Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Glover for Governor: platform responses

Leaders of the Green Party of Pennsylvania invited me to stand as their candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.  I agreed, in order to promote green solutions.  The first published announcement of candidacy appeared in Philadelphia Weekly.  And here follow my answers to questions posed by Philadelphia's Neighborhood Networks.  For further information about the campaign: paulglover.org/governor 

What would be your three highest priorities as Governor?

1.  Aggressively fund energy efficiencies and expand tax credits for solar/wind/cogeneration, to reduce demand for fossil fuels and end fracking.  Shift budget from prisons to jobs and schools, and from roadbuilding to transit.

2.  Fully employ all Pennsylvanians to rebuild cities, suburbs and farms toward balance with nature, partly with regional credits and regional stock exchanges, as described in my book Green Jobs Philly.

3.  Permit formation of grassroots health cooperatives to provide a genuinely nonprofit medical base for statewide universal health coverage.


Where do you stand on the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling? Would you support a Constitutional amendment that establishes that money is not speech, and that corporations are not persons entitled to constitutional rights? Why or why not? 
Support efforts to repeal Citizens United.  Favor Constitutional amendment to revoke "corporate personhood," and to break the link between corporate money and "free speech."  I was a speaker at the 2011 "Move to Amend" conference in D.C.

What is your view of limits on campaign contributions by individuals? By PACs? By corporations? By unions? Should names and amounts of contributors be published online? 
Access to broadcast media should be provided free to all ballot candidates, by reviving the fairness doctrine, since airwaves are public.  This would decrease prices of print advertising, through competition. 

Campaign finance reform should be enacted that strictly caps contributions by individuals, PACs and corporations.  Campaign playing field should be leveled so that ideas and policies are broadly available. 

Contributions should be published online.

Voting Rights

Would you support a repeal of the Voter ID law in Pennsylvania? How would you ensure that all qualified voters are able to cast their votes in a timely and valid manner?
Support repeal of such vote suppression laws.

Would you support early voting or vote by mail up to two weeks before Election Day?
Support enaction of such vote facilitation.

Would you require a voter verified paper audit trail on voting machines?
Yes.  Lack of paper verification has already corrupted elections.


What is your major proposal for creating more jobs in Pennsylvania, and how many of those jobs will be lower wage vs. higher wage jobs?
Full employment is possible, since there are billions more hours of labor needed to rebuild our cities, suburbs and farms so that they are maximally energy efficient and regionally reliant for provision of food and fuel.  

My book "Green Jobs Philly" details a dozen such innovations.  Among these are urban permaculture, greenhousing and aquaculture; insulation factories; and regional stock exchanges that gather capital of all kinds (including land) for regional eco-development.  Import replacement programs and industrial retention are key as well.  I would promote the Green Labor Administration (GLAD) as a nonprofit WPA, to coordinate these activities.

Lower costs of living are de facto higher wages, so will promote regional economies that reduce prices of food, fuel, housing and health care.

 How, if at all, would you improve the bargaining rights of public employees? Would you support legislation to prohibit employee firings without due cause?
Public employees need to emphasize solidarity with fellow workers so that all advance together.  Otherwise there is resentment and right-wing push back.  Unions need to emphasize greater worker control, rather than merely bigger paychecks.  Otherwise industries merely leave town.  Local authorities may exercise eminent domain to prevent industrial job flight (Pittsburgh-Nabisco 1982).

Please comment on the following policy issues and whether you would support legislation that would:

Raise the minimum wage? 
Yes.  Spending power of the minimum wage has lagged during the past 40 years.  The current minimum wage is so low that, to keep employees alive, taxpayers must subsidize businesses.  Higher minimum wage benefits small businesses by expanding discretionary income.

Assure that women receive equal pay for equal work?
Yes.  Support the ERA as passed in Pennsylvania 1972.

Mandate earned sick leave?
Yes, though details will need to accommodate small businesses.
Establish paid family leave?
Yes.  Scandinavian countries have proven the financial, social and public health benefits of this policy.


How do you propose to ensure that schools in our state are adequately funded? Would you support a funding formula for school districts to ensure that they are adequately funded?  If so, what would be the key factors in such a formula?

