A few weeks ago, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) released the Green New Deal Resolution.
Many responses hailed this resolution for being the kind of bold policy we need to see. Others said this was not only unattainable policy pushing us towards a utopian and renewable future within only 10 years, but was not detailed enough to get us anywhere.
Both are a bit misguided. This Green New Deal (GND) is not policy. It’s a resolution that is meant to force us to develop policies that will allow all Americans to live in a healthy and livable world within 10 years time. This resolution outlines the priorities legislators need to consider with every piece of legislation. It outlines goals – such as getting our energy from clean, renewable and net-zero sources – towards which we should reach.
The resolution is both lofty and vague so that we can all agree that a livable world is something worth pushing for. We can navigate specific details, payment plans and pathways later, but coming together as a country and agreeing that we should live in a more just and clean world is the first step.
The steps for making the GND work are simple. First we must ensure that people know the purpose of the GND and understand its terms and conditions. Too many are disregarding the resolution because they believe it is a policy. Others don’t know that clean energy and net-zero emissions allow for continued plane travel and natural gas use.
Second, we must bring together all of the right people to build a strong and committed collaboration. Government itself cannot reach these goals. We need industry, local government, community leaders and more to share their expertise and provide us with innovative solutions.
Third, the GND calls for an overhaul of our social and economic systems as we know them. This will require our patience and our dedication to incremental policy changes that gradually allow us to reach our goals.
Fourth, anything we do as part of GND-guided planning, we must uphold the request for a “fair and just transition for all communities and workers”. Climate change affects us all and we have to support each other, not just local or nationally, but globally as well, to combat its impacts on our lives. This means putting resources where they need to be, specifically in rural, low-income, minority, and other marginalized communities. We must have different strategies for urban and rural areas. We must listen to the needs of everyone and respond with customized solutions because there is no one-size-fits all.
When we work together and have a common goal, the possibilities are endless!
Have you read the resolution? What are your thoughts and what are your hopes for a clean energy future?