When Van Jones was tapped to serve as special adviser on green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality earlier this year, the appointment was heralded as a significant development for the green movement. And for good reason. A pioneer in fusing economic opportunity and social justice with environmentalism, Jones, 40, represents an important progression in our country's perception and thus our approach to combatting global warming.
At the center of Jones' vision for socially uplifting environmentalism is the creation of "green collar" jobs, a phrase he helped extend beyond advocacy and policy circles into mainstream conversation. Jones insists that these jobs not only contribute directly to preserving and enhancing environmental quality but also provide either family-supporting wages or a career ladder to move low-income workers into higher-skilled occupations.
In less than two years, Jones has risen from local grass-roots organizer to shepherd of a national movement to build an inclusive green economy one that connects the people who most need work to the work that most needs to be done. His organization, Green for All, has helped deliver on the promise and potential of his vision with real jobs for real people, especially those who need new avenues of economic advancement during these challenging times. Steadily by redefining green Jones is making sure that our planet and our people will not just survive but also thrive in a clean-energy economy.
DiCaprio is an Academy Award-nominated actor and a committed environmentalist
Fast Fact: At 25, Jones started a lawyer-referral service for victims of police abuse in San Francisco