The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
March - April 2007
The Oakland Apollo Alliance works to create good green-collar jobs
The Sierra Club's Northern Alameda County Group has joined the Oakland Apollo Alliance, a new coalition working to make sure that today's economic explosion in renewable energy, alternative fuels, and energy-efficient building can create economic opportunities not just for wealthy investors but for the rest of us. Co-convened by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595, the coalition is affiliated with a larger national effort.
The national Apollo Alliance was founded with the help of Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope in 2003, and we are currently represented on the national steering committee by our associate executive director, Bruce Hamilton. Apollo's national president, Jerome Ringo, also chairs the National Wildlife Federation, and so the organization has a strong environmental element in its leadership. Apollo's mission is to "build a broad-based constituency in support of a sustainable and clean energy economy that will create millions of good jobs for the nation, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create cleaner and healthier communities. Through policy alternatives, organizing, and on the ground results in states and cities across the nation, we are demonstrating that a socially just, environmentally balanced, and economically prosperous future is attainable."
There is a statewide Apollo project for California too, whose goals match those of the national organization as they apply to our state. Sierra Club regional director Carl Zichella has served as a steering committee member since its inception in 2003. There are Apollo projects in Los Angeles and San Diego as well as Oakland, and there is significant interest in an Apollo project in the San Joaquin Valley. The Ella Baker Center's executive director, Van Jones, serves also on the Alliance's statewide and national steering committees.
Oakland is uniquely positioned to show what green-collar jobs can do for a struggling community. Historically a blue-collar town with a strong (but gradually declining) industrial base, Oakland has the workforce and infrastructure to support large-scale green growth. Oakland can be a model sustainable city that creates high-quality jobs for its residents while cleaning up the environment, improving public health, and helping America achieve energy independence.
The Oakland Apollo's "Challenge for Good Jobs and Energy Independence" calls for:
Oakland Apollo to date has two significant policy achievements.
The mindset that wastes and pollutes the planet's resources is the same one that "throws away" people into poverty and prisons. Our failures to steward the environment are deeply related to our failures to care for one another. When we bring about solutions that heal the planet, we can also heal the wounds of injustice and violence. Thus, the Oakland Apollo Alliance is a "movement-building" project - a forum for groups with widely different backgrounds - unions, environmental organizations, community groups, and green business - to come together to explore mutual interests, work through challenges, and advance a common agenda of clean energy and social justice.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
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