The Green New Deal And The Need to Prioritize Our Planet


Photo courtesy vox

The ceaseless rain, unprecedented cold, and unexpected snow caught the attention of every resident in Southern California. The origin of such odd weather sightings has been pointed to climate change. After all, isn’t that what our teachers taught us all in elementary school? That climate change is real and contributes to the seemingly strange weather patterns? Although many liberals and republicans do acknowledge the existence of climate change, efforts to combat climate change are virtually nonexistent. However, on February 7, Democratic Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reignited the conversation by launching the resolution for the Green New Deal.

What is this new deal? Inspired from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” (a program dedicated to stimulating economic growth for the American people during the Great Depression),  the Green New Deal or GND is a national effort to reduce America’s carbon emissions. At initial glance, the resolution seems extremely radical. The GND calls for massive investments into clean-energy jobs and infrastructure to decarbonize our economy in the next ten years. Ideally, the GND will change our country’s energy sources to be 100% renewable. Many say that this program is out-right ridiculous and will never be completed to fruition. Perhaps this is true (especially if Senate kills every environmentally progressive bill), but years of ignorance towards pressing environmental issues have put us in a position where we must be open to all efforts that combat climate change. In complete honesty, the reason why people are hesitant towards the GND is because there has not been any materialized bill to take initiative on the issue. The GND simply puts actions behind the words that Democrats have been saying for decades: that they acknowledge climate change. However, it is not enough for us to simply acknowledge the existence of climate change or try to persuade our stubborn president to acknowledge climate change. Acknowledgment is the prerequisite for action. It is time for us to comprehend the gravity of our ailing planet and use our power as the people to push our government to prioritize this global issue.

The GND might seem like a fantasyland for its critics, but the effects of climate change put us in an environmental emergency that forces us to reconsider such criticisms. The IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicts “that humanity has just over a decade to peak and begin rapidly reducing global carbon emissions if there is to be any hope of hitting the (already inadequate) international target of limiting global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.” If that rings any alarm bells, it doesn’t help to know that our government is currently doing absolutely nothing about this global crisis. More than a year ago, President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, destroying whatever national narrative we had on the climate change issue. Even six months ago, both House Democrats and Republicans refused to put climate change as one of their top priorities, disregarding the 44% of Americans who state that it should be (according to Pew Institute of Research). Recent natural disasters are intensified by climate change, and Hurricane Maria left hundreds of communities without any running water or electricity – many of those communities still have not received government aid despite Puerto Rico being a territory of the U.S. The lack of attention that our government gives to this obvious problem is unacceptable. The GND provides a possible solution to this crisis.

Though there is no official price tag to the GND, many Republicans have already rebuked the program as too hefty of a bill to pay. However, the program offers a sustainable, ongoing solution to climate change. Past Brookings Research finds that clean energy provides new opportunities for a wide array of jobs and workers. Additionally, there are other budgets that the US can take money out of to help support the program. The current U.S. war budget is three times that of Russia and China combined. Reducing the military budget is not a threat to national security, especially since all of the wars in the last 60 years have been wars of aggression rather than defense. Spending more money into our military only increases our aggression towards other nations, and it’s time to reconsider the way to allocate our budget for the greatest amount of people.

As hopeful as this bill is to providing some sort of legislative action for the safety of our homes from drastic environmental factors in the next few decades, the chance that it will get signed by both Congress and the President does not look too hopeful. Regardless, it sparked a conversation that is growing louder amongst students, politicians, leaders, activists, and communities. Similar to the young activists that arose after the tragic Parkland shootings, young leaders across America are supporting the GND in fear of their future. Perhaps it’s finally time that we too take responsibility over this problem and take a supportive stance with those who are rallying for the cause.