Public schools should be well funded so that all students are respected.  This require teachers who deeply care, modern libraries in each school, extracurricular activities, bathrooms that work, and meals.

While candidate Schwartz would fund our schools partly with fracking revenue, I believe our children need healthy water as well as good schools and jobs.  The far greater funding for schools will be redirected from prisons and by progressive income tax.  The wealthy will prosper when surrounded by educated people rather than a vast restive underclass.  It costs less to send youngsters to college than to jail.

Curriculum reform is likewise essential, to reward creativity by both students and teachers, to provide knowledge relevant to varied social conditions, and to maintain enthusiasm for learning.  Key elements of a well-rounded education include community management, entrepreneurship, public advocacy, and conflict resolution, The arts are quite as important as sciences, since they teach constructive expression of both anger and enthusiasm. 

I have drafted plans for Neighborhood Enterprise SchoolTeachers (NESTS), to provide immediate reward for learning where this would prevent dropouts.  

Green jobs can also employ least formally-educated youth, and ex-offenders, to prepare Pennsylvania for its next century.

What additional regulation, if any, do you believe should be applied to the public funding and operation of charter schools? 
My motto is No School Left Behind,  No funding for charters and their facilities should outstrip funding for general public schools in class size, special needs, employment counseling.

Would you support more funding for higher education or should institutions raise their own funds by increasing tuition?
Many universities are pricing themselves out of the market.  Their high tuitions are caused by high overhead-- by excess bureaucracies, overbuilding, and wasteful utility loads.

State government can facilitate transition to affordable education by rewarding those colleges and universities that use staff efficiently, reduce energy loads, reduce student costs of housing and textbooks.

Likewise, state funding for education should emphasize those business and technical fields that most directly contribute to making the state more energy efficient, and which stimulate regional economies.

It is the obligation of elder generations to transfer knowledge to the next generations painlessly, so that society can progress.  Student loan usury betrays this obligation.  The State of Pennsylvania should support the student loan buy-back campaign which retires student loans for pennies on the dollar.


Assuming the need for more revenue, what statewide taxes would you increase? What, if any, new taxes would you propose?
We need a progressive income tax.  This state offers a good quality of life to those who are wealthy, and their expanded tax contribution, to an efficiently-run government, will make their lives here even more enjoyable.

Do you favor eliminating the Delaware loophole? Why or why not?
Sure, it would capture about $50 million additional for Pennsylvania.  I believe that this legislation has been enacted.

Do you support the proposed Constitutional Amendment that would take away local discretion in taxing non-profit institutions?
Enabling localities to define and tax "purely public charities" risks inequitable taxation.  These taxes could divert resources from community health centers and related essential programs.  

At the same time, some large "nonprofit" institutions serve as tax shelters for their extensive for-profit enterprises.  Such tax-free businesses can burden localities with uncompensated costs of fire and police. State standards for taxing these should be explicit and might be available to localities when the State neglects to collect.

Would you favor an amendment to allow for graduated tax rates?


Would you do anything to foster the development of worker, consumer or producer co-ops, and what would that be?
Am deeply committed to co-ops, which I regard as the foundation for the viability of the middle class and traditionally poor hereafter.  I've been involved in the co-op movement for over 40 years, beginning as an employee of Southern Consumers' Co-op in Louisiana.  I've been an active member and/or employee of several food co-ops, and am founder of the Ithaca Health co-op.  I started a revolving loan fund that makes interest-free loans to Community Supported Agriculture.

Therefore, state loans and grants for start up and expansion of co-ops, particularly worker-owned co-ops, should be generously available to co-ops that make specific and measurable commitments to Rochdale principles.

Do you favor legislation creating a public bank along the lines of the Bank of North Dakota, or fostering the development of county or municipal public banks?
Yes.  This will stimulate business and job development by retaining capital, providing low-interest loans, and set public pensions upon a secure foundation.  I appeared on a panel with Ellen Brown, author of "The Public Bank Solution," and have attended several of the organizing meetings for a state bank, in Philadelphia.  Moreover, I have drafted plans for the Philadelphia Regional and Independent Stock Exchange (PRAISE).



How would you fund increased road and bridge repair?
Favor user fees for road repair, with higher fees required for state routes whose bridges are most urgently needing repair.

How high would you prioritize mass transit in the overall transportation funding picture?
Transit is the pivot of our future, economically and environmentally.  It should receive highest budget priority.

Would you support or oppose funding for bike lanes?
Support bike lanes and bike paths.  Bicycle lanes reduce traffic congestion.  Bicycles reduce damage to roadways, thus reducing costs of road repair.  Bicycles reduce pollution of air and water; they reduce urban respiratory illness.

I have relied on a bicycle for 60 years and do not own an automobile.


Would you direct your representative to the Delaware River Basin Commission to vote for or against allowing fracking in the Delaware River watershed basin?
Yes.  Emphatically oppose fracking because it has proven to pollute groundwater and cause earth tremors, because the toxic chemicals used are proprietary secrets, and because most of the gas extracted is intended for export rather than to lower our costs.

Would you support a moratorium on new gas drilling permits and new shale gas infrastructure until and unless scientists and policy makers come up with a waste solution and find a way to avoid drinking water contamination, surface water contamination, air pollution, and massive methane leaks into our climate from all phases of this extraction process?
Support this moratorium.  Caution is essential when dealing with water quality.  For example, experts assured us for decades that cigarettes, nuclear fission and food additives were safe.

Would you support Act 13 (impact fee, zoning for gas drilling, physician "gag" clause, etc.) as is or would you make any changes?
Act 13 is an intolerable intrusion on the obligations of townships to regulate for public safety, and upon physicians to communicate public health concerns.

How would you speed the transition from an economy reliant on carbon-based fossil fuels to one based on renewables?
I'd shift the state budget to stimulate energy efficiencies, since the best fuel is least need for fuel.  Favor both incentives and requirements for efficiencies.  Germany mandates R90 for new construction.  Favor tax incentives for solar, wind, cogeneration and microhydro.
--- I received a grant 1989 from the Fund for Investigative Journalism for my study of the Tompkins County fuel system, and was appointed to the Ithaca Energy Commission in 1995.

State Parks and Forests

Do you support or oppose clear cutting on state forest lands?  How about fracking in state forests or parks?

Oppose clearcutting and fracking everywhere.

What would you do as Governor to ensure our parks and forests remain available for our grandchildren?
Population pressure undermines the future of every good thing. 

State Liquor Laws

Do you believe the PA Wine and Spirits shops should be privatized, and if so, in whole or in part?
Favor retaining public ownership. Restrained and orderly distribution of wine and liquor outweighs greater projected tax revenue from thousands of corner stores.


What is your view of a woman's right to make health decisions concerning her own body? Do you support or oppose the current restrictions on abortion in PA? Would you seek further restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks or require new standards for abortion facilities? 
Pro-life means more than merely pro-fetus.  Oppose the state's intrusion on a woman's right to decide whether to have a child.

Would you support or oppose increased state funding for family planning?
Expanded family planning leads to greater public health and  fewer abortions.

Would you support an expansion in Medicaid and if so, how will you deal with the 10% state contribution in 2017?
The expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania will benefit our economy and our taxpayers when a progressive income tax is enacted. I support SB400, which projects a $17 billion saving statewide.

Do you support a state based health insurance exchange or is it better to let the federal government run the exchange on behalf of the state?
Absent a universal coverage plan, I would prefer a state-based ACA exchange that is at least as inclusive as the federal plan.  However, I am author of the book "A Crime Not a Crisis," which details collusion between Pennsylvania legislators, insurance regulators and insurers to maintain corporate monopolies.  Therefore I am not assured that current Pennsylvania administrators would enforce ACA for maximum public benefit.

Would you support or oppose a state single payer plan for Pennsylvania? Please explain.
I support state single payer legislation, and have done so for years.   This will benefit both public health and our economy, enabling people to start businesses doing what they enjoy doing, and shifting wages from insurance premiums to the new economy.

Again, we need a genuinely nonprofit medical infrastructure in order to lower medical costs.  Grassroots co-ops are able to provide coverage for a fraction of corporate insurance.


