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"More Work, More Wealth, Better Health" in Green Economy

May 28, 2010

SEATTLE - Perhaps the "greenest" of the green jobs advocates spent the day in the State of Washington Thursday, and Van Jones says he likes what he sees. Jones, the former White House green jobs advisor, says Seattle's push to create jobs by retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency is an example of what he's seeing across the country - local governments that aren't waiting around for Congress to agree on a national climate and energy policy.

"Those kinds of efforts begin to show what's possible without necessarily getting everything right in Congress. People can take some federal resources at the local level and do really amazing things with them."

Jones, who is now with the Center for American Progress, says the Gulf Coast oil disaster could jump-start federal climate and clean-energy legislation; the bill known as the American Power Act.

"We simply cannot drill and burn our way out of America's energy problems. We use 25 percent of the world's oil; we have a very small fraction of the world's oil reserves, and we have to do riskier and riskier things to even get at those."

Instead of playing up their political differences, Jones thinks people should focus on their common ground; neighborhoods, cities and counties that need good ideas and jobs.

"Those kinds of opportunities at the local level, where people can start to pioneer and think up new solutions for food, water, waste, energy - all the drivers of ecological problems can also be drivers for economic solutions, if we begin to tackle them."

Jones spoke at Seattle City Hall. He told the overflow crowd there will be "more work, more wealth and better health" in a clean economy than in what he calls a "pollution-based" economy. He complimented Washington's solid reputation as a leader in the green jobs movement.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA