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The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Now revised and updated, Van Jones's provocative and cutting edge New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy delivers a viable plan for solving the two biggest issues facing the country today—the economy and the environment.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by HarperOne (first published 2008)
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Laura
Oh, the bias. It hurts.

Make no mistake about what this is: the author is a Democrat who put together ~175 pages of Democratic buzzwords for other Democrats to read, agree with, and feel good about themselves. It is utterly lacking in any in-depth, intelligent analysis. I only made it through the introductory chapter before giving up, and even that was a challenge.

I am not a Republican; I don't identify as either liberal or conservative. In fact, I am currently a graduate student at one of the be
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Justin
America is facing two monumental problems, according to Van Jones, a Yale graduate, political activist and president of Green For All – an organization that advocates for a, “shift to a clean, green economy can improve the health and well-being of low-income people.” (greenforall.org) Jones says the challenges we face are with our struggling economy, and our increasingly polluted environment. In The Green Collar Economy, he argues that we can solve these two problems at the same time, and notes ...more
Benjamin
I first heard about this book while listening to NPR a few months ago. Van Jones sounded like he had devised one of the greatest solutions to poverty and racial equality that can be adopted by all Americans with the benefit of generating wealth for everyone. Then he said that the bravest thing he had ever seen in his life was Nancy Polosi standing up to Big Oil and "drill, baby, drill" in the summer of 2008. After the nausea subsided, I still decided that I should give the book a chance. The jac ...more
ProgressiveBookClub
Review of The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones

By Bill McKibben

Van Jones is, beyond any doubt, one of the rising stars of the American environmental movement and the American civil rights movement. He’s fused the two of them in a new way, and in so doing constructed a powerful political argument for how we might move forward with the twin challenges of preparing the country to fight global warming and pulling our economy out of its dangerous current weakness.

The longtime head of the Ella Baker
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Online-University of-the-Left
Green Jobs Meets the Solidarity Economy:
A Dynamic Duo for Changing the World

A Review of 'Green Collar Economy:

How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems'
By Van Jones, Harper-Collins, 2008

By Carl Davidson

SolidarityEconomy.Net

It's time to link the newly insurgent U.S. Green Jobs movement with the worldwide efforts for the solidarity economy. Both are answering the call to fight the deepening global recession, and both face common adversaries in the failed 'race to the bottom,' environmen
...more
Professor

Another book I read because it was one of the titles the committee I'm on is considering to be our "One Campus, One Book" title, I found the book an easy read that made some great points. I really would like to see us put our resources into a greener economy-in my mind an "Green Deal" could really change things. Unfortunately, the book was very much "date stamped" as being before the 2008 election and reading it is reading a list of things that *could* happen that are already not happening. I fe
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Jamie
It's disappointing Van Jones was forced to resign from his position as Special Advisor for Green Jobs in the Obama administration because it seems clear to me, after reading The Green Collar Economy, that he has a strong vision for how to implement policies to encourage both job creation and improved environmental quality. While he is sketchy on some of the details, he takes a very holistic approach to solving some of the most pernicious problems of our day, and identifies successful case studie ...more
Mark
I was unpleasantly surprised after reading this book. The title is extremely misleading. The book centers around two problems, the deteriorating American economy, and the state of the environment. The solution presented is the developing green collar job sector and the industry built around it.

Most of the book is filled with the author lamenting the current condition of the country/economy.
Unfortunately the author never delves into exactly how to apply the stated solution to the stated problems.
...more
Franklin
A "green-collar economy" might sound appealing at first. After all, environmentalists have been fighting for years against reactionaries who claim that measures to protect people and ecology from pollution would cost lots of jobs. But this book is not just an argument that the right kinds of environmental programs can help people of color and the poor. Its main argument is for a "New Deal 2.0." In the process, Van Jones rewrites history to support an argument for class collaboration. He speaks g ...more
Michael
So: Van Jones. Mr. Jones was appointed to be the "Green Jobs Czar" in the Obama administration, then was forced to resign when it came out that he was a professed communist and a 'truther.' He lasted about six months. Bye-bye, Van.