Do you believe the current welfare grant should be increased?  Are there any other changes you would make to our welfare laws for families with dependent children?
Green job development and urban rebuilding need all hands on deck.  Therefore, full housing, food, child care and community college tuition should provided in exchange for sweat equity.  Everyone who wakes up in the morning has something to offer.
Their contribution, for public benefit rather than corporate exploitation, should be compensated with respect and dignity.  Part payment may be made in the form of community credits. 

Do you believe that General Assistance should be restored? Why or why not?
Yes.  GA and GA Medical Assistance provides 68,000 Pennsylvanians without children with health care access, safety from domestic abuse, assistance with crippling disability, and alcohol/drug rehab.  Am likewise opposed to the projected food stamp cuts.  I organized a "Making Hunger Visible" demonstration in November 2013.


Would you legalize and regulate the sale and production of marijuana, or otherwise change our drug laws?
Yes would legalize.  Criminalization of marijuana damages lives far more than inhalation does.  Taxpayers pay police, court and prison costs to restrain this relatively harmless euphoriant.  Criminalization is moreover hypocritical since sale of deadly tobacco is permitted.  Pharmaceuticals are far more harmful than marijuana, which has proven an effective palliative for many ills.

What would you do to stop the proliferation of guns and gun crimes in urban areas?
Jobs fight crime.  As Pennsylvania's industrial jobs were exported, desperation and drug sales moved in.  Would establish the Green Labor Administration (GLAD).  

Responsible gun ownership should not be infringed.  Their legitimate use is to provide food, to protect the home and the United States Constitution.

Within Pennsylvania's first- and second-class cities I favor limits on semiautomatic weapons, and 7-bullet clip maximum.  Toughen anti-straw purchase enforcement. 

Add nonviolent conflict resolution to curriculums.

What are your views on "stop and frisk" and how it should be implemented, if at all?
This is a racist strategy that decreases respect for police and impedes community policing.  It would be more effective to stop and frisk bankers, to ensure they are not carrying junk bonds; and to stop and frisk elected officials, to ensure they are not carrying cash bribes.

What is your view of the death penalty and the fact that some states have adopted a moratorium on it?
Favor ending the death penalty.  It does not deter homicide, it executes many innocent persons, its costs to taxpayers are greater even than life sentences, it is rarely imposed by civilized nations.

Do you believe our prisons should be privately owned or managed?
Private ownership of prisons is itself a crime.  They are schools for criminality, releasing inmates often more bitter and more desperate than when they entered.  The prison industry feeds on social tragedy, lobbies for money that should go instead for rebuilding cities and towns.

The PA Department of Corrections (DOC) budget was once $200 million and now approaches $2 billion. Do you think we should continue on this path of increases; if so, why, and if not, how would you reallocate some of these funds to counter incarceration and recidivism and what amount of funds would you reallocate?
Decriminalization of victimless crimes will reduce the public burden of prison building and maintenance.  Favor repeal of the 1995 three-strikes law.  Favor alternatives to incarceration, peer-managed youth courts and restorative justice programs.  

Money saved should shift to green job development in cities and towns currently depending on prison employment.  Any prison labor should be compensated at above minimum wage rather than slave wages.


Do you support legislation enabling gay people to marry?
Yes.  People in love should be entitled to marry.

What is your view on employment non-discrimination for LGBT individuals? Do you support HB 300?
Favor passage of HB 300, which provides protections regarding employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Would you support anti-bullying legislation, such as the PASS Act?
Yes, favor the PASS Act.  Would review the specific legal definitions of bullying that follow enaction, and the remedies within and beyond school.


In addition to recognizing the role the Federal government has, what should a PA Plan look like to deal with employers and the issues around illegal or undocumented immigrants?

Cease collaboration with ICE. 

Should undocumented immigrants be granted a path to citizenship?  If yes, please provide an overview of your plan. If not, what do you propose as an alternative? Should the state provide public benefits such as medical, social services, employment and/or educational services to them and their families?

As long as Pennsylvania and the United States offer comparatively greater shelter from dire poverty, famine and war, people will arrive here illegally.  Keeping these people outside the law will merely keep them in the shadows of society. They should be welcome to contribute constructively and to pay taxes.  They will not compete for jobs if we expand job programs as introduced above.

People without easy access to health care become a likely source of contagion.

