Former Colleague Of Van Jones Speaks Out Guest host Jennifer Ludden interviews Majora Carter, who with Van Jones co-founded "Green for All", and discusses the impact of Jones' White House departure on the environmental movement. He recently came under scrutiny after it was revealed that he signed a 2004 petition questioning whether the U.S. government allowed the Sept. 11 attacks to occur.

Former Colleague Of Van Jones Speaks Out

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


So, I've just talked about the political impact of the resignation of Van Jones. What about the green jobs movement and its impact there? For some answers, we turned to Majora Carter. She co-founded Green for All with Mr. Jones and she is also a consultant to foundations, governments and community organizations. Ms. Carter joins us from New York. Welcome.

Ms. MAJORA CARTER (Co-founder, Green for All): Thank you for having me.

LUDDEN: So, will the loss of Van Jones from the Obama administration - will it hurt the green jobs movement?

Ms. CARTER: It's unfortunate, but we have to consider this along the trajectory of the movement. This is just a bump in the road. Van is going to do great things, whether inside or outside the White House. This movement is going to go on. We've already showed that.

LUDDEN: But you and he are among really a comparatively small number of high-profile environmentalist of color. I mean does this hurt efforts to attract others to this movement?

Ms. CARTER: I would say that we are amongst a small number of high profile folks that are out there, but we are definitely not the only two. There are folks all over the country who are doing amazing, amazing work. And, you know, what this does, I believe, is actually bolster us up, you know, too and with an understanding that this is a new era in the movement of not just environmental activism, but also civil rights and a certain kind of patriotism for our country. Like what we are trying to do is show that the fossil-fuel based economy has done more than just destroy the environment. What it's done is actually also served to destroy certain communities as well.

And they're not all communities of color. You know, poverty is - it also affects white people as well. And so, what we're trying to do with the green economy is show that everybody can be a full participant in an economy.

LUDDEN: Well, Jones was only in his job for six months. Can you give me a sense of what has been accomplished or at least maybe started in terms of creating green jobs and specifically in the communities of color?

Ms. CARTER: Oh, I have to tell you, I started one of the country's first green jobs training and placement systems back in 2003. And all of my work, you know, with a non-profit in the South Bronx was actually during the Bush administration.

So, it wasn't like we had lots of money coming out there in support of green jobs. I mean, now there's a stimulus package that is absolutely going to go and support the communities that have been traditionally left out, you know, of various economic booms. So, that alone, I think speaks volumes about where we're going to go and the level of support that is going to go to this movement.

LUDDEN: So, you're not worried about this chilling effect we've heard of. I mean, some say it, look, you know, activism in government jobs just don't mix that you've got to either tone it down or stay outside the halls of power. Is that the lesson that you draw from this?

Ms. CARTER: I think there's room from both. You know, I'm not going to really comment, you know, on what's going to happen within the White House. But what I do believe is that this is an opportunity for all of us to really think about the fact that, you know, this headline is going to go away. It really will. And it's about timelines, not headlines. And so how do we move the agenda using where we are right now in support of where we absolutely know this country needs to go forward?

LUDDEN: So, what do you want to see the administration do next? Do you think he should be replaced?

Ms. CARTER: Again, I'm much more interested in seeing things happen on the ground. So that we can see, you know, the fruits of our labor. You know, whether it's mine, whether it's Van, whether it's all the other activists who have been working around the country, you know, in collaborations with communities and business leaders and even government officials, you know, to see these things happen in our communities. What I'm more interested in, you know, is understanding that - people understanding that the green economy is a threat to the fossil-fuel economy. It is a threat to business as usual.

And I think we need to ask ourselves why this is happening right now, not so that we can over analyze it, but so that we can move forward in a way that's actually profoundly strong and in support of the kind of America that we know should exist for everybody.

LUDDEN: Majora Carter is co-founder of Green for All and the president of the Majora Carter Group Consulting Firm. And she joined us from our New York bureau. Thanks so much for being with us.

Ms. CARTER: Thank you for having me.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.