Jerome Ringo
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Jerome Ringo

Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States

Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
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The best kept secret in music

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Jerome Ringo, 53: Green-economy advocate

“Poor people can’t afford a Prius.”

Ringo, who worked at a petrochemical plant for 20 years before becoming a conservationist, is president of Apollo Alliance, a coalition of businesses, unions, and conservation and faith groups working to create a green economy he believes will bring up to 5 million new jobs, many to the underclass. He’s former chair of the National Wildlife Federation’s board, the first African-American to hold such a title at a major conservation group.

What are “green-collar” jobs? In the coming years, there will be jobs in industries like solar panels, wind energy, biofuels. The production of these alternatives is going to require trained personnel. That’s why we’re working with labor groups. They have the mechanisms in place to train people.

Why is the environmental movement so, well, white? In the ’30s and ’40s, many conservation groups were formed by hunters and fishermen. It was a predominantly white, male movement. Over the years, it’s become clear that we all breathe the air and we all drink the water, so we should all be involved. Unfortunately, the minority community is still not a major player. Poor people are more concerned with next month’s rent than with the depletion of the ozone.

How do you change that? We have to figure out how to make renewable energy more affordable. We should make polluters pay for what they’re putting into the atmosphere and use the money to educate people and to provide subsidies to help them do something about it.

What drives you? Dr. Martin Luther King said that to achieve civil rights, it would take a broad coalition of people from all walks of life. I believe that energy rights can be achieved the same way.
- Washingtonian, 2007


As chairman of the National Wildlife Federation, 52-year-old Jerome Ringo—the first African-American to hold the top spot at a major conservation organization—went on a mission to make green more inclusive. "Poor people and people of color are the most adversely affected by bad environmental practices, but we are the least involved," says the Louisiana native, who grew up hunting and fishing on the bayous near his hometown of Lake Charles. He spent the past two years preaching his message to inner-city kids, Native Americans, Beltway politicos, and residents of New Orleans's hurricane-devastated Ninth Ward. Ringo's two-year term at the NWF ended last month, but he's still spreading the word as president of the Washington, D.C.-based alt-energy think tank Apollo Alliance. Their goal: to drum up three million new clean-energy jobs and eliminate America's foreign-oil dependence by 2017. - Outside Magazine, April 2007


Jerome Ringo was fabulous—very passionate and energizing! Thanks again for all of your help in securing him for our event. - Family Housing Fund (“Green by Design” Event)


Jerome Ringo was fabulous—very passionate and energizing! Thanks again for all of your help in securing him for our event. - Family Housing Fund (“Green by Design” Event)


Thank you again for being a wonderfully cooperative and effective intermediary. Jerome's talk was a great success.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Jerome Ringo became national president of the Apollo Alliance in 2005, working diligently as a dedicated champion of environmental justice and a vocal advocate of clean energy. His firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced came from working for more than 20 years in Louisiana’s petrochemical industry. His career include years in drilling and offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as process operations in the refining industry. Over ten years was spent as an active union member working with fellow members to secure a safe work environment and quality jobs for employees.

Louisiana’s petrochemical industry focuses on the production of gasoline, jet fuel, and plastics–many of which contain cancer causing chemicals. As Ringo began observing the negative impacts of the industry’s pollution on local communities; primarily poor, minority communities, he began organizing community environmental justice groups. His experience in organizing environmental and labor communities, and his drive to further diversify the environmental movement encouraged many of Apollo’s partners to create a broad based coalition to provide real solutions for our energy crisis.

In 1996, Ringo was elected to serve on the National Wildlife Federation board of directors. In 2005, Ringo became the chair of the board, making him the first African American to head a major conservation organization. Ringo was a delegate to the United States’ 1998 Global Warming Treaty Negotiations in Kyoto, Japan, and represented the National Wildlife Federation at the COP 15 talks in Copenhagan, Denmark. Ringo also served as a representative at the United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development in 1999.

Ringo inspires audiences around the world to create a new clean energy economy. Some of his most notable speaking appearances include:
> The Montreal Climate Summit in 2006
> The United Nations African Climate Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in 2006
> The Kyoto Plus Conference in Berlin, Germany in 2007
> The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

In 2006, Ringo was a McCloskey Fellow and Associate Research Scholar at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In 2008, he was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of the Environment.

Ringo appeared in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He has also co-authored Diversity and the Future of the U.S. Environmental Movement (published 2007), and The Green Festival Reader (published 2008.)

Ringo is married to the Reverend Mary Guidry-Ringo. They reside in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and they have four children.