By Julia Rhee and Julian McQueen
In the past five weeks, I’ve been to 20 cities across America. At every stop along the way, I asked the people I met the same four questions:
Do you know someone who’s out of work right now? Do you believe that people have the right to clean air, water, and food? Do you believe in sustaining a world that will be around for our children, grandchildren, and their children?
And finally, have you heard about green jobs?
The people I informally surveyed were not your typical environmental or social justice activists. They were not economists or politicians. In fact, the only thing they all had in common was that they are fans of the multi-platinum pop group, The Black Eyed Peas.
See, I’ve been on tour with The Black Eyed Peas blackeyedpeas.greenforall.org as an ambassador from Green For All greenforall.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
For a self-identified racial-justice-activist-gone-green, I have to admit that this was partially an interesting social experiment for me. How much traction could environmental and social justice issues get with die-hard music fans?
The fact is, though only about 30% of people I talked to had heard of “green jobs”, most everyone had friends or family who were unemployed or underemployed, and most everyone supported access for clean air, water, and food.
While the values of the Americans I met support jobs for our communities and preserving a healthy environment, there is still work to be done in engaging people in the movement to create green jobs and a clean-energy economy.