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Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins' Posts

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Continuing the Movement

America is struggling. Families strive to make ends meet while facing an uncertain economic future. The deterioration of our environment - rather than slowing - continues to gain speed. At a moment when we need every opportunity possible, climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people at home and around the world. 

 We are all impacted by these hard times, but it is the historically disadvantaged - people of color and low-income communities - who find themselves at the point of the spear. This challenge is the Civil Rights Movement's unfinished business. As we seek solutions and look …

Read more: Living

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Look out Polar Bears

The American worker: An endangered species

To the iconic image of a polar bear struggling onto a crumbling ice floe, or that of a condor chick peering from its human-made nest, we must add another image: that of an American worker at his or her trade. Endangered species are a concern to all environmentalists, and the plight of the worker should be no different. This is not hyperbole. The unemployment rate continues to climb, surging into double digits with no discernible impact on its speed.  At 10.2 percent, the official unemployment rate is at its highest point in more than a quarter of a century.  And a …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Green jobs for real people: The story behind the recovery numbers

640,329 That figure represents the number of jobs that have been created or saved so far through the Recovery Act, according to a report released by the Obama administration on Friday. But the true significance of this number lies in the people behind it. People like Thalia Williams. Thalia is a single mother of a 3-year-old son, in Brooklyn, N.Y.  "Construction is something that I wanted to do for a long time," she said.  "I had no way of knowing how to get into this field because I always heard it was a man's world."  Now, thanks to an organization …

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Opportunity, fully funded

Today, Green For All and Living Cities unveiled the Energy Efficiency Opportunity Fund alongside President Clinton, at the closing session of Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting. The groundbreaking fund will finance innovative efforts that create jobs and cut energy costs for low-income families through energy-efficiency building retrofits.
 I am proud to say that in addition to advocating for public policies that invest in the clean energy economy, Green For All is now mobilizing private capital to directly create jobs and fight global warming. By investing in new models for financing retrofits, the Fund will help catalyze and leverage additional funding …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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This 9/11, urban communities remember and serve

This September 11th, communities are honoring those who lost their lives eight years ago by participating in service activities. Churches, schools, and community groups are holding nearly 100 Green the Block service events in more than 24 states. All across the nation, people are choosing to act on encouragement instead of discouragement, on hope instead of despair. Both of us are often asked to speak for those who have no voice, and to remind others of those who are often forgotten. We are asked to respond to the frustrations of our communities and fulfill the aspirations of those who are …

Read more: Cities, Living

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Four years after Katrina: Lessons from the Gulf Coast

Four years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. As the Gulf Coast struggled to keep its head above water, the rest of us were glued to the news -- astounded at first by the awful destruction, and then by the inadequate response to so much human suffering. 
 In those days, our TV sets became microscopes, magnifying in shockingly clarity the divide in our nation between those who could afford to escape and those who could not. The Gulf Coast continues to be a microcosm for a nation in search of economic recovery.  What can New Orleans tell us about …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Listen up, video

A new sound, a new economy

People often ask me what the environment has to do with poverty and why communities of color are getting so active in the fight against climate change. Earlier this week, Green For All released a video that gets to the heart of the matter. A New Sound communicates both the pain of the old economy and the promise of a new and clean one. It is a moving depiction of why we need an inclusive green economy -- one that builds safer streets and cleaner communities.  It illustrates why we need a vibrant movement for change and opportunity.  It is why …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Take notes: This could be on the test!

Lessons from the coal industry: Using vs. engaging communities of color

Crossposted from JackandJillPolitics.com - August 5th, 2009 This week revealed some of the best and worst moments in the role of people of color in the struggle over our nation’s energy and economic future. First, fraudulent attempts by coal lobbyists to defeat clean energy legislation, by faking support from communities of color, were uncovered. Then, just yesterday, Green For All, the Hip Hop Caucus, and the Obama Administration announced a new campaign centered around bringing clean energy economy to communities of color: Green the Block. The contrast between these two efforts illustrates the difference between deceptively using and genuinely engaging …