Julian McQueen is optimistic about the rapidly expanding green economy, and his mission is to expand its opportunities to all.
McQueen, Director of Education and Outreach for the California-based Green For All, and external advisory board member for the Sustainability Institute, shared ideas for how slowing down carbon emissions is creating green jobs during a recent visit to Tallahassee. He noted that jobs related to solar energy are increasing at 12 times the rate of overall job creation.
"There's talent, and we're leaving it on the table," McQueen said, noting that access to opportunities is a key issue. He said people need to find ways the natural and built environments and people in them--in all communities--can thrive.
Quoting Green for All founder Van Jones, McQueen said, "Are we going to turn against each other or toward each other?" With all our fates tied together, he holds the positive view. "I think we will turn toward each other."
The burgeoning green economy is a multi-billion dollar reality, and with the right approach, new wealth and opportunity can be shared widely. His work and that of Green For All is to advocate for equal access to green entrepreneurship to capture talent and expand the reach of beneficial green projects into more communities.
In California, where a “cap and trade” program is in effect to fund pollution reduction programs, one-quarter of funds are earmarked for spending in communities most affected by pollution. Over the past two years, around $1 billion has been spend to reduce pollution in these communities, including through installation of solar panels on 5,000 low-income homes for a charge of $5 a month and distribution of free bus passes.
McQueen described hard-struck communities as “hotbeds of resilience” because residents are adept at ingeniously coping with difficult circumstances. What’s needed is a way to link ingenuity to opportunity.
Green For All nurtures upcoming green leaders through leadership development programs. One example is a “Green the Church” program, which helps church members find ways to improve their lives, their environments, and their community together. For more on Green For All's work to create green jobs, read here.
As a member of the SI’s advisory board, Mr. McQueen will be helping Florida A&M to develop ideas for enhancing leadership and opportunities for students. Stay tuned for future developments. FAMU is fortunate to have such an energetic visionary helping to train the next generation of leaders.