Uncommon Ground with Van Jones

Uncommon Ground with Van Jones

Are you concerned about the future? Tired of divisiveness? Join political commentator and changemaker Van Jones on a journey to find unifying solutions to our country’s biggest problems. Each week, Van and his guests explore topics that affect us all—from climate change to prison reform, from voting rights to political polarization. In Uncommon Ground with Van Jones, you’ll hear inspiring, hopeful and unique perspectives on what it takes to create meaningful change and foster productive dialogue in a divided nation.


October 26, 2022 3 mins

In this final installment of the podcast, Van thanks the Uncommon Ground community for joining him on this journey. 

Some doubted that anyone could do a successful podcast based solely on finding positive solutions, deepening understanding and bringing people together across lines of difference. But we're happy to report: measured by downloads, Uncommon Ground wound up in the top 2 percent of all podcasts! Our success ...

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“Yes, the system is broken. But the solution lies not in dismantling it or burning it down, but in finding solutions that have been shown to work. We should focus on the bread-and-butter issues. Most rank-and-file Democrats are practical and not ideological. Most of them have no Twitter accounts. They worry about the cost of housing, healthcare, and higher education.” 

Congressman Ritchie Torres is a pragmatic prog...

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In this season’s final bonus episode, we wanted to make sure you got a chance to hear from some incredible young people who are trying to save the Earth.

Last year, Van went to COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) held in Glasgow, Scotland. There he met with Jerome Foster, Kevin Patel, Chante Harris, Alexandria Villaseñor, Kevin Mtai, and others. These young people are doing extraordinary work advocating for progres...

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It is exceedingly rare these days for two national voices on opposite sides of the political spectrum to come together and have an honest, respectful exchange of views. Many on the right believe that progressives want to abuse government power to punish them for their views. Many on the left feel under constant assault from the right. It is increasingly easy for each side to dismiss the concerns of the other. But in a demo...

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In this special bonus episode, Van moves into the guest seat for an interview with comedian and author Chelsea Handler. The conversation took place in 2018 while Chelsea was filming her Netflix documentary: Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea.

Chelsea’s goal was to explore the impacts of ‘white privilege’ on American culture. In the intervening years, the U.S. has gone through a racial justice awakening. But with so...

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“So many people in politics, they've all got opinions. My job is not to be about my opinions. My job is to go out and listen to other people's opinions.” 

What shot does Donald Trump have at re-election? What do Republicans really think about Ron DeSantis? How are people feeling about the Biden Presidency? What issues are really keeping Americans up at night? With her keen and unique insight, Kristen Soltis Anderson ca...

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"There's that quote: ‘First I was smart, and I tried to change the world. Then I got wise, and I tried to change myself.’ What I've leaned into now is: let me stop soap-boxing and telling everyone else what to do. And let me start looking at myself. I was a fraud in many ways because I felt that I had to represent the thing, but I didn't have to be the thing.”

Adrian Grenier was an A-list actor who had it all, including fam...

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“I've seen situations, which are far worse than our situation, where the impossible became possible. I saw the Berlin wall come down. I was in South Africa in 1989 when Mandela was still in prison. And within six years there was an astonishing political transformation in South Africa. Even in the Middle East, Israel and Egypt forged a peace that endures to this day, 40 years later.”

Tensions and polarization within the US a...

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“Failure is not the opposite of success. It's a stepping stone to success. If we're lucky, we get 30,000 days to play the game of life. How we spend those 30,000 days depends on what we value. And if we are disconnected from our spiritual essence, it is so much easier to value things that will never really fulfill us.”

This week, Van is joined by Arianna Huffington – renowned author, entrepreneur, media personality and one ...

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“What am I going to do to create lasting positive transformation? Everyone has that opportunity. And I think everyone should recognize that you should not ever quit or doubt your ability to make something positive happen.”

You might know Aloe Blacc as a famous musician. But did you know that he’s also an activist, a non-profit founder, and a biotech entrepreneur? Aloe proves that no matter what skill your known for, you...

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“What's being sold today is that one side is good, and the other side is bad. That one side is racist, and the other side is not. There's just nothing further from the truth.” 

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is up for reelection this fall. Many speculate that he will run for president one day soon. Scott is one of only three Black United States senators, and the only Black senator in the Republican Party. His ...

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“Because there were so few people who looked like me in my business throughout my career, I've been so cautious about drawing attention to my ethnicity, to my gender. To bring these issues to the fore has been very uncomfortable, but necessary. I hope that I've inspired people in my own community to no longer be content to sit on the sidelines. It's been an incredible experience to see this community come together.” 


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“You have a bold generation now that you can tap into. Younger people. They are ready to go toe-to-toe with whomever on an idea that they feel passionate about. And a lot of the ideas could help us be the America that we claim to be.” 

TikTok is becoming the social media home of a new generation of activists, while older folks debate politics on Facebook and Twitter. The rules and expectations are totally different on ...

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“It is very clear that we are on the precipice – two years, three years, ten years max – that some of these disruptive technologies will fundamentally threaten the way we presently exist on the planet, in the way that nuclear weapons did when you and I were growing up. That transformation is scary, but it's also ripe with opportunity.” 

This week Van is joined by the brilliant Ian Bremmer. Ian is a political scientist ...

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August 3, 2022 31 mins

“To be queer and come out in 1985 when I'm 16 years-old, and be thrust into the AIDS crisis and fighting for our lives on the front lines…Silence does equal death...I don't know anything else, but to fight. I do understand that as a queer Black man in this space who has been unapologetic from the beginning, there is a responsibility for me to continue to speak my truth.” 

The incomparable Billy Porter does it all! He’s...

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“While people are occasionally motivated to do wonderful things on the basis of their faith, faith generally speaking provides bad reasons to do good things when good reasons are actually available.” 

Can a Christian and an Atheist have a civil and constructive dialogue about the future? For the past 20 years, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris has been one of the leading thinkers of the New Atheism Movement. Va...

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“You have this phenomenal wealth-generation going on. Yet you still have so much of the country totally left out – half the country, if not more, thinking the American dream isn't gonna be available for their kids.”

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna is an uncommon Congressperson. He represents California’s 17th district – a district with one of the highest concentrations of billionaires in the country. But he is adamant that we...

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“I do not have the privilege to be partisan.” Get ready for a strong dose of inspiration from Van’s guest this week - Brittany K. Barnett.

When Brittany was 17 years old, her mother went to prison for drugs. Although Brittany may not have known it at the time, this awful breakdown would lead her to a powerful breakthrough. Hear about Brittany’s journey from accountant to attorney and finally, tireless criminal justice r...

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“I am pro-life. But Roe is a 40-year-old legal precedent. Respecting the rule of law, means I accept the decision. I don't want to celebrate abortion, but I don't want to demonize it, either. I'm the majority. It has never felt so lonely to be in a majority.”

S.E. Cupp is back – this time to discuss abortion. Van is a pro-choice progressive. S.E. is a pro-life conservative. One might expect fireworks!

But in this episode, S....

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“Cash can’t solve everything. But it can solve everything that has to do with cash.”

Michael Tubbs became the youngest mayor of any major city in US history – at the age of 26. He immediately made poverty his number one issue. In 2017, as the newly elected mayor of Stockton, California, he recognized that lack of money was the root cause of most of the problems in his community. But what can the government do to alleviate ...

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