I’ve just added a few posts to this blog about Green Business. I’m espcially interested in seeing it grow in Orange County, North Carolina. (That includes Chapel Hill and Carrboro.) So you’ll see on the top right of this blog a link to all the posts in the Green Business category. I hope this becomes a resource for others.
I define Green Business as socially and environmentally sustainable economic activity. Wikipedia defines Sustainable Business as:
A business is sustainable if it has adapted its practices for the use of renewable resources and holds itself accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of its activities. This includes businesses that operate in a socially responsible manner and protect the environment.
I’m really just learning about this and trying to fit my business into this mold as much as I can.
Al Gore calls for “100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” What are our local governments doing to take this challenge and make it a reality locally?
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Van Jones speak. He co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and is founder and president of Green For All. He spoke convincingly of a future of increased equality and how one of the roads to this future is green jobs. Green-collar jobs are employment in the environmental or agricultural sectors of the economy. [Source: Wikipedia] But they also include any work that will help transform our society into a more environmentally sustainable one.
One way our local government leaders could participate in this national movement is to sign the Green Jobs Pledge. Its goal is to "rebuild American competitiveness and environmental leadership by growing a green economy that fights global warming, pollution and poverty at the same time." Here are the five steps this pledge asks our leaders to agree to:
Commit to Action
Create a Green-collar Jobs Taskforce
Identify Goals and Assess Opportunities
Create a Local Action Plan
Evaluate, Leverage and Grow
So far the the U.S. Conference of Mayors has agreed with Green For All that this pledge is good idea. Mayor Martin ChÃ¡vez of Albuquerque, New Mexico and County Executive Ron Sims of King County, Washington have put there name on it. You can download the Green Jobs Pledge Packet here. [PDF]
Let’s discuss ways we can build a green economy from the ground up, and see if we can get our elected officials to take the pledge.
Both Chapel Hill and Orange County received money for Chapel Hill channel 8, on which The People’s Channel broadcasts.
Yet neither government has passed that money on to The People’s Channel. The law says local governments must spend the supplemental money on PEG channels, but it doesn’t specify which channels.
Chapel Hill spokesperson Catherine Lazorko says the town manager and town council have yet to decide how to distribute PEG funding. Chapel Hill operates its own government channel, 18, which broadcasts public meetings.
Orange County, which certified a total of three PEG channels, decided to spend all $29,400 of its supplemental PEG funding on its own government channel, 265, which broadcasts county commissioners meetings. The annual budget for Channel 265 is approximately $40,000.
There is also some discussion going on about it on Orange Politics. You’ll find my passionate comments there. Here is one.
I am very disappointed in the position Town of Chapel Hill Staff and Orange County Staff have taken in this situation. As Fiona’s article pointed out the law governing the funds distributed by the state is up to interpretation. But for the County Assistant Manager and Manager to hide behind a legal opinion that they support to retain funds purposely earmarked by the State for a local non-profit is disgusting!
I wish this were a case of unemotional bean counting in a disconnected bureaucracy. But it just doesn’t seem so. I look forward to more information coming to light on the attitude our public servants have had when dealing with our fellow citizens. If they treated other nonprofits with more loud public voices this way I think Council, Commissioners, and citizens would be publicly outraged.