Local, Green Economy Background

Global Exchange was active during the energy crisis in 2000-2001, calling for public power and an end to the manipulation of our energy system by corporate powers such as Enron. When then-President George W. Bush visited California, the media widely covered our protests demanding energy price caps.

Due to the national securities issues following in the wake of September 11th, 2001, public interest in local energy issues dropped. Global Exchange focused its efforts on educational outreach, highlighting the link between US oil needs and the war as well as global warming impacts. We began the Freedom from Oil campaign, which focused on reducing the consumption of energy in the transportation sector. We also began to promote green alternatives through the Green Festival, providing a platform for green ideas and social justice. Global Exchange was also an active participant in the student climate movement with the Energy Action Coalition.
Looking locally in 2008, Global Exchange campaigned for Proposition H, which called for San Francisco to transition to 100% renewable energy within 30 years. Prop H was defeated, in large part because of the funds Pacific Gas & Electric allocated to campaign against the proposition.
In 2008, we implemented the Green Careers Program and placed interns with a variety of green businesses. Through a partnership with a San Francisco city program called TrainGreenSF, we have helped prepare members of the work force for careers in the green industry and then placed them with a number of green businesses. With contacts in local green businesses and connections in the local community, we worked hard to promote the green workforce as a means to accelerate local, green economies.
In 2010 Global Exchange joined other environmental and social justice groups in a critical effort to stop California Proposition 23. Prop 23 was an oil industry-backed ballot initiative that would have undermined California’s cutting-edge carbon emission reduction goals and fledgling renewable energy sector. If passed, it would have been a major setback to national and international efforts to address climate change; but we mobilized and defeated Prop 23!
In 2010, we also launched an innovative grassroots economic development project for young people in Michigan. The Green Economy Leadership training (GELT) program implemented green economy solutions (home weatherization, establishing urban gardens, etc.) while training individuals in how to build, work and live in a new local green economy/clean energy framework. GELT was based in Highland Park – a low-income community in Detroit. Full-time volunteers worked side-by-side with Highland Park community members to put energy efficiency and LEED for Neighborhood Development guidelines into practice.

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