Today, Van Jones is best known as a CNN host and author of three best-selling books.
But long before the Green New Deal, Jones was on the front lines of clean energy, trying to bring green jobs to black and brown communities. He helped spearhead the Green Jobs Act of 2007, the first time the country deliberately trained workers for the future clean economy. Later, he went to the White House to become President Obama's green jobs czar.
In this episode, Jones reveals a little-told backstory of his "nerd" childhood and early life, his transformation at Yale Law School, and the painful time he briefly joined, and then left, the Obama administration.
"I spent a year clinically depressed. I wouldn't ask anybody to go through what I went through — such a steep rise and then such a steep fall. You go from Oakland to the White House and then the White House to, like, public enemy number one. And at no point do you really feel understood," said Jones.
This conversation was recorded live (remotely) as part of an interview series in collaboration with Powerhouse and Greentech Media. The interview was conducted by Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch.
The Energy Gang is brought to you by KORE Power. Based in the U.S., KORE Power is situated to meet the growing global demand of the energy storage market. In fact, KORE Power is building a large-scale battery cell manufacturing facility here in the U.S. Once it’s operational, the 1 million square foot facility will have 12 gigawatt-hours of scalable manufacturing capacity. Learn more.
The Energy Gang is also brought to you by Sungrow, the leading global supplier of inverter solutions for renewables. During these uncertain times, Sungrow is committed to protecting its employees and continuing to reliably serve its customers around the world. Sungrow has also leveraged its extensive network across the United States to distribute face masks to communities in need.