UPDATE 3/10: Van Jones issues statement, "I am not going to be any kind of Czar."
Now that it is official I can post the details. The AP wire went out tonight from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Van Jones will be senior adviser to Nancy Sutley who is the Chairwoman of the council. (Read MNN's in-depth profile of Van Jones.) The word ‘czar’ is nowhere in the title alas, but Jones will be heading up green jobs initiatives with a special focus on vulnerable communities.
I inadvertently broke this story after receiving several late night text messages from sources in Washington Friday night, and posted it up on my personal blog Greendig calling Van the pick for "green jobs czar." By Sunday I realized I'd let the cat out of the bag prematurely and considered taking the post down, but it had already received over a hundred thousand hits, and was linked all over the web. It's clear there is some genuine excitement for having Van Jones in Washington!
Here's my original post:
I don’t have all the details yet, but I have to post it up. I just received texts from sources close to Van Jones and the word is in…he was just confirmed yesterday as the “Green Czar” overseeing (should have been "advising on") the allocation of green jobs money in the stimulus bill.This was first suggested/predicted in the blogosphere back in October by David Anderson of Green Options Media, who said that Van, equipped with years of grass roots experience in community development has built "a credible case for the win-win-win green collar economy of the future."
I've been following Van closely and posting frequently with the anticipation that there might be a significant role for him in D.C. Van is in some ways a controversial pick, but though his work has largely been in the nonprofit world, he has a profound understanding of how small amounts of money can be leveraged in the right way to catalyze massive change in the private sector, by engaging both social and environmental resources -- a much-needed perspective in Washington.
His model focuses on smaller projects (like solar roof initiatives or energy efficiency retrofits) designed to spur the redevelopment of a specific neighborhood, funneling money into the local economy while developing a skilled worked force primed for future work in the expanding green energy economy. For Van, the green economy is really about the convergence of the social justice and environmental movements, allowing "all boats to be lifted" as we begin the transition out of a dirty, carbon-based economy.
Here are some Van Jones posts:
- Van Jones and the Green Revolution
- Van Jones testifies on the Green Stimulus
- How do you define the Green Economy?
- Van Jones electrifies crowd at Progressive Christians Uniting
- Van Jones at last week's PowerShift
Van Jones has also been a key player in several influential nonprofit organizations including the Apollo Alliance, the UN World Environment Day, and Global Youth Leadership at DAVOS.