The second California Black Media Summit was held on Thur-5/21 at new The Citizen Hotel on the 7th Floor, inside a beautiful tent like structure. Lunch was a cold buffet, perfect for the warm weather. California Black Media presented The Honorable Karen Bass, Speaker of the Assembly with a plaque of special recognition
Tommy Ross, Pres./CEO of Pinnacle Strategic Group. Inc., was the forum Moderator.
The theme of the forum was our continued need to be green, renewable and sustainable. Leonard Robinson, Federal Liaison California Environmental Protection Agency, Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, spoke about the green economy. There is a green train that requires willingness to get on board, he stated. Our joining the engagement of the environment and getting used to carbon footprints and other vernacular. Check the EPA website for additional information . He continued on by stating we perish for lack of knowledge. Green chemistry and running from cradle to cradle, which means we need to make items that fill more than one need. For example, making plastic bottles that decompose and turn into plankton food. This serves two purposes, it becomes biodegradable and is food for marine life.
V. John White, Exec. Dir., Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, informed us California has fossil fuel. Ordinarily money goes out of California. Geothermal fuel runs all the time and is our replacement for coal. Substituting technology, money and labor for fuel. It’s expensive because you are paying for everything now, up front. It costs more in the beginning but over its lifetime you save money. For example, use a smart grid: have thermostat turned off automatically and save money. Since this is a discipline that is not going to go way, we need to also teach young people about being green and train them to pursue green careers.
Barry R. Sedlik, Chairman, CA Green Collar Jobs Council, said we need to leverage money and not do things like we did in the past, no more business as usual with lax accounting of funds and program benefits/disadvantages. We need to identify ways to use one-time money as a springboard for something sustainable in the future. For example, when installing weatherization, do a whole neighborhood not just a sprinkling of houses. Do mass retrofit of the whole neighborhood, like new houses are done, all at once. At present no one is doing that and everyone would benefit, now property values raise for the entire neighborhood. But the are challenges, how do we reach the community? How do we bring stakeholders together? Lots of people are not willing to wait ten years to get their money back. How do we get people to view this as an investment that will pay off for them in the future?
Craig Keys, Exec. Director, Green Valley Initiative, brought out the fact that we need to leverage emerging green economies with quality of life, as well as ways to produce training and more jobs. In the last five years California has lost 25% of its manufacturing jobs. How do you sustain training over the long term? How do you get a component of these green products to be attractive to warehouses, manufacturers and distributors? How to make money used ore effective? These emerging markets can be ideally suited for displaced construction workers. They can be retrained to install weather-proofing, etc.
Leonard Robinson added there are so many opportunities for employment. Get ready, green your resume, learn terms and incorporate the terms in your cover letter. For example, know what carbon footprints are. Stay up on new regulations, what is the government getting ready for 2010? Stay ahead of the curve. There is an increased demand for workers in the areas of biodiesel, compressed natural gas, solar energy and environmental health.
This information is very timely. We need to make every effort to watch our carbon footprints. Did you know that the plastic grocery bags we are all so used to are a major problem for us? Only 3% of plastic is recycled, this means 97% of it is thrown away. No big deal you say, but it is a big deal, as big as the state of Texas. Plastic the size of Texas is in our ocean and it will never decompose. Do you know what your carbon footprint is? We all should know and we should all work diligently towards reducing it as much as possible. All of our futures are at stake.
Submitted by Senior Staff Writer/Reporter, Donna Michele Ramos