The Corps Network Joins Green For All for "Forum on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Communities of Color"

Van Jones moderates a panel of expert speakers at Green For All's Forum on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Communities of Color.

Yesterday several members of The Corps Network's staff were honored to join Green For All at an event that focused on the opportunities presented to communities by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency's finalized Clean Power Plan.

Speakers included:

  • Julian Mocine McQueen, Green For All Outreach Director
  • Vien Truong, Green For All National Director
  • Kim Noble, Green For All Director of National Partnerships
  • Van Jones, Green For All President and Founder
  • The Honorable Raul Grijalva (AZ), U.S House of Representatives
  • Elianne Ramos, Principal and CEO of Speak Hispanic Communications
  • Key Chatterjee, Executive Director, US Climate Action Network
  • The Honorable Keith Ellison (MN), U.S. House of Representatives
  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ

In her opening remarks, Vien Truong put a big emphasis on her desire to tell the uplifting stories of those people who have not traditionally benefitted from the economics of the energy industry and who probably have been negatively impacted by pollution. She said that there were already many positive examples, from places like California, where new programs were helping communities benefit from clean energy economically as well as environmentally.

In his keynote, Van Jones then spent a few minutes detailing the challenge that President Obama has faced in reducing carbon emissions. He then introduced a panel he moderated by asking "How do you take the new rules [of the Clean Power Plan] and push down on the pollution and up on jobs? That's what we are going to hear about today."

Van did not shy away from bringing some less savory thoughts and comments out into the open, and began the panel by asking Elianne Ramos, CEO of Speak Hispanic Communications, to respond to the idea "that a lot of people pretend that Latinos don't care about the issue [environmentalism]." Elianne responded that this perception was false and that connections with nature were strong within Latino cultures. For instance, she mentioned that recycling and reusing materials was a well-established part of Latino culture.

Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of the US Climate Action Network, spoke about the importance of giving people the opportunity to come together and find common ground. She mentioned that the recent climate march in New York City was attended by a variety of immigration and AIDS advocacy groups, whose chief cause might not have been climate change, but nonetheless it was something that they supported.

U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (MN) emphasized that in regard to positive developments in the clean energy sector, "people who profit from the status quo are going to push back." He said, however, to not be deterred, and to "not treat the clean power plan as a Washington thing."

Van Jones asked U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva to speak about a bill he recently introduced that would boost clean energy on tribal lands. The Congressman responded by explaining that "having clean power as an economic tool could be powerful." He mentioned that the excess energy produced by tribes could be sold outside of reservations, providing a new economic resource for tribes. He also noted that tribes own lands that count toward more than 25% of the United States' renewable energy capacity.

The conversation then took a turn and focused on how to build a stronger grassroots movement. Elainne Ramos spoke about the need to establish leadership pipelines that would provide young people with more opportunities to be involved and receive mentorship from current environmental leaders. This is the type of work, of course, that members of The Corps Network excel at doing. 

One of the other big topics discussed by the panel and also later in a keynote address by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, were how to blend together the goals of religious groups and envionmentalism. Rev. Moss III highlighted how as part of Green For All's "Green the Church" initiative, his church had implemented a variety of environmental practices, including an organic farm. He noted that organic farming in particular, was a fantastic hands-on opportunity to incorporate STEM-focused learning for participants. He also talked about how his church was involving returning citizens from prison in projects, including the renovation of the church into a LEED-certified building.

In his concluding remarks, Congressman Grijalva implored for the audience to reach new people and broaden the movement and "keep it personal, and talk about the future." He added: "Climate change is the most important unifying issue we have as a country and a globe... Barack's got a nice wingman right now with Pope Francis on the issue."

The Corps Network looks forward to continuing to work with Green For All to broaden the environmental movement to communities of color. We will also continue to work with our members to implement the Clean Power Plan and activities that combat climate change.

Boiler Plate: 
Yesterday several members of The Corps Network's staff were honored to join Green For All at an event that focused on the opportunities presented to communities by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency's finalized Clean Power Plan.

Utah Conservation Corps to Launch Nation’s First Fossil-Free Bike Crew

From Utah Conservation Corps
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2015

The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) has secured a $20,000 grant from Utah State Park’s Recreational Trails Program to launch the nation’s first fossil-free bike crew. This four-person AmeriCorps crew will be based out of UCC’s Salt Lake City field office and will use cargo bicycles to transport themselves, tools, food, and camping gear to two Utah State Park sites for seven weeks during the summer. The crew will cycle from Salt Lake City to both East Canyon State Park (33 miles away) and Deer Creek Canyon (56 miles away) for six-day work hitches before returning back to Salt Lake City. During their 7 weeks, the crew will complete two miles of trail construction and five miles trail maintenance at the two state parks.

“This crew advances the UCC and the conservation corps movement into a more sustainable future” said director Sean Damitz. “UCC staff has been dedicated to launching this crew to address issues of carbon footprint and air quality while sending a message that conservation work can be completed solely by human-powered transportation. “

A kickoff event for the crew is being planned for downtown Salt Lake City at noon on Wednesday June 3, 2015. The UCC is currently recruiting applicants to be part of this bike crew. The UCC is also approaching businesses for additional funding and in-kind donations for the crew.

In 2014, 165 UCC AmeriCorps members created or maintained 177 miles of trail, constructed or repaired 8.5 miles of fence, restored 14,996 acres of public land and recruited 4,214 volunteers serving 9,582 hours on projects throughout Utah.

More information on UCC can be found at http://www.usu.edu/ucc

About the Division of Student Services at USU

Led by Vice President James Morales, the Division of Student Services at Utah State University is committed to student success and organized into 15 unique departments, each with a variety of dedicated programs and services that foster engagement, leadership, wellness and access and diversity for all students.

Contact:

Sean Damitz, Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning

(cell) 435-770-6104
sean.damitz@usu.edu

Boiler Plate: 
The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) has secured a $20,000 grant from Utah State Park’s Recreational Trails Program to launch the nation’s first fossil-free bike crew. This four-person AmeriCorps crew will be based out of UCC’s Salt Lake City field office and will use cargo bicycles to transport themselves, tools, food, and camping gear to two Utah State Park sites for seven weeks during the summer.

In the Eyes of a Corpsmember: The People's Climate March

Written by Neysa Guzman of Montgomery County Conservation Corps

The People’s Climate March took place on September 21, 2014 in New York City and it was one of the larger protests the USA has ever seen with over 300,000 people. It was an incredible experience.

There were so many different types of people involved: people that survived floods, farmers, students, musicians, environmentalists, young children and older people.  All these people were united to stand together, strong, ready and powerful. We were all full of love that was displayed in people’s different forms of art, signs, music and dance. We celebrated the hope that we can change things. We wanted to get people’s attention to the fact that we are hurting the earth so bad that it may not be fixable if we do not stop. We chanted against oil companies and other big industries that refuse to change the way they operate.

I feel like every person should care, especially young people because this is our future, our earth that we will inherit and lead.  I am glad that we could be there to represent the Montgomery County Conservation Corps. Being a part of the MCCC I’ve gotten to learn to love and really value the incredible earth that we have. Our program teaches us about the environment and the best ways to improve it. It also teaches us to fight for what you believe in and keep going until you succeed. The protest opened my eyes to another fight and because of it I will continue to fight for environmental justice. 

Boiler Plate: 
"I feel like every person should care, especially young people because this is our future, our earth that we will inherit and lead. I am glad that we could be there to represent the Montgomery County Conservation Corps."

The Climate Change Work of Seattle's EarthCorps

EarthCorps recently hosted a U.S. Department of State staff member. They work with the State Department to secure visas for EarthCorps' international participants. Secretary of State John Kerry has a strong interest in climate change, so EarthCorps was asked to provide some information about their work in the context of climate change. 

They've put together a nifty handout which highlights the work of three international alumni as well as two EarthCorps initiatives that all focus on climate change.

Download it here.