As green goes global, minorities get in game

Talia Whyte | 8/19/2009, 4:58 a.m.

As he mounts his council bid, Jackson is on leave from his role as industry director for information technology in the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. He also mentors youth interested in pursuing careers in science and technology.

Jackson said he envisions new green jobs coming in both the technology sector and the traditional blue-collar economy.

“Bringing economic development to the city is important at this moment,” he said. “We have an opportunity to grow the local economy while supporting sustainability at the same time.”

Scotland Willis is also running for an at-large council seat on a green platform. As a senior partner at the consulting firm The Lyceum Group, Willis works on issues related to corporate sustainability and bringing green jobs to underserved communities. He also co-chairs the Urban Massachusetts Green Alliance, and founded the Green Constitution Project.

Growing up on his family’s farm in South Carolina, Willis said he learned that being green is a way of life. He got rid of his car a few years ago, and now uses his bike and public transit as his main modes of transportation. He also keeps a tomato garden in the backyard of his Fort Hill home.

“If we want to get serious about the environment, we need to change our behavior to support it,” Willis said.

Many environmental justice activists, like Greenfest Associate Director Raking Williams, note another key to getting serious: enlisting the help of people from all racial and economic backgrounds.

“We are the new founding fathers of this movement,” he said. “We all come in different shades of green.”