Obama's Green Jobs Guru

Renewal friend and Social Venture Network Member Van Jones named as Obama's Green Jobs Guru.

Obama's 'green-jobs' guru: from activist to environmentalist
By Elaine Quijano
July 23, 2009

Van Jones defies environmentalist stereotypes. He's not the earthy-crunchy, Birkenstock-wearing type. Nor is he a contemporary and corporate version -- a hedge fund-fueled entrepreneur looking to make millions by building wind farms and solar-powered corporate headquarters.

The new special adviser for "green jobs" -- those jobs that help reduce energy consumption and lessen environmental impact -- at the White House Council on Environmental Quality is in some ways like President Obama himself: an African-American community activist and organizer who has rocketed to the highest levels of government.

Jones says it was death, of all things, that set him on his current career path as a green-jobs guru. In describing his turn from social activist to environmentalist, Jones recounted his experiences with young people in Oakland, California.

"I got involved in this work because I got tired of going to funerals. I got tired of seeing young people without any hope," Jones told CNN. "I wanted them to have a better future. I said, 'Why don't we get these young people trained in green jobs so they can be a part of all these companies that are getting started?' "

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