The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones is an interesting look at the current state of the environmental movement and the economy. It is written from a progressive viewpoint, and proposes some serious actions on the part of our government and individuals which, if acted upon, could solve two of our biggest problems.

The book includes a short history of the environmental movement, starting with early conservationists and preservationists like Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, through a regulatory phase spurred on by Rachel Carlson, author of Silent Spring, and into a newly emerging phase, which he calls an “Investment Agenda”.

During the new phase of the environmental movement, Jones says we need to meld equal protection, equal opportunity, and reverence for all creation into a new way of living, working and engaging with one another. Following these principles, with the government as a partner in removing barriers to green solutions, will put us on a road to both a more just, better world, and a better, more sustainable economy.

The book proposes a five-way partnership, a Green Growth Alliance between organized labor, social justice activists, environmentalists, students and faith-based organizations. Jones draws parallels with the civil rights movement and points out that we did not see Martin Luther King and other leaders marching out of shopping centers, libraries or high school gymnasiums. They marched out of churches. He suggests that having God on the side of the environment would add great power to the growing green collar economy.

One of the key points to this book is that many of the green collar jobs of the future are the same jobs we have now. Welders will fuse metal to create windmills rather than widgets; mechanics will work on electric motors alongside combustion engines; engineers will design wave powered generators instead of nuclear power plants. While some will require retraining or specialization, many workers can be assimilated directly into the green economy. That is a ray of hope in this economic environment.

The book closes with a focused set of recommendations for our political leaders, national and local. Let’s hope they take up the cause and go for the green!


Revised and Improved Trail Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Billed as the definitive guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park‘s trails, this new revision of the popular trail guide edited by Rob and Peg Bobel lives up to its promise. Whether you are a hiker, biker, equestrian, local historian, naturalist, skier, or just someone who likes to read a great book, you should spend the time it takes to visit the park through the pages of this newly revised trail guide.

If you have the first or second edition of the trail guide, you need to get with the times and upgrade to this nifty new version. With easy-to-read maps of each trail, and twice as many photos as the last edition, there is much more to read and ponder. As a guide put together by a local group of trail volunteers, there can be no better compilation of the park’s pedestrian byways. The Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council is an all-volunteer group that maintains trails in the national park. You can learn more about them, including how to help with their trail work through the Adopt-a-Trail program, at

In addition to including driving directions, length, relative difficulty ratings and other useful information, the new edition includes an updated, more useful index, and relevant information for trail users of all sorts. The appendix is very useful as well. It contains contact information for the parks, visitor centers, outfitters, non-profits involved with the parks and trails, and a great table which summarizes the trails reviewed in the guide.

The new trail guide contains a succinct, yet informative description of every single official trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The nearly 50 trails traverse over 200 miles of our glaciated, inspirational landscape, including trails within Brecksville and Bedford Reservations of Cleveland Metroparks, Viaduct Park in Bedford, O’Neil Woods, Deep Lock Quarry, Hampton Hills, and Furnace Run areas of the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, as well as three of our regional long distance trails: the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and Buckeye Trail within the National Park, and the Summit Bike and Hike trail, a converted Rail to Trail corridor on the eastern boundary of the Cuyahoga Valley. Numerous updates and tidbits of historical and natural background help guide your hike along these splendid walking, biking, and equestrian trails.

Peppered throughout the book are the editors’ suggestions for various types of hikes. For example, want to find a great place to take your kids? How about the best waterfall hikes? Places to find examples of local geology? Want to go fishing, or watch birds? Maybe you want to take a great winter hike, check out the best spring wildflowers within the park, or just get some vigorous exercise. They are all thrown in with handy lists-but, you will have to look through every page to find the lists.

Even if you never walk a single trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (and you should, no matter who you are), this book will enrich your life and give you a sampling of the great pieces of history and the natural wonders of the park. Photographs, both current views of the Cuyahoga Valley landscape, and historical views of the valley, give the reader visual perspectives on the park and its features. Of special note are the Civilian Conservation Corps photographs that show some of the most recognizable buildings in the park, such as the Kendall Lake Shelter, under construction during the WPA days of the Great Depression.

This new version of the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council’s great trail guide is published by Gray & Company, and is available at CVNP visitor centers, local bookstores, such as the Blue Heron Book Store in Peninsula, Trail Mix, across the street from the Boston Store Visitor Center, and online at

The royalties from the sale of the trail guide book all go to the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council to help with its work on the trails within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We highly recommend this wonderfully revised trail guide, which is a softcover book running 272 pages. For more information, see the press release issued by the publisher at