Imagine being confined inside your home for multiple days due to extremely high levels of air pollution that threaten your health and loved ones’ safety. Now imagine telling a lively, active six-year-old child that he has to stay inside, too, due to dangerous amounts of smog in your community. This might outrage or sadden some people, but for North Star Chapter volunteer leader Boise Jones, this was inspiration to work to mitigate air pollution and climate change. Energetic, passionate, and strategic are a few words that come to mind while speaking with Boise Jones, Senior Project Manager at Emerge Community Development and leader with the Chapter’s environmental justice program.
Boise sees his values played out through his involvement with the local Sierra Club, where he advocates for clean air, soil, and water—as well as in his professional career at Emerge, where he connects people in need with jobs or housing opportunities. Recently, Boise began an urban farm for youth involved with Emerge because he wants to connect the North Minneapolis community with sustainable solutions they can implement in their daily life. Boise explained that the urban farm serves three purposes: 1) to educate youth about healthy food choices, 2) to teach youth how to grow and sell their own food sustainably, and 3) to engage youth in a project that connects them to each other and the environment.
He has also involved his colleagues in acting on environmental concerns. Another wonderful Emerge employee, Megan Wolle, is concerned about environmental justice in her community as well as the issues surrounding climate change. Megan has acted on these concerns by incorporating sustainability in the Emerge office—conducting an employee survey about recycling, and then educating her colleagues about the importance of reusing and recycling. Boise reflects on his and Megan’s work to promote sustainability in their workplace, asking, “if we don’t do it, who will? We need to think globally and act locally.”
Boise’s strong background in environmental justice and conservation includes work with the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, serving on the Diversity Council at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, and working to establish Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard, among many other accomplishments – for which he was honored with the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award by the North Star Chapter. His enthusiastic involvement in environmental justice and combating climate change by “using business as a solution” inspires others to donate their time, energy, and skills—in the same way that Boise has.
Profile by Olivia Cashman, Development and Communications Intern for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter.
Previous: Bruce Snyder
Next: Kay Slama