By Van Jones (HarperOne, 2008)
Weatherizing and retrofitting buildings for clean energy, building better mass transit systems, and overhauling the energy grid and food system are only a few of the great ideas explored by visionary author and activist Van Jones in The Green Collar Economy. And Jones (who graced our cover in December 2007) does more than reiterate what kinds of changes we need. He explains exactly how they can be implemented right now: through a “green job corps” recruited from the ready and willing populations of underemployed communities. Socioeconomic and environmental problems are closely linked, Jones notes (he uses the Katrina disaster to illustrate his point), and he outlines a kind of Green New Deal, in which government partners with organizations to create jobs directly connected to restoring environmental health. His vision of “eco-equity” covers a lot of ground — a history of environmental movements, facts about the current environmental crisis and policy suggestions to restore a better standard of living to economically depressed communities. This passionate and refreshingly practical profile of a sustainable future makes it clear how we all can contribute.