An ultimate solution to illegal immigration is therefore to foster labor rights, human rights and dignified economic opportunity for all people in the countries from which people escape.  Therefore, Pennsylvania-based manufacturers and retailers should be rewarded for maintaining sweatshop-free standards.

Note: I speak Spanish and read Al Dia weekly.  I have lived in Nicaragua.

Should undocumented students who otherwise qualify be entitled to pay in-state tuition at state-related and community colleges?
Yes.  The alternative is to maintain a permanent ignorant and alienated class that will drag us all down.  Their talent should be welcome.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Labor: the New Gold Standard

Today, while much of America tilts beyond chronic recession into early depression, it is time to begin an orderly national transition from dollars to HOURS.  This profound heresy becomes perhaps inevitable, since dollars have become tokens of unrepayable debt.  And, bluntly, they're a tool with which speculators gamble our jobs and homes.  

By contrast, HOURS are as steady as the clock, because minutes neither expand nor contract.  HOURS when properly issued represent basic labor that produces real goods and services.


Philly's Choice

Philadelphia is ready to become one of the most beautiful and enjoyable cities in America.  It's fully capable of being a model green city.  Our city is also ready to become hell on earth, due to rocketing fuel and food prices.

We're being forced to think outside the box because, with the collapse of fossil fuel, there will be no box to think inside.  Since normalcy is no longer practical we'll choose either to rebuild this city or be bystanders at its decline.  Within thirty years Philadelphia will be either a green city or a ghost town.

So let's imagine a Philadelphia that works well with one tenth the oil and natural gas.  Prepare to laugh at some of these suggestions.  Then prepare to work.  Rebuilding Philadelphia so it secures and delights all of us, and our children, will require hundreds of thousands of new jobs.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Student Debt Rebellion

As a former college professor, I have told my students that I believe they have no moral obligation to repay student loans. Several intelligent nations provide free university education so their youth will be better citizens. 

The corporations which they would repay have stolen their futures, by destroying America's industrial and financial base, while MediCare and Social Security are drained.

It is the obligation of elders to communicate essential knowledge to new generations painlessly, so that society may progress.

Therefore, rather than worry about loan repayments, graduates have a greater moral obligation to do with their lives what is best for themselves, their families, communities, the nation and the planet.

Ordinarily we are obliged to honor contracts. This contract, however, chains graduates to decades of debt servitude which they must repay often by doing work they dislike and which damages their future. 

When the alternative to signing such a malicious bond is having no college education, it is made under duress and should be broken. Both education and health care are rights to be enjoyed by all, not just the rich.

The game is rigged by bankers and Wall Street, who are screwing an entire generation. Their mismanagement of the economy has broken the implied contract between college diplomas and dignified jobs.

Again, the greater moral obligation of graduates is explore lives and work which repair communities and nature. Obligation to bankers is last on the list.

When parents cosign the contract the student is on the hook.  Millions of such students and parents will need to create broader political challenges.  

But when the student is the only signer they have complete discretion.  Their penalty for defaulting loans is that they'll less easily be able to buy a home or car in their name.  You can live in a home or drive a car anyway.  Owning cars and homes has been overrated.  They easily become anchors rather than wings.

Universities will be forced to accommodate new realities.  Most curricula are less relevant to the urgencies of rebuilding civilization so we live well with less fossil fuel, reliant more upon neighborhoods than corporations.  Those universities will fade whose teaching is designed for service to corporations, and whose giant bureaucracies and buildings demand higher tuition.

New universities and new curricula are emerging to serve needs for low-cost and enlightened knowledge.  When you don't see education of a style and price you prefer, get together to create your own curricula and university and credential.  By effective promotion, you'll overtake the Ivies.

Am intending to start a school system in Philadelphia which credentials and rewards low-income neighbors for teaching skills to neighbor children, who are also rewarded and credentialed.

Glover is author of the book "How to Take Power" and the article "Time for Millennnials to Take Control."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beyond LEED Standards

Contemporary LEED standards are feel-good gestures, by the standards of the 22nd Century.

So I suggest the following standards that expand LEED:

Cities of the future will need buildings which eliminate rather than reduce reliance on fossil fuels and grids, while lowering living costs, promoting self-reliance and social justice.  The closest examples in North America are Earthships, Living Machines, Ecolonies and Rocky Mountain Institute.  Cities will evolve to meet such standards, or civilization will crumble.

