As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I recently attended "The New Green Economy" conference organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment. The conference was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington and welcomed 1,000 attendees at this year's gathering. I worked with the team providing the event coverage and was fortunate to meet and interview Van Jones.
You may remember Van Jones. He was nominated by President Barack Obama to be his Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Although ultimately, Jones withdrew under a cloud of controversy, he is widely regarded to be at the forefront of innovation on environmental jobs and entrepreneurship. He was a little reluctant to be interviewed, but he did want to get his message out as widely as possible. I asked him what that message would be. His response:
"The main message is the tremendous opportunity that we have to make a difference. The desire that is still there in the country to make a real difference with green solutions. People in the country are concerned about the economics and jobs and America's strength for the long term. We need to help them understand that there are green economic solutions for all of that; that you can save money and make money and not just spend money with green solutions."
That is the sound of positive thinking at work. It's also what we believe first and foremost here at the Green Business Alliance. Right now, a lot of people are thinking the worst about the economy, but those people are wrong. We've always turned things around in this country and we're likely to do the same again. And even though things can seem a bit bleak right now (it is difficult to be positive, with the unemployment rate at 9.7% this month, but consider that's up from 10 percent in the final month of 2009), the reality is that the American economy has started to grow again. The gross domestic product grew at 6 percent in the final quarter of last year.
There really is a lot of good news out there for us. Sometimes, it can be hard to focus on the good things that are going on. At such moments, it can be even harder to make good things happen for ourselves and the planet. But Van Jones seems to think it's the best of all times to do exactly that. Click here to see more of his interview.
(You can click on his photo to check out his interview or watch all of "The New Green Economy" conference coverage.)