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Helping Others Make a Difference

It takes a movement to change the world.

No one person or organization can build the clean energy economy alone — it requires a network of change agents dedicated to making a difference.

Green For All has created a number of initiatives to lift up the next generation of leaders. Last month, on this blog, I introduced you to one of these efforts: the Green For All College Ambassador Program.

Partnering with historically black colleges and universities, we provide students with the tools and skills they need to educate others, raise awareness and help shape a green future that works for all communities.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to D’Andre Ball, a senior at Morehouse College, who, in his own words, gives us a unique look into how he is making change happen at the grassroots level.

Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to the importance of recycling and the dangers of pollution at an early age. I remember making sure my recyclables and trash were in the proper cans, because otherwise Waste Management would skip over your house. It wasn’t until I went to Morehouse College that I realized public recycling was not practiced nationwide, and some communities do not have access to the service. Furthermore, many do not even know the benefits of being environmentally conscious.

This is exactly why organizations like Green for All are important – because they educate communities who may not be aware of the benefits of recycling or having energy efficient products in their homes. Green for All’s recently established College Ambassador Program is critical because it is focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) – many of which are located in communities that can benefit the most from going green.

The College Ambassadors in the Atlanta area have hosted workshops focused on educating the student body on issues such as environmental justice, environmental racism, the connection between pollution, poverty and health, and the economic benefits of a clean-energy economy. Many students are surprised to find out that the Obama administration has already invested millions of dollars in clean-energy technologies, and real jobs are being created as a result. Creating an inclusive green economy is important because green jobs can be a pathway out of poverty – and even provide new career opportunities for our troops returning home from Iraq, who may otherwise face difficult economic times.

This spring my co-ambassador at Morehouse, Caleb Williams, and I are planning to hold monthly workshops to engage students on climate change as well as the economic benefits a clean-energy economy can bring to low-income communities. Furthermore, we plan on utilizing the Office of Community Service to take students on field trips to places like the West Outdoor Activity Center and other eco-conscious oriented events being held in the local community. The aim of our spring semester campaign is to host monthly workshops such as “Bridging the Gap” and “Green is the Old Black, Green is the New Black.”

While educating students on environmental issues, these workshops will also create awareness about the range of career opportunities available in the green economy. I am confident that by the end of the school year, students at Morehouse will be more knowledgeable about the environment, and more importantly, know that a green economy means more jobs for people of all races and economic classes – perhaps even for someone in their own community.