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plans and actions

yhama's picture

Plans and actions

November 20th, 2015


I have been thinking about the possibility that we can fix the environment which is going to be messing up. Kolbert states that “Wouldn’t it better, practically and ethically, to focus on what can be done and is being done to save species, rather than to speculate gloomily about a future in which the biosphere is reduced to little plastic vials? The director of a conservation group in Alaska once put it to me this way: ‘people have to have hope. I have to have hope. It’s what keeps us going’.”(Kolbert, p.262)

But my question was that how we can change the situation concretely? As in “The Collapse of Western Civilization”, it is written that “economic power was increasingly concentrated in a tiny elite, who came to be known as the ‘1 percent’ and then in a political elite propelled to power as the climate crisis forced dramatic interventions to relocate citizens displaced by sea level rise and desertification, to contain contagion, and to prevent mass famine.” (Oreskes and Conway, P.49). The situation is controlled by the government in many ways.

     Reading “Green The Ghetto”, however made me have a hope since Van Jones’s activity which is to encourage the green jobs and tons of new employment seems feasible. Jones has the concrete ideas such as increasing “weatherizing building, installing solar panels, and constructing mass-transit systems”. (Kolbert,p.4) Also, many economists agree that “raise the cost of burning fossil fuels, either directly, through a carbon tax, or indirectly, through a cap-and-trade program.”(Kolbert, p.7) However, it has been more than five years since Jones made a speech about the green jobs. What has actually come true?

     Jones became a Special Advisor for Green Jobs and supported Obama in 2009, but he was criticized by the Republican Party in terms of his inappropriate statement about 9.11, then he resigned the position only after six months. (Kubo,p.31)  In addition, according to Breitbart “In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to create 5 milion ‘green jobs’ if elected president. However, an analysis by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) finds that since 2009, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) $26 billion loan program created just 2,298 permanent jobs, at a cost of $11.45 million per job created.” (Hall, 2013) In this article, IER Policy Associate Alex Fitzsimmons regards the green jobs as “that costs so much and produces so little” (Hall, 2013) Given that information, what Jones said sounds just a dream and I was wandering what he is doing now. According to Portland business journal, he is now a president of nonprofit “Rebuild the Dream” and a commentator at CNN. He still makes a speech and keeps on inspiring people. Actually the number of people who works for solar-related jobs in US has more than tripled now compared to in 2009. (Walker, 2015) It is surprising that he is still positive and saying that “The solar industry is taking off. There’s a real opportunity to connect this solar boom to people who most need work. Given how cheap solar panels are now, there’s no reason every American business, home, place of worship, you name it, shouldn't have it.” even though the progress is not dramatically (Walker,2015)

    For the presidential election in 2016, Hilary Clinton announced that she will encourage green jobs as Obama did in 2008. If she was elected she would use the taxes on fossil fuel extraction to make a sustainable society and millions of green jobs. (Bastasch, 2015) It is difficult to believe that it will come true considering Obama’s example. However, from the view of Jones, the society is at least improving and people now are paying attention to this matter.


Oreskes. N. (2014). The Collapse of Western Civilization.

Kolbert. E. (2014). The Sixth Extinction.

Kolert. E. (2009). Greening The Ghetto.


Kubo. F. (2009). The analysis of Obama’s administration.


Walker. M. (2015). Before hitting Portland, Obama's ex-green jobs adviser implores utilities to stop blocking solar. Portland Business Journal.


     Hall. W. (2013). Report: Obama Spent $11.45 Million per 'Green Job' Created. Breitbart.


     Bastasch. M. (2015). Hilary mimics Obama and promises “milions of green jobs”. The Daily Caller.