Pioneering activist for clean-energy economy to speak Oct. 19

Van Jones will deliver the 2011 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture Oct. 19. (Photo courtesy of Van Jones)

Van Jones, a pioneering leader in the clean-energy movement and author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, will speak at Vanderbilt University’s Sarratt Cinema on Oct. 19.

Jones’ talk, “Rebuild the American Dream: Green Jobs and Beyond,” is the 2011 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture presented by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt. The talk, which begins at 4:10 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Jones is a longtime advocate for human rights and the environment. He first founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change, two social justice organizations striving to help and to give a political voice to vulnerable communities. More recently, he started Green for All, a national initiative committed to turning around the economy through the creation of more “green-collar” jobs.

He was named one of the “Heroes of the Environment” by Time Magazine and one of Essence Magazine’s 25 most inspiring African Americans in 2008. The next year he served as an environmental adviser to the Obama administration.

The Tennessee native is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin and Yale University Law School. He serves on several boards, including Demos, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

The Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture Series was established in 1994 through the endowment of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Nash Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. George Renfro, all of Asheville, N.C. The lecture honors alumnus Harry C. Howard Jr. and allows the Warren Center to bring an outstanding scholar to campus annually to deliver a significant topic in the humanities.

Jones’ talk is also part of the American Studies Sustainability Project, which is bringing nationally recognized sustainability experts to campus this year.

The lecture will be videostreamed live at