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    Program ID - bo113005

    Green Leaders

    When Omar Freilla looks at a landfill in the South Bronx, he sees wanton waste of perfectly recyclable building materials.

    Freilla wants to transform this environmental dumping ground into a Mecca of eco-jobs, to create a worker-owned 'Home Depot' type store to sell recycled construction debris.

    This week, join host Jerry Kay as he catches up with environmental business and community leaders at recent eco-conferences in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    This Week's Guests:

    Omar Freilla — Executive Director, Green Worker Cooperatives

    Freilla, a life long resident of the South Bronx, is recognized internationally as an outspoken environmental justice activist who has dedicated himself to seeking solutions to the disproportionate environmental impacts faced by low-income communities of color. He is the founder and director of Green Worker Cooperatives (GWC). He is also a board member and former program director for Sustainable South Bronx, an organization dedicated to the creation of development projects that improve the environmental and economic health of South Bronx neighborhoods. Prior to that he worked with communities throughout New York City on environmental justice campaigns as part of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

    Will Bullock — Program Coordinator, The Food Project

    Bullock, 24, is a nationally recognized public speaker focused on raising awareness about the many problems affecting our current food system. Bullockís career was sparked at the young age of 15, when he worked at an urban youth garden where he learned the real value in growing fresh, healthy food. A W.K Kellogg Food and Policy Fellow, Bullock frequently gives presentations at local high schools around Boston, Mass., educating youth and adults alike about food issues and topics such as parental role models and eating habits; access to fresh, healthy food in low-income and urban communities; and the health risks that the current food system creates in low-income communities. The Food Project is a non-profit organization that teaches youth about agriculture and youth-adult partnerships through hands-on experience.

    Jeff Mendelsohn — CEO, New Leaf Paper

    Mendelsohn is the founder and president of New Leaf Paper, a company whose mission is to transform the paper industry toward sustainability. He has developed a vision of a sustainable paper industry and created a wide selection of cutting edge environmental papers that fit this vision. Since it was founded in 1998, New Leaf Paper has seen a shift in the marketplace through its efforts and has had particular influence on book publishing. Mendelsohnís interest in socially responsible business transcends the goals of New Leaf Paper and he actively works to support the growth of the socially responsible business.

    Alisa Gravitz — Executive Director, Co-op America

    For more than 20 years, Gravitz has led Co-op America, a national nonprofit whose mission is to develop marketplace solutions to social and environmental problems. Co-op America has a membership base of over 70,000 consumer activists and 2,500 businesses. Gravitz is also a nationally recognized leader in the social investment industry. She authored Co-op America's guide to social investing and as vice president of the Social Investment Forum and has played a key role in the growth of the socially responsible investing industry to $2.2 trillion dollars from less than $40 million 15 years ago. Gravitz serves on the boards of CERES, Social Investment Forum, Co-op America, Social Venture Network, Network for Good, Positive Futures Network and the Anacostia Watershed Society. She also helped launch Business for Social Responsibility and served on its founding board. Prior to Co-op America, Gravitz worked on renewable energy and energy efficiency for the Carter administration, and market and economic development issues in both the public and private sectors.

    More information:

  • Natural Capitalism
  • Cradle to Cradle

  • NY Daily News - Green Worker Cooperatives wants to turn construction waste into jobs
  • Worldwatch Institute - Moving Toward a Less Consumptive Economy

    Web Resources:
  • The Food Project
  • Green Worker Cooperatives
  • US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
  • New Leaf Paper
  • Co-op America

  • Resources for Journalists:

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    Please contact Michael Straus at 415-777-1170 x 302 or email for more information.



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