The Green New Deal: a plan to save America

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     Today in Washington, and across the country, a new resolution is being discussed.

     The resolution, entitled “A Resolution for a Green New Deal” (commonly known as the Green New Deal) was introduced into the senate by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and supported by numerous politicians and activists across the country.

     If implemented, the Green New Deal promises to bring extraordinary change to this country. The deal aims to create new jobs, invest in sustainable infrastructure and development projects, achieve net-zero greenhouse gas pollution and expand renewable energy sources throughout the country. Aside from taking on environmental problems, the deal also aims to provide many social and economic opportunities to disadvantaged communities.

     Through the creation of new, high-paying union jobs and establishing new outreach programs in both urban and rural communities, the deal aims to support groups that have historically been victimized by widespread environmental destruction. And while those who oppose this new series of plans laud it as a fantastical patchwork of unrealistic goals, the majority of supporters see it as a clear path toward a better future. And the truth is, we need this deal.

     As of this moment, America and countries around the world are in a state of crisis. The latest reports show that we are undergoing the greatest environmental crisis in history. Increased industrial output and a rise in global pollution from energy sources have left a huge effect on the quality of air, land and water around the globe.

     The United States is also one of the most polluting countries on the planet. If immediate action is not taken to significantly reduce the damage, the consequences could be devastating to our way of life.

     Recent administrations (spanning all the way back to Bill Clinton) have done little, if anything, to actively support meaningful legislation to help curtail pollution and increase sustainable development.

     Indeed, the most comprehensive plan to substantially reverse environmental destruction was the Clean Air Act, which was introduced in 1963. It is all too clear that we need a new, ambitious program to take on this crisis.

     Despite the myriad opportunities the Green New Deal provides for reversing this environmental crisis, many believe that this project is a hopeless waste of time and resources. Attacks on the deal continue to come in daily from sources on the right as well as the left. Republican leaders call it a “socialist fever dream,” and claim that the need for the plan is not based on any scientific proof. Many also say that implementation would involve the eradication of a variety of resources (one popular assumption is that cows will be outlawed).

     The current Democratic Party establishment is also brushing off this new movement as an unrealistic folly. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated February, “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” Other notable Democrats have also raised questions about the deal’s goals.

     This new proposal has also earned the ire of many members of the Trump administration. Not to mention the numerous oil company executives and fossil fuel lobbyists that are not too pleased about the resolution’s goals. And while support for the plan is steadily rising, it’s obvious that attacks on the deal are not about to stop.

     Now, let’s be clear; the Green New Deal is not a quick and easy answer to all of our problems. In no way do I believe that the goals, as crucially important as they are, could be completed in a relatively short amount of time. It cannot end the mass reliance on polluting energy sources we use in one year. It cannot redesign an entire infrastructure network in a month’s time. And it is certainly not a piece of legislation that can be implemented overnight to reverse climate change by tomorrow.

     However, it is a comprehensive plan to prioritize environmentally sustainable development in America. It is a plan for guaranteeing good, affordable housing, clean food and a healthy environment for everyone.

     It is a plan for expanding clean agricultural, industrial and energy jobs. It is a plan for creating sustainable alternatives to non-renewable energy. It is a plan to create new opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized communities. And it is the kind of plan this country needs right now.

     We should all support the Green New Deal.

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