Van Jones on Personalizing Green

Question: How do consumers navigate all of the advertising surrounding the green movement?

Van Jones: 
   Well, the great thing is that we’ve won the debate.  We just have it one enough power to implement the solutions that we need, but the debate has been won.  It used to be that the polluters and the [IB] for the status quo will try to confuse people about whether there was a problem when you talk about global warming.  Now, they’ve given up on that.  We beat them on that frankly.  Al Gore beat them on that.  So, now they are trying to confuse people about the solutions to global warming, and so, you have this whole kind of rise of the dirty greens, you know, politicians who will still have the same status quo pro-polluter agenda but they’ll put solar panels in their ads, you know, they’ll put windmills in their ads.  It’s kind of like green washing with corporations, we have the same toxic product but a new green label, you now have politicians, they’re the same toxic policies but they have new green commercials and people tend to get confused at first.  But the great thing about, you know, it’s that people learn, people were confused about Iraq and now everybody figured out that, you know, it’s a very, very bad idea.  People were confused about corn-based ethanol.  A couple of years ago you couldn’t open up a magazine without corn-based ethanol being the magical cure for everything.  Some those like myself were screaming and saying, you know, you can’t burn food in a world full of hungry people.  The corn is food not fuel if you start having the supermarket and the gas station fight for the same ear of corn.  You’re going to push the price of corn up for everybody and you’re just [send alarms].  Well, guess what, now everybody knows corn-based ethanol not a smart way to go.  So, people will figure out all these other shams and scams, you know, oil shale, tar sands, drilling up our coastline, burning kittens, you know, whatever, you know, these people come up with is the next, you know, great way to make energy.  And, eventually, people will say, you know what, it’s wind, it’s solar, it’s geothermal, there might be some smart bio-fuels in there, but that’s the stable, secure, homegrown energy platform that we can grow an economy on, that we don’t have to fight, war is over, that we can rely upon.  That will be, that is the right position, it will become the common sense position.  The bad part about not living in dictatorship is that democracy takes a lot of, you know, time and arguments, but, eventually, we tend to come for the right position and I expect that we will on this question.

It may take some time, but according to Van Jones, people will understand the importance of a secure, green economy.

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less