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Success Stories:

Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative and P.O.W.E.R.

What is the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative?

The Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative (GJGEI) is a program of the Marion Institute, developed in collaboration with the Greater New Bedford Economic Development Council and the City of New Bedford. The objective is to address the gaps that are currently inhibiting the development of a robust and sustainable green economy in the City of New Bedford and surrounding region, with an initial focus on the energy efficiency sector. The initiative aims to use the short-term federal stimulus projects to build long-term capacity and infrastructure with an overarching goal of supporting New Bedford in becoming a national leader in the green jobs and sustainability movements.

Initially, the program has targeted three gap-areas:
1. The development of a green career pipeline that aligns workforce development training with real job opportunities.
2. Raising awareness about sustainability and increasing citizen engagement to drive demand for green goods and services.
3. Establishing financing mechanisms and strategies that increase accessibility for both customers and entrepreneurs.

We are facing extreme crises environmentally, socially and economically. Building an equitable green economy could solve all three problems at once. By building an economy that reduces our impact on the environment and puts people back to work, there is an opportunity to strengthen our economy, our communities and to restore the earth all at the same time. At the heart of this movement is the need to rebuild community. Changing our energy sources isn’t enough. We need to change the way our systems work and the way we relate to each other and to the earth.

Who We Are (GJGEI)

We are local New Bedford residents dedicated to helping fellow community members restore the Equity, Economy and Ecology of our area and our Nation. We are passionate visionaries taking an active role in creating the world and community in which we want to live.

Since the members of the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative are all members of the New Bedford community, we are able to utilize our existing social networks and our familiarity with the local community and culture as critical resources in our efforts. We work together with other community leaders to build support for and cross-pollinate our efforts to more effectively serve local residents.

In order to create an outreach team with the proper foundation of community engagement, the Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative partnered with ESHU² Collective to build our team. ESHU², which stands for “Education Should Help Us X Ecology, Spirituality, Health and Unity,” is an independent popular education company based in New Bedford dedicated to supporting community leadership and action.

ESHU² Collective’s foundational belief is that you never know where leadership is going to come from. By providing opportunities, and proper support, for community members who are often marginalized and/or face prohibitive challenges it is possible to unleash previously hidden leadership and creative potential. We feel it is important to consciously cultivate the seeds of leadership and creativity which lie dormant and unappreciated within our community. They are a most valuable and often untapped resource.

Just as biodiversity is a critical aspect of any healthy functioning eco-system, we believe that diversity of backgrounds, personalities and viewpoints is critical to developing and implementing real solutions to our society’s ills. To this end, Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative is committed to promoting diversity at all levels of leadership in the organization and to building leadership from within. We are proud to have assembled such a dynamic team of rising leaders and visionaries.

How We Built Our Team:

Rather than hiring based on experience and credentials, Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative and the ESHU² Collective selected our team based on passion and leadership potential. This has created a team of leaders who are driven, eager to learn and deeply committed to the New Bedford community. We also aim to set an example for how employees should be valued and regarded as the invested wealth of the organization. We offer a living wage and support services such as childcare, as well as learning and skill-development opportunities. By providing accommodations for the challenges that many New Bedford residents face – lack of transportation, financial instability, single parenting, etc. – we are able to keep the door open for potential leaders who are often marginalized due to financial, educational and/or family-related challenges. It is a much more energizing work experience when the pressures of personal or family issues do not compromise our commitment to and standard of work. When life needs to be “work-friendly”, it can be stressful, but when work becomes “life-friendly,” then work and life become compatible.

Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative and ESHU strive to create a work environment that honors the whole person and that builds not only an effective and efficient workplace, but also a family of leaders accountable to one another and their community. For us, this is not just a job, it is a meaningful and significant part of our lives. In stark contrast to a “traditional” work environment, we treat each other more as family than as co-workers. If we have personal issues, concerns, or cares, the members of the team are always willing to lend a hand or an ear.

The Movement with No Name

Together, we recognize and embrace our connection to an ever-expanding global movement, what Paul Hawken (entrepreneur, social activist and author) calls “the movement with no name.” It has arisen spontaneously in response to global crises that threaten the survival of our ecosystems and of humanity itself – an interwoven fabric of more than two million organizations and individuals working in concert to create a more just and sustainable future.

The challenges we face as a community and planet are only beginning to be realized. We recognize that if we hope to weather the coming storm together, we must embrace our connection to the earth and the Divine Spirit, however we may individually interpret or define that Force. With this understanding, we are firmly rooted in principles of spirituality and of warriorship.

