When students consider the green movement for increased sustainability on a nationwide scale, one advocate said job creation could play a significant role in the pursuit of more environmentally-friendly public policies.
The focus of the fifth annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference was “Pursuing a More Sustainable Wisconsin: Innovation in Buildings, Energy and Food Systems.” Union South played host for presentations featuring ideas on how to progress sustainable building construction and operation, alternative energy sources, community development, institutional food systems and clean technology.
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, the chief executive officer of the clean-energy advocacy group Green For All, was one of many featured speakers at the conference Tuesday evening.
She has advocated widely for establishing a clean nation economy and focuses her environmental efforts on building on promoting an inclusive green economy in the United States.
She said the organization works to change legislation, promote energy efficiency and create green jobs across the country.
Through her work with Green for All, Ellis-Lamkins has successfully led several “groundbreaking” policy victories at the federal, state and local levels and said environmental issues will have important effects on a wide array of areas.
“The issues we are currently facing with our environment are important to us both socially and economically,” Ellis-Lamkins said.
The majority of Ellis-Lamkins’ work with the organization has focused on working to create green jobs across the country to move the nation’s economy in what she says would be a positive direction.
She said Americans should not have to raise their children in a country where they must choose to either lead healthy lives or get a job and be successful.
She added that the economies of other countries worldwide are growing more quickly than the American economy because of their efforts to become “green.”
Ellis-Lamkins further explained that one of the main struggles of modern environmental efforts is presenting a message to the public that puts an emphasis on pursuing environmentalist policies both today and in the future.
She said her current work is focusing on building a fun environmental movement that is capable of catalyzing tangible change for real people, to help the economy improve and make the future of the planet more sustainable.
Through Green for All, Ellis-Lamkins is also working to influence change by nabbing a number of partnerships with celebrities. The company is currently touring with artists such as The Black Eyed Peas, Drake, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and Wycelf Jean to promote green efforts and educate concertgoers on the importance of creating a green economy.
“It should be fun to be an environmentalist,” she said, “People should want to be righteous and to believe in this country.”
Stacey Brochtrup, a UW sophomore, said she was compelled to attend the Earth Day lecture because she was interested in the role green jobs creation would play in the conservation movement.
Brochtrup said creating jobs in this field would prove important to winning popular support by offering citizens new, previously unexplored opportunities.
“It’s so encouraging to hear from someone so young who is making such a difference in the environmental movement,” she said.