Environmental jobs campaign in Oakland beginning to see results Inventory of green jobs grows to 126
A plan to make Oakland a center of "green-collar" jobs — endorsed with $250,000 by the City Council last summer — came closer to fruition this week when the group spearheading the effort produced an inventory of 126 green businesses willing to participate.
Now, businesses ranging from Blue Sky Bio-fuels of Oakland to Solar City in Foster City to Dan Antonioli Construction, an Oakland contractor using ecologically sound building practices, have said they will hire people trained in "job readiness" skills and will provide specific on-the-job training in their fields.
What happens when brown and green are mixed? A cleaner city and better living for low-income communities, according to the folks who gathered Wednesday for a "Green Cities, Brown Folks" mini-summit.
The Ella Baker Center, which organized the "solutions salon," packed the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church on Lakeshore with young and old who came to hear about "fighting both poverty and pollution at the same time."
All the subjects are here:, local and national green job implementation, climate change, food supply, global economics, urban employment, eco-elitism. Van Jones and Kojo discuss environmental justice at length and interact with radio callers.
Listen to the story from WAMU radio (28 min):<br>
Part of the "Energy Independence Day" plan rolled out Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was inspired by an Oakland pilot project that trains workers for jobs in renewable energy and energy-efficiency industries.
H.R. 2847, the Green Jobs Act of 2007, is modeled on the Green Jobs Corps created under the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights' Reclaim the Future initiative.
"Green" is taking off. In business. In culture. In politics. But it's not all clear sailing for the green movement. In fact, it's in danger of setting up a catastrophic — but wholly preventable — populist backlash if it does not work hard to end the enduring perception that it is solely the playground of a white, affluent "eco-elite." Sound crazy? In California, it has already begun.
Oakland's problems are too big to be solved with small ideas. We need powerful initiatives and bold vision — such as "Oakland as a Model City" — to move the needle. Fortunately, the expanding green economy makes a "model city" initiative viable here.