Getting the Green Conversation Started

From policy to engagement

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The government is expected to invest some $150 billion in new technologies over the next 10 years everywhere you look the Green Economy is being touted as one of the strongest areas for expected job growth. But what will these initiatives mean for African American professionals and business owners?

To answer that question Black Enterprise gathered top-level executives from businesses and organizations within the energy industry in Washington DC today to discuss how African Americans can participate in the implementation of President Barack Obama’s green initiatives, and to talk about career opportunities in the green/energy sectors.

With the support of Shell, and the assistance of organizations such as The Executive Leadership Council, and the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Black Enterprise was able to gather a “who’s who” of experts with long-standing careers in the energy industry for a. Prior to the event, I had the opportunity to mingle with the panelists and invited participants, and it was evident to me that the lack of African American executives in the industry has created a small fraternity of long-time friends who often agree to disagree on several issues.

Tracy Faulkner, vice president of communications for Shell Oil Co., in her remarks made it clear that her corporation was extremely excited to participate in the event. “It is critical that Shell participates in these types of conversations,” she said. “And it is even more exciting when I can attend an event where I am labeled as a friend.”

Alfred A. Edmond Jr., SVP/Editor-in-Chief Interactive, BE moderated the first panel, “Moving from Policy to Engagement” and led panelists in a spirited discussion on how it is important not to lose sight of the actual problems — energy production and consumption — we are trying to solve.

“We often lose sight of the actual problem,” said panelist Gaurdie E. Banister Jr., president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC. “People often get hooked on the ‘green jobs’ phenomenon, but we are really trying to balance our energy production while moving towards energy security. Over 60% of the oil we consume comes from over seas–I want encouragement to produce here in our country,” he said.

Visit to read this complete blog post, and learn more about the Black Enterprise + Shell energy conference.

André Williams is the founder and principal consultant of Energy Relations.

  • What I saw working for the “Green Movement’ while living in Europe was that businesses there which produced much of the waste were recycling their bottles made of glass and plastic and were giving consumers either credits for returning those items or a small amount of money. The Europeans preserved and respected everything and weren’t determined to destroy the land for something new. I don’t see that happening here because most of what “Big Business” is only concerned about are huge profits and nothing else.
    They didn’t carve up the land by deforestation and create the massive suburbia we have now, which will be sitting for a long time because the homes are poorly built and way over priced. Greed won’t get the “Green Movement” rolling in this country for a long time. Becoming “Green” will clean up many of our neighborhoods, reduce high utility bills and possibly create jobs. People must learn that if you don’t need it turn it off, my family and I practice energy conservation and have been doing so since I returned back to this country. I recycle and was shocked to learn that many cities no longer practice this for consumers, slowly they’re beginning to do it. Everyone wants to site costs, it doesn’t cost much to get the ball started just a commitment. What I believe that America finds this as an inconvenience so they don’t want to do it. I attempted to create a program at the hospital where I work ten years ago by creating a recycling center for the excessive waste they produce, too bad they didn’t see a need for it and now with the fear of an uncertain economy they’re now looking for new ways to generate income. It’s easy becoming “Green” simply by going back to the basics of living, being good stewards of energy resources, materials and respecting the earth and it doesn’t take a lot of money to so so, just an honest commitment to change from being destructive, wasteful and uncaring. I remember when I was younger and we collected bottles for a few cents, too bad there are only a few states who practice this, so this needs to start again. Fostering in the health benefits of walking while living within distance to places of employment and recreation creates the benefits of health to a country who doesn’t value it’s own health anymore, but loves convenience. Community gardens and the greening of those destroyed by urban blight creates neighborhoods we don’t have anymore because of alienation by fostering teamwork and cohesion- which then builds stronger people and communities,-who then work together as one to create real change. No one can say they are about anything if their actions don’t show it and from what I’ve learned there aren’t really that many people genuinely committed as the want us to believe.

    • tinie

      I agree going back to the basics, caring more about our health, the health of others physically, emotionally , and socially will make the difference.  We’ve forgotten about us by focusing on me and mine, isn’t it true united we stand, divided we fall, why do we have to pay so much for our daily essentials, we can do so much more with affordable,  If we can afford it, we’ll buy it, less always equals more.  I believe the most important step in energy efficiency is afford ability. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal now that’s affordable.