Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What did you do on Green Jobs Now Awareness Day?

national business coalition in San Francisco calls for green jobs now
All over the US last Saturday, everyday folks hosted and participated in hundreds of Green Jobs Now events.

Image courtesy Green Jobs Now

Events ranged from Guy Marsden's in Woolich, ME, where he showed two people how to make thermal window inserts; to the Green Jobs for All rally in Minneapolis, where more than one hundred job-hungry people showed up to take action and talk with elected officials; to a forum in New Orleans, where congressional candidates were grilled on their commitment to green jobs and environmental recovery.

As of this writing, organizers of 250 of the nearly 700 events have reported on their success.

"Together we proved that America's #1 resource is people, not oil," says Green Jobs Now.

You can be part of the green jobs revolution. Begin by signing the Green Jobs Now petition (text below) and learn about next action steps.

Green Jobs Now petition text

Were you part of a Green Jobs Now event Saturday? Tell us all about it in a comment below.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm ready for the green economy--Are you?

Today is Green Jobs Now day. All over the country, people are showing up at city halls and on public streets to show their civic and national leaders they're ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work building a safer, greener economy.
Americans are ready to build the new economy. It's time to invest in saving the planet and the people. It's time for green jobs now!

Van Jones and his Green Jobs Revolution team say that millions of people are skilled and available to help:
  • Weatherize thousands of buildings
  • Install millions of solar panels on public and private buildings
  • Develop local and sustainable food options in their own communities
  • Engineer and wire public transit systems and smart electricity grids

There's so much more. Join the Green Jobs Revolution. Find an action near you today and do your part.

US map of 9/27/08 green jobs now events

Winning and losing an election--An uncharacteristic rant

Did you watch the presidential debate last night? Were you as disappointed as I was? McCain was well-rehearsed and well-prepared with his few soundbite talking points, hammering them home again and again. Ya gotta hand it to the republicans. They know how to use TV.

Obama, apparently winging it, and with no apparent understanding that viewers read body language and facial expressions, let show how much McCain got under his skin. Was he expecting a rational, substantive debate? The dems need serious schooling in TV 101, and I don't understand why, after all these years, they still don't get it.

And what's with all the "I think ..., uh, er," and "I believe, uh, er"? Viewers are trained to be impatient. Every word that doesn't count, every er and uh, uh, uh diverts viewer interest, especially the viewers Obama most needs to capture--so-called independents and undecideds. Worse, they make Obama appear uncertain, indecisive and weak.

The dems need some quick lessons in on-camera presentation if they're to save any chance of taking an election that was theirs to lose from the get-go. It's one thing the Clintons knew, understood and used well. Obama and Biden should be analyzing Reagan, Clinton, and yes, McCain videos and learn how to use TV to win an election.

That's the getting and keeping our attention rant. What about substance? Neither man showed a hint of leadership regarding last week's long-coming Wall Street meltdown and the astonishing bailout plan. Neither so much as mentioned the global crisis that threatens human life on the planet. If it weren't so frustrating, if the stakes weren't so high, the debate would have been a yawn.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The women of PeaceXPeace

My heart is ever gladdened by the stamina and courage of women. If you need inspiration or just a lift today, take a look at the women of PeaceXPeace.

You might start with 79-year-old Bettye Johnson, who published her first (award-winning) book at 72. With Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, she goes further than The Da Vinci Code and histories of the Knights Templar, weaving an intriguing and fascinating tale of the life of the Magdalene and her family. Her sequel, Mary Magdalene, Her Legacy, is equally compelling.

Then there's Gaza Strip photojournalist Eman Mohammed. Documenting war, Mohammed goes where women of her country and faith are not supposed to go. Her camera tells the stories she cannot speak.

And there's midwife Robin Lim. Upon learning that post-childbirth hemorrhage was the leading cause of death in Bali, Lim founded Yayasan Bumi Sehat, a pre-natal and birthing clinic. Her lifesaving clinics (there are now two, with two more planned) are needed more than ever: Indonesia recently halted its national health insurance program.

At PeaceXPeace, stories abound from around the globe--of women helping women, building their communities, building businesses while protecting their natural environment and yes, making peace. What's more, they encourage each and every one of us to add our own story.

Be inspired. You can start with nothing and make something extraordinary. In women's lives, making something useful from nothing is more ordinary than not.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What if they closed prisons to open child care centers and schools?

To illustrate its opposition to California Proposition 6, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland runs this image, which made me wonder ...

What if they closed prisons and used the money to open child care centers and schools? What if teachers and day care workers were paid as much as prison guards?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the heck is National Food Desert Awareness Month about?

There are no grocery stores in the food desert. When you're driving or walking past fast-food walk-up after fast-food drive-in hawking greasy burgers, chicken, fries and high fructose corn syrup (hfcs) colas, and there's not a grocery store or produce bin in sight, you know you're in a food desert. People who live in food deserts tend to die younger, and they die of diet-related illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, according to researcher Mari Gallagher.

In Brother, can you spare an apple?, Gallagher says "If an apple is further away than a burger, then the chances of choosing fresh food more often than fast food is a mirage,"

Image courtesy freefoto.com; Photographer: Ian Britton

So in the interest of getting more healthy produce, particularly organically grown produce, into the hands and mouths of people at high risk for developing diet-related diseases, Gallagher, Growing Home, Inc., Goodness Greeness and the National Center for Public Research kicked off National Food Desert Awareness Month in Chicago earlier this month.

