For Van Jones, simply establishing a green economy is not enough. Instead, America must establish what he calls “equitable ecocapitalism”: a clean energy economy that provides equal opportunity and new jobs. An economy, Jones said, “that Dr. King would be proud of.”
Instead, Jones said, America should grow its economy based on wind and solar power. “You want to stop sending people out to the Appalachians drilling holes in the mountains and risking their lives,” he said. “America’s future is not down those holes. You want to see the future, look up.” Look up, he said, at the “Saudi Arabia” of solar and wind power that America has the potential to harness.
Harnessing this solar and wind power, according to Jones, should create jobs, particularly for the urban poor. Jones spoke passionately about both poverty and America’s economic prosperity. His father, he said, had told him that he had to “climb the ladder of poverty” on his own, and that society had to make sure he had that ladder to climb.
“I believe we have a moral obligation as a country to make sure we include everybody,” he said. “If we can put America back to work, we can pull America back together.” All of this, he added, was a challenge for the rising generation: moving America from “this hyper-consumptive, casino-based, ecologically reckless economy” to one that is productive, integrated, and ecologically responsible.