DESIGN: Deeply earth-bermed passive solar orientation for heating and cooling without fossil fuels.  Bermsgardened.  Sun tubes and onsite PV for lighting.  Rainwater collection in cisterns on roof and basement.  Edible roof garden.  Trombe walls, garden walls and aquaculture.  Basement food storage.  Maximum three bermed stories above ground.  Upper floors wheelchair access via berm slopes.  No elevator.  
CONSTRUCTION: Disassembly and re-use of materials from existing structures.  At least 80% recycled building materials (particularly from existing building on site) rather than virgin materials.  Maximum employment of physical labor, maximum from within neighborhood.  No extension of existing footprint.  
SURROUNDS: Porous walkways only.  No cement or asphalt paving.  Edible landscaping.  No lawn.  No automobile or truck parking spaces.  Lots smaller than 5 acres: at least 25% orchard.  Six-ten acre lots: at least 50% orchard.  Above ten acres: at least 75% orchard.  Fruits for free harvest and/or local sale.  Recycle leaves and drops.
ACCESS: Located within three blocks of train, trolley, pedicab, or bus route.  Bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair access.  Solar hot water showers for these commuters.
INTERNAL TECHNOLOGIES: Solar, wind, biogas, hydro and/or pedal electric.  No connection to electric utility other than for reverse metering.  Greywater re-use.  Waterless toilets and urinals only.  No flush toilets: onsite processing and re-use.
NTERNAL PROCESSES: Recycling only. No trash collection.  Biodegradable cleansers only.  No bottled water.  No paper towels or blow dry.  Furniture, carpets, drapes and other accoutrements regionally-made of recycled materials.
CORPORATE FORM: Nonprofit land trust.  Building reverts to neighborhood organization upon extended vacancy.  Stocks not publicly traded, other than on green regional stock exchange.  Equitable development principles.
PURPOSE: Strengthens neighborhood power and affordability. Nonmilitary uses: no building can purport to benefit the planet while preparing to destroy it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Deep Green Jobs

The green jobs movement parades as many green hues as our national parks, ranging from deep green work to pale green employment.  All green work expands the economy by reducing waste of resources, workers and wealth. Green jobs make life easier for everyone by reducing the costs of fuel, food, and housing. Green work repairs soil, water and air, making these cleaner and healthier.

Deeper green jobs build profound solutions to resource depletion, by expanding use of passive solar HVAC, trains, bicycles, superwindows, deconstruction and depaving, rainwater catchment and solar distillation, earth shelters, cellulose insulation, tree-free paper, compost toilets and greywater systems, urban farms and orchards, edible landscaping, greenhousing, solar windowboxes and solar water heaters, green roofs and white roofs. These humble tools prove that billions of humans can enjoy this planet while repairing it.
Most American cities are today chained to crumbling and costly centralized grids-- sewers, freeways, power plants. Deep green technologies can gradually supplant these grey techs. Reliance on fossil fuel can be reduced toward zero, shrinking taxes by reducing repair fees.
Liz Robinson, whose Energy Coordinating Agency, trains people to insulate and weatherize, says, “You’re going to be shocked how big these efforts are. The tipping point... is very exciting to see. Efficiencies are the cleanest, safest, most labor-intensive, and cheapest sources of energy.”
Yet the deepest green jobs do even more than sharply cut fossil fuel dependence, and provide more than a paycheck. They serve the broader social mission to shift economic power toward lower-income neighborhoods. They replace the Poverty Industry (charity, police, courts, jails) with worker-owned  neighborhood light industries. They enable low-skilled neighbors to employ one another to create work that lowers their living expenses.
Exemplary of such grassroots enterprise are Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation and the City of Cleveland. They grow fresh hydroponic vegetables, perform brownfield remediation, photovoltaic installation, weatherization, and operate a water-conserving nontoxic laundry.
In Philadelphia, Project RISE facilitates green business starts among ex-offenders and at-risk youth. Says director Bernadine Hawes, “The vision should be based on what the population being served sees, and not just on the standards and traditions of the professional business development community.”
John Churchville, green jobs planner for the American Cities Foundation agrees. “The mind switch from seeking a job to creating a green business has the potential to single-handedly bring our entire nation back from the brink of economic ruin. Building a green economy that has the capacity to employ the majority of America’s unemployed and underemployed residents will be critical for our future...”
This is a big job, since our country hosts at least tens of millions unemployed, plus the world’s highest incarceration rate.
Yet Americans are wealthy in this poverty, because deep green jobs that fix the above rise from vacant lots and vacant lives, from Americans hungry for dinner and hungry for respect. Our vacant spaces invite planting, and our abandoned houses need labor-intensive retrofit or deconstruction. There are tons of vagrant bricks and tires, discarded pallets and newspapers that are feedstock for simple energy-efficient neighborhood industry.

