By Zaq Guiod
A recent report from the UN details how climate change will ravage the world, unless we curb carbon emissions by 2030. While most of our elected representatives have either ignored the report or have spoken words without a plan of action, there is a solution out there. A Green New Deal is a series of policies that would revolutionize not only our energy system, but our economy as well.
There are severals goals the Green New Deal wants to accomplish. The first is to move to a 100 percent renewable energy system within 10 years. For this to happen there would have to be a massive federal jobs program, which advocates say will give a job paying a living wage to any American who wants it. This is part of the reason why it is called a Green New Deal, it is piggybacking on the popular New Deal passed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which helped Americans get jobs during the worst depression in our country’s history.
The jobs that are created won’t just be making and installing solar panels. Think of Flint, Michigan, and how they need new pipes and new water-treatment centers. If the federal government funded a Green New Deal, people would be put to work fixing cities and towns just like Flint that have outdated infrastructure that is hurting people and the environment.
Although one of the politicians pushing for a Green New Deal hasn’t even joined her colleagues in the House yet, she has been busy getting the word out. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined protestors at soon-to-be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office who want the Democratic party to fight for and implement a Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez also attended a national town hall hosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, where she compares the ambition needed to implement a Green New Deal to the ambition that was required to land on the moon. “This is going to be the great society, the moon shot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require.”
She is not wrong. The movement for a Green New Deal is not only facing opposition from a Republican party that is completely owned by the fossil fuel industry, but also from the Democratic party. Only 22 Congresspeople, all Democrats, support a Green New Deal. While there are some older Democrats who support the plan, such as civil rights legend John Lewis, most of the support is coming from younger and newly elected Democrats.
It is easy to get lost in the numbers of how long we have until our world burns and how much carbon we put into the atmosphere. Instead of thinking of that, think of regular people. People in Flint still don’t have clean water. People in California are losing their homes and their right to clean air. People in Puerto Rico are still suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Maria. A Green New Deal would have an immediate positive impact on Americans’ lives and at the same time would make the United States a global leader on climate change. Also if we don’t implement a green new deal, or a plan like it, our children will grow up in a significantly worse world than we did.