee has come up with a way "to retrofit practically every building in the city to save money and put lots of people to work...Property owners or renters (with landlords' cooperation) receive an audit listing all conservation measures that can be paid for out of energy savings in a given period. They repay the cost of the measures via their utility bill."
- "The first turbine on Native lands was installed in early 2003 on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota. It produces enough clean electricity to power over two hundred homes...Rosebud alone aims to produce 50 megawatts by 2010."
- LaDonna Redmond turned her backyard in Chicago into an urban farm. Neighbors got involved, "one thing led to another, and today the Redmonds' organization, the Institute for Community Resource Development, secures empty lots from the city, oversees a whole network of lots-turned gardens, manages a farmers market, provides technical support and nutritional education, and is planning the opening of a retail store."
- "A nonprofit in Baltimore called Second Chance launched its architectural salvage and deconstruction services in 2003. Over the next four years, the company grew quickly, filling a 120,000-square foot warehouse space and engaging more than 50 employees - three deconstruction crews and a retail store crew."
My only criticism of this book is that it focused so much on how the government (rather than the average joe) can build up the green jobs sector, boost the economy, and solve the climate crisis. Jones' ideas would make a great handbook for President Obama, Governor Bev Perdue, or Mayor Meeker, but they are less useful for the average person, like me, for example. I kept waiting for him to say, "If you want to see this kind of change in your area, you should..." Write letters to my congressman? Lobby my mayor? Establish my own non-profit? Go door to door handing out copies of The Green Collar Economy? Or just keep doing what I've been doing...
Overall, this was a great book, and I strongly recommend that you read it. And then maybe mail a copy to your mayor.
Update: The winner of the Green Collar Economy giveaway is: Suzannah! Please email your address to consciousshopperblog [at] gmail [dot] com, and I'll ship that right out to you!