Monday, March 12, 2012


 Written by Lisa Hanley -Loxahatchee Group

Representative John Lewis, D- Atlanta, leaned into the podium and eyed the crowd. His voice filled the hall as he reminded the audience of teamsters, teachers, steel workers and environmentalists that he had been arrested forty times while he fought for civil rights in the sixties. 

With a League of Conservation Voters rating of 100% under his belt 1, he righteously threw out the challenge. “You must stand up, you must organize, you must speak up and speak out," he said. 
What a rousing beginning for the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference, two jam packed days of exhilarating, depressing, inspiring, overwhelming workshops, discussions, receptions, lunches, dinners, and learning.

Learning that:
  • there is a big difference between fair trade and free trade
  • 29 states have renewable energy requirements but not Florida
  • the cost of solar panels has decreased 40% in the last two years
  • the United States has the best wind resources of anyplace on the globe
  • the Teamsters are big on recycling and a sustainable supply chain.

The Sierra Club sent seven Florida volunteers to Atlanta for the 5th Green Jobs Good Jobs Conference on February 22-24. Sponsored by The United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club, ALCOA and the BlueGreen Alliance and 36 other unions, the Conference sought to spread the message – Good Jobs - Green Jobs - Same thing.

Our second keynote speaker, Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America (representing 700,000 members) took the podium and issued his challenge, “How do we build a movement stronger than we ever thought we’d have to?”  

How do we counteract the 1 % that controls the corporate decisions made in this country? 
By forming a coalition of Labor plus Partners who, together, would be 50 million strong.

Wow! 50 million people united to work for, in the words of the Service Employees International Union, “good jobs, a clean environment, affordable quality healthcare and a better future for women, immigrants and people of color.” Or the UAW, “Clean technology produces green jobs. More jobs stimulate the economy. A better economy enables workers to provide for their families and their community.”

And who can argue with that?

Watch Congressman Lewis’ full speech here" 

Lisa Hanley is the Public Lands and Forests Issue Chair for the Loxahatchee Group