Green jobs activist Van Jones to visit
Van Jones, a rising star in the environmental movement and author of the acclaimed "The Green Collar Economy," will speak at the University of Minnesota on March 5.
The event is co-sponsored by the Utne Institute and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing, which is unveiling a new interdisciplinary project called Whole Systems Healing — courses designed to have students explore the environmental and social aspects of healing.
Van Jones is the founder and president of Green For All, an organization based in Oakland, Calif., dedicated to finding opportunities for low-income people to be part of the nation’s green economy. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, a Time magazine 2008 Environmental Hero and has been named one of Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds of 2008.
In an interview with the Southwest Journal, Jones lauded the work being done in the Twin Cities to expand the green economy. In particular, he singled out Karen Monahan, an organizer with EJAM (Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota), a group that has been active in efforts to improve the environment in South Minneapolis neighborhoods. The group has worked with community leaders to educate residents about arsenic contamination from a pesticide company.
Utne Institute founder Eric Utne, a Southwest resident and Center for Spirituality & Healing senior fellow, said Jones’ work is a "shining example" of what he’d like to see from students who take part in the Whole Systems Healing (WSH) initiative at the university, a curriculum he has designed with colleague John Miller.
"Two fundamental tenets of the WSH program are [that] the social and environmental are inextricably connected and that we are all potential healers of such challenges as global climate change, poverty and racism," Utne said. "This is what a good college education should do: empower students to be effective, constructive agents of social and environmental healing."
Jones’ March 5 speaking event, "Green Jobs: Rx for a Healthy Economy & a Healthy Environment," is scheduled for 4–6 p.m. at the Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S. To register, call 624-2345.
Stimulus package could bring green jobs to city
Mayor R.T. Rybak has voiced support for the federal economic stimulus package, saying it could mean dozens of green jobs in Minneapolis.
The legislation includes $500 million for green jobs training programs across the country.
In a statement released Feb. 2, Rybak said that the city would use funds from the federal economic recovery plan to train people to weatherize up to 800 homes in Minneapolis.
"Because President Obama is pushing for transit investments and green jobs as part of this plan, not only can we rebuild our nation’s crippling transportation infrastructure, we can also build a new green economy for the future and finally get off our addiction to oil," he said.
The $3.3 million green jobs program would help reduce energy costs for low- to middle-income residents.
"Weatherization programs offer one of the best opportunities for job creation in Minneapolis," said Minneapolis Economic Development Director Cathy Polasky in a prepared statement.
Twin Cities Green hosting local art show
Twin Cities Green, 2405 Hennepin Ave. S., is hosting an art show called "Loco Local," showcasing local craftsmanship and artwork. A portion of the store has been turned into an exhibit featuring a variety of wall art, sculptures, jewelry and furniture, among other items. All of the items are for sale. The art show ends Feb. 28.
The innovative store has come up with a tool for folks interested in supporting local green businesses and organizations: TC Green Map. The map is meant to help people get a quick overview of where to find green-friendly retailers. There are directories for local restaurants, clothing stores, yard and garden shops, home improvement businesses, co-ops and farmer’s markets. To check out the map, go to twincitiesgreenmap.googlepages.com.