Why the Chicago launchpad? Because half a million people on Chicago's south side live in a food desert, and they're hungry for things that crunch.

Perhaps in all the rhetoric about cutting our taxes, bailing out Wall Street, and keeping America secure during this election season, the candidates should add "and a grocery store in every neighborhood." Or, dreaming wildly here, "and a pesticide-free garden in every neighborhood!"

Wouldn't that be Ordinary?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Growing home with green jobs

For sixteen years, Chicago's Growing Home has been teaching homeless people to grow their own pesticide-free food. People living on the fringe grow new lives for themselves while working with the soil. They gain self-confidence and hope while they nurture tender seedlings into mature, fruit-bearing plants. Their health improves when they eat the wholesome foods they've grown, and they gain life and job skills when they sell their premium organic produce to high-end restaurants and at Chicago's premier farmer's market.

Recently, the program set up a local farmer's market on Chicago's south side, making delicious locally-grown produce available to people, many of whom are themselves one minimum-wage paycheck from homelessness, who live in the food desert.

We need a green economy that honors the earth ... but not a green economy only for the eco-chic. ... The people who are struggling for bus fare--they have a place too.

Growing Home is part of the Green Jobs Revolution. Learn more about it from the people whose lives are changing because of it:

The good stuff that you put into the earth, you get right back out the earth in a better way.
Participant, Growing Home, Inc.

How perfectly Ordinary is that? What are you growing in your garden today?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can green jobs help save the economy as well as the planet?

Next Saturday is
Green Jobs Now
National Day of Action

More than 800,000 workers lost their jobs in the last four months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary. More than half of those, 417,000 breadwinners, lost their jobs just last month.

Both presidential candidates support green jobs as a way to stimulate the economy, help workers and solve some of our energy problems. Green Jobs Now and the organizations that support it aren't waiting until January 20 for those jobs to appear. They're taking action now.

So can you. Watch this video, then jump to Green Jobs Now and check out what's happening in your neck of the woods. Better still, sign up to host an event or take an action yourself. The key is to let our civic and national leaders know we're all looking for green jobs now.

How exciting is it, to know that so many ordinary people, in so many ordinary places, are looking for jobs that give back more than a paycheck--jobs that help us all build a more Ordinary kind of future?

I'd love to hear what you're doing to promote green jobs this week. If you can do nothing else, share this post with people you know.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What America needs is more losers

Maybe what America needs is more losers. Al Gore told the story of global climate change in a way that everyone gets. Gore has been researching and talking about the environment since his college days. It was always his driving issue. Free from the tyranny of political aspirations, Gore focused on his core passions and, Phoenix-like, rose from what some saw as annihilation to a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar, and a position of leadership that far surpasses the wimpy Washington puppet show.

Now John Edwards is gaining ground focusing on his personal passion: putting an end to poverty. What's more, he says we can be halfway there in ten years. That's right. Edwards has a plan for reducing poverty in this country by half in ten years and eliminating it completely in just three decades.

Like Gore on global warming, Edwards sees poverty not only as an American problem, but a worldwide problem, and that when we solve the problem of poverty in America, we are solving the problem worldwide, because it's going to take all of us, all over the world, to succeed.

Like Gore, he says we have to create a grassroots movement to make it work. Here and abroad.

Like Gore, Edwards challenges America to rise and to demand action from our leaders.

And like Gore, Edwards describes the joy of living in this time when we can do something the world has never done before: eliminate poverty worldwide.

That's something even Jesus, who said "The poor you have always with you," didn't think we could do.

Half in Ten. That's the name of John Edward's campaign to reduce poverty by fifty percent in ten years, with the goal to end it completely in this country within thirty years.

John Edwards at Momentum Conference on public tv's NOWPublic TV's NOW caught up with John Edwards in San Francisco at the Momentum Conference last spring where David Brancaccio interviewed Edwards on his Half in Ten campaign. Take a look.

Last week, Wall Street barons got 700-billion dollar bailouts from the federal government--enough to finance a war. While people all over the country, suckered by empty promises, lose their homes and jobs, the barons endure no threat of losing their multi-million-dollar mansions. Think your taxes won't go up to protect the lifestyles of the very rich?

But don't despair. With people like Edwards championing the poorest of us, who have no friends in Washington, there's hope. It takes true leadership to conceive and execute a plan to end poverty once and for all. John Edwards, and lots of people like you and me are standing up and accepting the challenge. They can't do it alone. It will take a whole lot of us on the ground working for change, but it is possible to end poverty in this, the third most populous country in the world, in thirty years.

To learn how you can help achieve what even Jesus thought no one could do, go to the halfinten.org website linked above, or visit From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half.

We live in exciting times, folks, and they are becoming more and more ordinary.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fossil fuels are a gift

If ever you wanted to understand the debate on climate change and why it's important to pay attention and begin doing our part, Roel Hammerschlag of the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment spits it out nicely in a short speech he gives on behalf of Portland's Green House Network. You can read the speech here. Hammerschlag kindly includes his charts, bar graphs and source notes, so you can see what he's talking about, and so you don't have to take his word for it.

Prefer a more graphic approach? This geeky guy entertains while bringing the global climate change question to a screeching halt. Check it out.

That's far from Ordinary.