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Organic Consumers Association

Navajo Nation Approves Green Jobs, Rejects Fossil Fuel Economy

[Editor's Note: Click here to listen to this program using RealPlayer.]

YOUNG: In the Southwest, the Navajo have long allowed mining on their reservation. Now they're looking for alternatives.

The Navajo Nation Council is the first tribal government to approve green jobs legislation. It will support renewable energy and energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing and agriculture based on the tribe's traditional methods.

Wahleah Johns helped make that happen. She's co-director of the non-profit group, Black Mesa Water Coalition, which waged a long campaign for green jobs.

JOHNS: We're very excited about the Navajo Nation passing this legislation. We have people that are ready to be trained in weatherization programs, putting solar panels on rooftops and given our communities being ranchers and farmers, we are looking to support families who are planning textile mill, 'cause we have a lot of people who raise sheep.

We can use that wool to make carpets and sustainable fashion. People who are raising organic meats and foods to do gourmet foods. So this green jobs plan can help our people and individual families who do this work already but don't have a marketing mechanism.

YOUNG: A lot of those you're describing, they don't sound like new fangled ways of doing things, but rather investing more in some really old ways of doing things that maybe have fallen by the wayside.

JOHNS: Yeah, I mean, this green initiative it's really supporting, you know, these ancient ways of living as a Native people. And it's all based on our community's needs.

And so I think each community - it's up to them to decide what kind of development they want, which is different than how economic development has been in the past where what happens in our backyard is dealt with the governments and the corporations.


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