Addressing America's loss of millions factory jobs during the previous 40 years, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Director of the Sustainable Business Network says, "the time is right for a fresh, invigorating and equitable conversation about local sustainable manufacturing..."

Philadelphia's Director of Sustainability, Katherine Gajewski, reports that "most clean economy jobs will require literacy in math, science and computer literacy. The best way to make sure that ex-offenders and unemployed residents can get access to those jobs is for them to upgrade those foundational skills."

These important skills particularly serve the higher-tech corporate green jobs that might some day hire a few hundred thousands jobless. However, as Green For All founder Van Jones says, "There should be a moral principle there that says, let's green the ghetto first. Let's go to those communities where they have the least ability to pay for that retrofit and make sure they get that help, make sure they get that support. And give the young people standing on those corners the opportunity to put down those handguns and pick up some caulking guns and be a part of the solution."

By his standard, the most urgent task is not to employ a few hundred people in solar/wind factories, paying them so well they can become grander consumers, but to create useful work for all idle Philadelphians, so they're warm and fed and respected without resorting to crime.

How do we pay for their green labor? Since investment in deep green enterprise will be less immediately profitable, bolder financial institutions are needed to expand neighborhood authority over money, trade, investment, interest rates and land use. Paths are clearing through which the rich profit by empowering, rather than dominating, the poor.

For example, the Lancaster Stock Exchange (LanX) gathers capital for regional ecodevelopment. Similar plans are drawn for the Philadelphia Regional & Independent Stock Exchange (PRAISE).
Permaculture Credit Union of Santa Fe, NM, makes loans for solar heating, PV systems, weatherization, rainwater collection, resource conservation, organic farming and gardening.
- Portland, Oregon, sponsors "Financial Tools for Neighborhood Businesses."
- Philadelphia's Community Land Trust Corporation facilitates "equitable development," to strengthen rather than displace long-time residents.
- Lower wages paid by modest start-ups can be supplemented by mutual aid systems, whose members pool small amounts of money to reduce expenses for housing, childcare, medicine, electricity and meals.

Of course, there's more to capital than dollars, euros, pesos or yen. Green jobs can be capitalized by regional credit systems that redirect dollar equivalents toward greening. Great Barrington's Berkshares foster connections that spark new businesses. Ithaca (NY) HOURS assert that labor is the new gold standard -- millions have been traded since 1991. HOUR microloans are made interest-free. Who backs such money? We are the bank, we are the treasury, and we are the treasure.

The deepest green jobs aim to entirely rebuild American cities toward balance with nature. This is the explicit intent of "Deep Green Cities: Fulfilling the Green Jobs Promise," a new book by the California Construction Academy. Ecocity Builders envisions "the global rebuilding of cities and towns based on ecological principles."  The group Carfree Cities declares "We can convert existing cities to the carfree model over a period of decades. Venice, Italy, is an oasis of peace despite being one of the densest urban areas on earth." Deepest imaginable green is "Los Angeles: A History of the Future," which portrays America's car capitol thriving without cars or streets, where millions reside in passive solar earth-sheltered "ecolonies" amid massive orchards linked with bikepaths and rail.

Take your pick. On every scale, there's plenty of green work to be done.

Purchase full book via paulglover.org/books.html

Paul Glover is editor of Green Jobs Philly News, founder of Ithaca HOURS local currency, the Philadelphia Orchard Project, Citizen Planners of Los Angeles and a dozen other grassroots organizations. He consults as Greenplanners.   paul5glover@yahoo.com