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Articles by Pat Walters

Pat Walters is captivated by stories about ecology, landscape, and culture. He practices journalism, and he's glad his job is green.

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When I left the Dream Reborn conference on Friday, I had a few questions: Exactly what are green jobs? How do we create them? And why has it suddenly become so important to talk about them? Yesterday, I got some answers. And it’s a good thing, too, since the conference wraps up today.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the answers I found. (We’ll have more in-depth coverage of the conference in a few days.) Pay close attention, because I’m gonna go through this stuff quickly — and in reverse order.

First up: Why green jobs now? Here’s Van Jones: “One of the reasons that it’s possible to imagine a new economy now is because as much fervor as there is from the grassroots, there’s also change afoot in the broader society.” Most people today recognize that climate change is more than just an environmental problem. Bracken Hendricks, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, went so far as to call it “the biggest human rights crisis in the world.” Various efforts to slow climate change are creating thousands of jobs. Jones, Hendricks, and their colleagues say these new green jobs will help ... Read more

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  • The Dream Reborn conference hits Memphis this weekend

    Yesterday in Memphis, a crowd stood outside the Lorraine Motel to quietly honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the place where he died 40 years ago. All day long, it rained.

    A couple blocks away, another sort of commemoration was going on. There was chanting. A man played a drum and a choir sang. There was lots and lots and lots of clapping.

    Several hundred people had gathered in a conference room to kick off The Dream Reborn, a weekend-long event designed to ignite discussion and collaboration among leaders of the green jobs movement.

    Green jobs have gotten a lot of attention lately, but in case you haven't caught the buzz, here's the idea: Green industries, including everything from solar panel manufacture to community garden construction, are creating thousands of new jobs. The green jobs movement is helping poor people find those jobs and use them to break out of poverty.

    Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx and a leading voice in the movement, explained it like this: "America must be green for all. We believe that the transitional green economy should be used to move people out of poverty, so our country can finally set the example on how to treat people with dignity and protect the earth at the same daggone time!"