In 2008, Michigan jumped on board for the Apollo Alliance, "The News Apollo Program", in order to "create jobs" by transforming their state economy into a "Green Collar" economy which will help to combat "Global Warming":
Van Jones was on the Board of Directors for the Apollo Alliance at the time and helped craft "The New Apollo Program".
In May of 2009 Van Jones was invited to speak at the Michigan "Green Jobs" Conference where he applauded Michigan for their forward thinking and he explained the President's vision for turning around the economy, which we know now is indeed "The New Apollo Program".
During his speech, Van Jones explains that the President was not "waiting around for some Free Market Fundamentalist Miracle" to turn around the economy but instead he understood that "Everything that is good in the fight against Global Warming is a job." (Comment about Global Warming starts at the 12:00 mark)
Here is a partial transcript of Van Jones's speech that gives a great explanation of the President's ongoing strategy to not only Transform the economy but create " Green" jobs:
(00:41)"You are here at ground zero for the economic recovery that will define the new century for the American economy. And it may not feel that way, often when you are at the cutting edge of change, it's the cutting and not the edge that is most present in your minds. But you are , I believe, at this conference, writing yourselves into the history books. There is a new chapter being written in the American story and it is a chapter that, I believe, will have a heading, you are all the authors of it and that heading will be simply known in the minds on school children as: "The Miracle in Michigan".
I say that because sometimes something bad happens in an individual's life, a breakdown that can lead actually to a breakthrough. If you think about your own lives, it wasn't after you had seven great weeks in a row that you decided, "I'm gonna make big changes around here. I'm going on a diet." It's after some really shocking thing happened, it's after you got some bad diagnosis back from the doctor. It's after you lost a job or failed a test, something, some breakdown happened that you then had to say , "You know what? I've got to focus now I've got to get myself together I've got to make some decisions, some tough choices." If you look back on your life, some of the best decisions you ever made and some of the best things in your life actually came out of a bad day. If your tough and smart you will turn a breakdown into a breakthrough in your personal life. As a mater of fact that is the only way you ever get to a breakthrough.
And that is what is happening in our country. We are going through a breakdown. But here in Michigan and in the industrial heartland, because of conferences like this, because of leadership you have from your governor, because of leadership you have, look to your left and look to your right, all over this room. We are on course to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough and create a miracle in Michigan.
(05:21) But because my mother could see something growing up in the segregated south that I couldn't really see. She could see that there was something extraordinary happening and that it was important for everybody to get in alignment with that.
And that is a critical piece of what has to happen here in Michigan and what has to happen between the Federal Government and the industrial heartland. You've got to get in alignment.
(07:45) You are beginning to see in the seeds of this economic breakdown, the chutes of an economic breakthrough. Things are beginning to line up and I want to walk you through my argument, so you can understand, this isn't just pie in the sky, this is real, painful, but serious realignment, setting us up for long term success.
First of all you have a President that gets it. That's the first thing that we had to have in place. A President that gets it. We have a President that is not waiting for some free market fundamentalist vision to somehow magically fix things. He has listened to the best of our economists and he knows that now is the time to push hard for an economic recovery. That is why in the Recovery package we have $1.75 Billion dollars just to Michigan for roads and bridges creating or saving 50,000 jobs. Because he knows now is the time to put people to work not doing silly things, but doing things that will build the infrastructure, the roads the bridges, that will make the economy stronger for the long term.
And I think it's important that we stop talking about the Stimulus package. This President never passed a Stimulus package. I dare you, right now I'll give you $100 if you can show me a Stimulus package the President of the United States signed. He has never signed a Stimulus package, he signed a Recovery package. It is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What does that mean? A recovery is a much smarter, more determined, more long term investment in our immediate need for jobs but also our long term need for jobs, sustainable growth. And that's why when you look at the $787 Billion dollar Recovery package you see the kinds of investments that the President is making. Just in Michigan alone $1.75 Billion dollars, 50,000 jobs for roads and bridges.
I know alot of us are tired of looking on television in the evening and seeing young people with nothing to do, getting in trouble. Some of us are tired of going to funerals with young people in the caskets and grown people with grey hair sitting up in the pews. Well the President understands that and that is why he is spending $63 Million dollars, just in Michigan alone for youth summer job training. Going to go from 2,500 trained last summer to 7,000 trained this summer, that's a President that's engaged that gets it.
The President understands that it's hard to create new industries on polluted brown fields from last century's industries that's way Lisa Jackson from EPA is putting $10 Million dollars into clean up, clearing the way for new industry.
You have a President that gets it and has put his shoulder to the wheel for the recovery. But it's not just a general recovery this President is committed to. This President understands something no U.S. President has fully understood before. He understands that the old debate, the old division, the old conflict between high environmental performance and high economic performance is over. The idea that we used to have to, can't remember this now because it was three months ago, but we used to have these silly arguments in the United States and the argument was this: "Are we going to look after the economic well being of our children, support our children economically but do so in a way that sacrifices our grandchildren ecologically? Are we going to take care of our children economically but pollute so much in the process. Rely on so many poison based processes in the process that we actually kill off our grandchildren or jeopardize their health ecologically? " Or the Reverse, "Are we going to look out for our children and grandchildren ecologically and protect them but in so doing have no growth, no jobs, no industries and make our children starve economically?" You had this debate going on in the United States for decades. Who was right, who was wrong?
We finally have a President that understands that we can actually have greater economic performance meeting the highest environmental performance standards. That's what this President understands. He understands that everything that is good for the environment is a job. Everything that is good in the fight against Global Warming is a job. Solar panels don't put themselves up, wind turbines don't manufacture themselves, buildings don't retrofit themselves or weatherize themselves. Everything that has to be done to retrofit this country so that we waste less energy, to re-power this country, so we have a more diverse set of energy sources, every single one of those steps is a job, it's a contract, it's a entrepreneurial opportunity and what we have not done in this country is that we do have a wealth of solar power in this country. Not just in the sunbelt but really on rooftops from coast to coast. We do have a wealth of wind energy in this country. Not just in the plane states but off of our coast. What we have never done as a country is to connect those power centers to our population centers and begin running the country more on home grown clean energy and put people to work making those products. That is what we have not done mulit-Billion dollar, multi-Trillion dollar play in the economy that would let us go back to building things in the United States again.
You see the problem is we went too long imagining we could grow U.S. economy and we could be the number one economic power in the world by being the number one consumers. As opposed to being the number one producers and that proved to be a fallacy.
So the question is what can we produce, one thing we can produce in this country that we have not been producing that would make us healthier, that would make us stronger, that would make us independent is clean energy. And every component part to make that clean energy revolution happen, that's what we can produce here."
Here is the video of his speech, watch the whole half hour if you have the time: