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CROWDSOURCING SUSTAINABILITY

The Green New Deal: Finally a Solution that Matches the Scale and Scope of the Climate Crisis

Hundreds preparing to protest congress, demanding a Green New Deal. Credit: Rachael Warriner

Hundreds preparing to protest Congress, demanding a Green New Deal. Credit: Rachael Warriner

On Sunday I’ll be going down to DC with the Sunrise Movement to pressure the House to form a Select Committee for a Green New Deal before they’ve finalized their plans for 2019. (You can learn more/sign up here or help from home if you’d like on Monday.)

The Sunrise Movement has two objectives:

  • Get politicians to stop taking money from fossil fuel interests so they can be free to serve the people who elected them, rather than the companies putting money in their pockets.
  • Get legislation passed that is ambitious enough to actually solve the climate crisis in time. That’s why they’re backing Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to form a Select Committee on a Green New Deal.

So what is this Green New Deal?

“This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require…We can use the transition to 100% renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It’s named after the “New Deal” that Franklin Delano Roosevelt created when he became president in the midst of the Great Depression. The New Deal was a way for the government to help people by providing jobs and boosting the economy.

The Green New Deal is similar in that it’s an enormous undertaking to help people in a time of great need. It not only promises to tackle climate change with the necessary, science-based, speed and scale, but it’d also put millions of people to work to get the job done. Jobs would be created in clean energy, residential and commercial building upgrades, modernizing the power grid, and generally decarbonizing every aspect of the economy.

The Green New Deal would essentially put millions of Americans to work fighting climate change and is centered in equity.

The Green New Deal would likely go live in 2021

They’re not dumb. Nobody expects to get it passed right now.

The idea is to get a bipartisan Select Committee for a Green New Deal established in 2019. The select committee will then come up with a plan for the transformation to a carbon-neutral economy. And by 2021, the legislation will be ready to go.

For the record, in case it matters to you since I talk politics sometimes – I’m a registered Independent. My politics are pretty much guided by whoever is going to do the most to reverse the climate crisis because in my mind if we don’t figure that out, none of the other important issues end up mattering. Reversing climate change inherently prioritizes people’s health, safety, and life in general, so that’s where I stand.

Is the Green New Deal extreme?

Yes, you bet. But extreme action is the only reasonable option at this point if you’re on team humanity and life.

“Now more than ever, unprecedented and urgent action is required by all nations.” – UN Emissions Gap Report (came out last week)

To be honest, I don’t know if the Green New Deal is the answer or not since it’s not fully hashed out. But it’s the best thing we’ve got right now, so I’m pretty excited about it! If nothing else, it’s moving the goalpost in the right direction. I think that this, combined with carbon pricing could get us to where we need to be in terms of addressing our unprecedented situation with the necessary scale and speed in the US.

Also, for the record – this Green New Deal with all of its inclusion, equality, and fighting climate change has got Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential run written all over it – callin’ it.

 

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This post originally featured as a section of the What on EARTH?! sustainability newsletter.

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