March 7, 2011 — Van Jones, the second speaker in the Visiting Environmental Writers and Scholars Series at the University of Virginia's Brown College, will discuss his book, "Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems," on March 23 at 5 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 108.
A New York Times best-seller, "Green Collar Economy" explores the environmental programs and labor policies Jones sought to implement while working at the White House. Jones served as the green jobs adviser for President Obama's Council on Environmental Quality in 2009.
His book suggests policy initiatives that he says would put people to work in a sustainable economy. Jones has won numerous awards for his scholarship and activism, perhaps most notably from Time magazine, which listed him as one of 2009's Top 100 Most Influential People.
Before the White House post, Jones, already a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy, co-founded three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All, where he serves as senior policy adviser. Green For All's mission is to figure out how to train underprivileged young or unemployed people in green-jobs skills, such as installing solar panels and retrofitting houses to make them more energy efficient.
Currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Jones also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University as a distinguished visiting fellow in the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
A Yale law school graduate, Jones told CNN two years ago: "I got tired of seeing young people without any hope. 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?' "
The final speaker for the spring semester is Janisse Ray, author of the award-winning book, "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood," who will visit April 21 and 22. The book explores her upbringing in a South Georgia junkyard. She will offer lectures on ecology and discuss her more recent work on seed pools and the dangers of contemporary seed hybridization technology.