People Organizing for Wealth and Ecological Restoration

The Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative developed P.O.W.E.R. (People Organizing for Wealth and Ecological Restoration) in collaboration with the ESHU² Collective (Education Should Help Us X Ecology, Spirituality, Health and Unity). The founders of the P.O.W.E.R. Project believe strongly in developing leadership from within the community. We believe that community members are the best suited to co-create solutions which are locally controlled and socially just.

As expressed by our name, P.O.W.E.R. is focused on creating local solutions to environmental as well as social and economic concerns. We foster a whole-systems approach to addressing the array of complex problems facing our city and the world. By strengthening community ties within this solutions-based framework, we are building the capacity to address the many converging challenges of our time and to thrive together in the years ahead.

While the scope of this program is intentionally broad and adaptive, we are currently supporting New Bedford and surrounding communities in becoming more energy efficient through the Community Mobilization Initiative. High unemployment, financial instability and high rates of carbon emissions are three major challenges for the Southcoast. By implementing a program that can drive demand for low-cost, high impact weatherization work, we can address all three of these concerns at the same time. Reducing emissions, lowering energy costs and creating jobs require the development of leadership capacity within the city in order to strengthen our community as a whole and to build the systems necessary for making these changes.

The P.O.W.E.R. team is responsible for the outreach component of the Community Mobilization Initiative. Although improving energy efficiency on residential buildings is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce energy costs (and carbon emissions), it requires buy-in and participation from local residents. Residents need to understand how and why to participate. In essence, we need to shift the consciousness and culture around energy use. One of the best ways to create this kind of shift is through grassroots community organizing, led by people living in the community who are knowledgeable and passionate educators and leaders.

We utilize grassroots community organizing tactics such as door-to-door outreach and creative social marketing to educate and engage residents and to generate demand for weatherization services. We organize and support community events and engage with local organizations and businesses that support us in our mutually beneficial endeavors. We are constantly developing our strategies through discussion in order to reflect on ways to become even better Community Mobilization Leaders. We aim to inspire those that see us moving through our community with words of wisdom and affirmations of action.

We are directly creating jobs through hiring local residents as part of the P.O.W.E.R. team and through creating weatherization work for YouthBuild New Bedford‘s Urban Energy Solutions, a local contractor which employs all New Bedford residents and which will complete the weatherization work generated though this project. Additionally, we are directly helping local residents save money on energy costs. In short, we are saving local people money and creating local jobs, all while building a stronger community and restoring the environment.

There are so many problems facing our communities and our planet – we believe that the challenges we face are so great that we need everyone’s help to solve them. Every single person has value to contribute to the solution. Welcome to the P.O.W.E.R. Project!

P.O.W.E.R. Principles

Our stated operating principles form the bedrock of the culture and organization we are building together. Each member of the P.O.W.E.R. team has agreed to uphold and manifest these principles to the best of our ability. What follows are our definitions of these principles for Operations, Communication and Interactions within our organization and community.

● Operations – How our systems work; policies and procedures
● Communication – How we exchange our thoughts, words, energy and beliefs with each other and the community
● Interaction- How we represent P.O.W.E.R and are in community with each other and the inner development of ourselves

Principle 1 – Harmony
Harmonized relationships
Active respect for all leadership, chain of command, policies, partners, sponsors, community and the mission must be maintained at all times. Respect includes speaking your truth and receiving the truth of others to improve systems, team member performance and others at the allotted times only.

Principle 2 – Co-Creation
Co-Creators in a process

Work with supervision, team members, and advisers to design the strategy. There should be no expectation that everything is already figured out. We build the road by walking.

Principle 3 – Warriorship
Eco-Warriorship/Personal Development
Warriorship as the highest form of leadership. It is an integral part of our mission to restore our relationship to the environment, which includes each other and ourselves. It’s more than leadership, it’s about warriorship and remembrance of the sacred, the inner, growing, and finding the balance between being and doing. Sacrifice, Discipline, Accountability, Joy.

Principle 4 – Protection
Many reputations to protect, especially your own
There should be no action taken by word or deed to undermine, destroy, or cast doubt on this movement, its ideals, our communities, ourselves, or each other. In a small community there is no invisibility.

Principle 5 – Action
Act like you know and play your role to the fullest
Being a part of this movement is a gift, a gift that can only be realized by your own initiative. We must each do what is expected with excellence and when the occasion arises we must do more. Be willing to go above and beyond.

Principle 6 – Unity
Stay on Point
Disregarding any of the above mentioned principles will be met with severe and swift measures, most likely termination. Please do not take it personal – if you cannot or will not embody these principles, you cannot and will not be a part of P.O.W.E.R.


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