Van Jones

Van Jones

CNN Political Contributor, Environmental & Civil Rights Advocate, Global Warming Speaker

Speaker Categories: Environmental | Environment - Go Green | Environment - Go Green | Human Rights | Go Green, The Environment, Corporate Sustainability

Travels From: CA, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $40,001 or greater*

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Van Jones Bio
Speaker Topics

CNN Political Contributor, Environmental & Civil Rights
Advocate, Global Warming Speaker

CNN Political Contributor, Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones is a globally recognized innovator of the clean energy economy as well as a renowned human rights activist. His book The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Solve Our Two Biggest Problems is considered an authoritative guide to creating and promoting green jobs. Until September 2009, Jones had been serving as Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Nonprofit Organizations

Around that time, Jones was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” for his efforts and determination to improve the world. He’s successfully founded several nonprofit organizations including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights ( which promotes criminal justice reform), Color of Change (which works for racial fairness through its one million members), Rebuild The Dream (a 21st Century “think tank” that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation), The Dream Corps (which promotes innovative policy solutions) and Green For All (a national organization working to get green jobs to disadvantaged communities).


Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor.

Green Jobs Act

He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.

Presidential Advisor

In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.


Van is on the board of several organizations and non-profits, including: Presidio, Campaign for America’s Future, Demos, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice and AFRON African Robotics Network.

Awards and Honors

– One of The Root’s 100 Honorees for 2014
– One of National Priorities Project’s 30th Anniversary Democracy Champions
– One of Ebony Magazine’s 2013 Power 100
– One of The Root’s 100 Honorees for 2013
– One of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2009
– Recipient of the NAACP’s Image Award
Rolling Stones’ “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done” in 2012
– One of Essence Magazine’s “25 Most Inspiring African Americans” in 2008
– One of Ebony Magazine’s 2011 Power 150
– One of Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth
– Visiting Fellow in Collaborative Economics at Presidio Graduate School
– Member of the international Ashoka Fellowship
– A 2005 World Economic Forum “Young Global Leader”
– Former distinguished visiting professor at Princeton University
– Former Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and American Progress Action Fund

Protest & Politics In Age Of Twitter

Van has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Van was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there).

“Green For All”: Can Environmentalism Include Everyone?

The solar industry is booming. The fight for climate solutions is accelerating. The movement for a greener future is regaining steam. But will this renewed “green wave” lift ALL boats? Or will some places enjoy clean energy, green jobs and organic food, while others fall further behind? How can we avoid “ecological apartheid”? Van Jones has answers. He was the primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act of 2007. He is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to grow the green economy in communities of color. He wrote the bestseller, The Green-Collar Economy – the definitive book on green jobs. And he was the special advisor on green jobs and innovation to the Obama White House.

#YesWeCode: Race, Gender & The Digital Divide

Former Obama advisor and CNN personality Van Jones created #YesWeCode to find real solutions. Housed at Dream Corps Unlimited, #YesWeCode is working to help 100,000 young adults of color – both women and men – find employment in the technology sector. Learn from the many insights that Van has gleaned by working directly with dozens of major tech firms, the Obama White House, and the nation’s top accelerated training programs. Hear how cultural barriers – on both sides of the divide – may be the biggest obstacles to an inclusive tech sector.

“Beyond Prisons”: Don’t Criminalize – Humanize

Civil rights attorney and TV personality Van Jones seeks peaceful streets through approaches that are smarter, fairer and less costly. His organization, Dream Corps Unlimited, houses the Beyond Prisons campaign. That initiative works to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by at least 50 percent – by promoting proven, bipartisan solutions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans see much sense in locking people away for long periods of time, often for petty offenses, and then denying them a chance to work, vote, rent an apartment or get a student loan for the rest of their lives.

“Green Jobs Not Jails”: Criminal Justice + Ecology

The USA has only five percent of the world’s population. Yet we produce: (a) about 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses and (b) about 25 percent of its prisoners. Coincidence? Van Jones doesn’t think so. He sees “mass incarceration” and the “mass extinction” as twin outcomes of the same false ideology: disposability. Industrial society behaves as if we have a throwaway planet – and throwaway people, too. To reverse course, Van says we must shrink the prison system and grow the green economy.

Rebuild The Dream: The Next American Economy

Imagine a new economy, where the founding principle of our country— liberty and justice for all—is deeply rooted in our economic philosophy and design, where businesses can profit alongside flourishing communities. The next American economy must value production over consumption, savings over credit and ecological restoration over ecological destruction. To achieve sustained prosperity, we need to transform our ideas and understanding around ownership and wealth—transcending consumerism, transforming corporations, and revitalizing communities.

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