I am a Green dude myself, so I listened to Mr. Jones give a speech about a month back, and I was impressed. He is smart, funny, and seems like a nice man who cares a great deal about the environment and the poor, so we have that in common. I picked up his book from the
...more
Phillip Rhoades
Van Jones presents a fair yet passionate treatise about America's need to transition to a "Green Collar Economy"(GCE); Van Jones defines GCE as a economy that creates "family-supporting, career track job(s) that directly contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental equality."

The environmental movement has spawned a million books that harp on the same themes: policy change, pollution, global warming and ecological devastation. Van Jones' contribution, beyond being the first African Ameri
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David
More engaging as a speaker than as a writer, but still an interesting overview on his perspective re potential government and private initiatives to promote economic development in an environmentally friendly manner. Most of the book paints with a broad brush regarding gov't. (especially Bush administration) favoritism toward "problem creators" [fossil fuel burning systems; prison/industrial complex), but eventually he gets around to describing specific examples of (mostly small, local) initiati ...more
Kirsten
The author is a little bit odd and doesn't plan anything more than two weeks in advance (my school tried to get him to come and speak), but he does have some good points. He really wrote this more for people who have blue collar type jobs, not those of us in environmental academia.

Really what he's saying is the same thing other economists such as Thomas L. Friedman are saying: go back to school, diversity your skills, etc. Except he sticks the word green in and talks about new green technologie
...more
Wendy
Great ideas happening here, but not as implementable as I wish they were or as universal as the author believes them to be.
I wonder about his views on education...
I would recommend it to lots of academics however who sometimes forget to make the connection between revolutionary ideals and the people who cannot always afford to understand or interact with those ideals (throughout western history revolution has always come from the middle class). I appreciated the acknowledgment that we cannot as
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columbialion
Author Jones offers a realistic and logical call to arms regarding the rapidly closing window of time left for humanity to solve global warming. Additionally, he lays out a detailed plan of action which if implemented in the U.S., would serve a multi purposeful solution; to the U.S. economy, its long term energy needs and push back substantially against global warming. The Green Collar Economy is really a inclusive manifesto meant to move the country away from its present course of eco-disaster ...more
Serena
I hate not finishing a book, but I really couldn't choke through another page of this. I feel like the title is a bit misleading: it is about a potential green collar economy, but what it doesn't tell you (or any of the glowing reviews on the back cover, which in hindsight didn't reference the book at all) is the huge bitter, racial undercurrent that underlies the narrative.

Perhaps I'm being too flippant, because race and environmental responsibility is a legitimate issue that needs to be addres
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sdw
Van Jones describes the two crises he feels threaten the country: environmental destruction and socio-economic inequality. He feels the solution lies in creating a “green economy” where good blue-collar jobs with a family wage are replaced by an expanding sector of family wage “green-collar” jobs that extend economic opportunities to people of color and those returning from prison. One of his favorite slogans is “Green Jobs, Not Jails.”

Van Jones believes the environmental crisis is so bad that
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Doug
3.5 stars... The book has a good message but is misguided and in some points not soundly researched. I agree with the author that we as Americans can push a greener agenda, employ solar and wind power, tighten up our houses and be more energy frugal... But his views on nuclear power are predisposed and biased without merit or proper research.

I recommend the book for the message and the ideas supported but please maintain an open mind when reading Van's bias of other forms of energy.
Lauren
This book got on my nerves endlessly. Van Jones alternates each chapter with comments on the Green Movement and criticisms of its focus on the white elite. I have to rant about this one! I felt that he was extremely small minded and used small individual cases to "prove" that blacks are left out of the Green Movement. His argument? Most black people, because they are impoverished, simply cannot afford to buy a Prius and are therefore excluded and later criticized for their "lack of effort." Come ...more
Dale
Van Jones is an environmental and social justice activist. He argues that for too long environmentalists have ignored social justice issues, and have in some cases made the lives of the poor worse by driving polluters into low income areas. The result has been that the poor, and their advocates, have sometimes stood with the polluters in opposing environmental protection.

He believes that we can change this, and that the road to a green collar economy is the way to do it. 'Green collar' means 'bl
...more
Rebecca Mordini
Perhaps Jones suffers from being too successful, or tapping into a meme that spread faster than publication, as I found the ideas in this book to be pretty obvious. Still, the message is important. We cannot focus on saving the planet without also focusing on saving the people of the planet, especially the poor and minorities who suffer most. Working with minority groups, environmentalists can help create jobs and improve health in these communities. Jobs in the environmental sector, green colla ...more
Robert  Baird
What Jones really nails in this book is the need for a new social contract in America, which has to come from a holistic unity between the environmental stewardship and economic justice camps. Many got this already, but after Jones there is no excuse for not getting it. Put another way, Jones does much to position the socially-blind environmentalist and polluter-dependent jobs advocate as behind the times in the contemporary discourse on the nation's challenges.

The book was not written for the
...more
Linda
The words green and economy drew me to Van Jones book, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. The book addresses two monumental issues facing our country—global warming and unemployment. The author suggests that green-collar jobs can go a long way towards solving both problems. It's a compelling and thought provoking book.

The Bottom Line

The Green Collar Economy looks at the environment and economy from a different perspective than many “green” business / eco
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Miquixote
This guy resigned from Obama's cabinet. No surprise now that Obama has betrayed the Green Collar Economy. So much for America leading the Green Technology revolution. It was a nice idea Van... greening things would have saved the economy for the middle and lower classes too, but I guess financial capital didn't care because their profits are still going up.

Anyhow, the green revolution is pretty much the last breath of capitalism, when it inevitably and finally happens. Why? Because 'environmenta
...more
Katie
Van Jones talks a lot about the need for invention and investment (by both individuals and the government) to stimulate the economy through the creation of environmental jobs. He also explains the importance of changing the way communities think about environmentalism so that all races and classes are brought into the discussion and are aware of how they can participate. There are some excellent ideas for sustainable change in this book, but a lot of populist ranting is also thrown into the mix. ...more
Regine
Just started reading this gem on the train ride home yesterday. its fascinating - takes a huge global mess, gives important backstory and puts solutions into simple and concrete terms.

Van's inscription in my book says it all:
"Regine - Our kids will look back and marvel at their birth year - the mushrooming of problems, the multiplicaiton of crises, and the final blossoming of hope. Thank you for all you do to move humanity forward. By the time Mia is old enough to read this book thoroughly, i h
...more
Livia
Bill Maher recommended this book on an episode of his Real Time with Bill Maher show on HBO. It's a very informative book. I wish more energy companies would embrace a greener method to extract/create energy.
Dave Golombek
Very well written, very timely, and well balanced. When Van Jones says "Green Collar", he means a lot more than a lot of people assume. Far from just talking about the environmental impact of the job, he covers what a good wage means to people, how important it is to ensure that such jobs help out a broad spectrum of society, and how to help solve other issues such as the high incarceration rate all in one go. His history lesson is an important refresher on many past issues reminds us why his br ...more
Sara
In addition to emphasizing the importance of the environmental movement, Van Jones makes the very good point in this book that all people need to be involved in the current green movement. I agree completely with his stance. While it is uplifting and inspiring, it was a book that also made me somewhat sad. The book is very much flavored with "the time is now" but it was published in 2008 so the time has sort of passed us by already... That said, that leaves us in a position where there clearly s ...more
Todd
Easy to read and just brilliant.... I bought this when it was released, but hadn't read it until the summer of 2013. Which made me depressed. Van Jones, brilliantly lays out the problems and solutions facing the United States and explains the necessary steps Obama needs to make. But in hindsight, nothing has been done. Instead the warning against Biofuels and Shale Natural Gas that Van Jones writes about is being pursued. In 2008 this book would be inspiring, in 2013... pretty depressing... but ...more
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Anthony "Van" Jones is the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Appointed by Barack Obama in March 2009, the newly created position will find Jones working with various "agencies and departments to advance the administration's climate and energy initiatives, with a special focus on improving vulnerable communities."

Jon
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More about Van Jones...
Rebuild the Dream The Green Collar Economy The Green Collar Economy Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects

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“We should use the transition to a better energy strategy as an opportunity to create a better economy and a better country all around.” 2 likes
“Let us all say together: "We want to build a green economy strong enough to life people out of poverty. We want to create green pathways out of poverty and into great careers for America's children. We want this 'green wave' to life all boats. This country can save the polar bears and poor kids too.” 1 likes
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