Also, why should we care?
Before I go into what it’s about and why we need it let’s briefly pause to understand why it is even called the ‘Green New Deal’. First – Green. As most of you know, Green is the term used nearly world-wide to refer to any changes or policy decisions that are made with the goal of ecological preservation in mind. Why should we care about the environment? Jungles and rain forests are full of spiders and briers and endless swathes of poisonous monstrosities designed to kill with a touch. I, personally, would never walk through a rain forest. I, personally, am terrified of poison and spiders. And poisonous spiders? HAHA GET OUT. What about grasslands or empty space? Why don’t we expand into those areas with farms and ranches or new homes or cities? Well, you’re not wrong. If we cleared out all that space we can definitely re-use it in a way that could give us more room or food or whatever we like and likely reduce costs for the resources now being provided. That’s just basic math. Unfortunately, there is also a delayed consequence of this kind of economy/capital-driven mindset. First off, anything living there is out of a home and either adapts (raccoons and pigeons) or die (everything else). Pollutants and irritants enter the ecosystems affected which cause long-term damage poisoning the food chain and ultimately the humans atop the food chain. We see this with glyphosate in Round-Up. And of course, this decreases the ability of plants and plankton to make our atmosphere breathable. Lastly, industrialization (fossil-fuel based technology) increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere which causes a global warming or greenhouse effect. All of these put together are how human civilization has caused climate change. Climate change that is very much not for the better – just ask the bees!
So now you understand what is meant by Green and what it means for policies or technologies to be ‘Green’. In some way, shape, or form a Green technology is reducing the negative impact of humans in some measurable way. For example, a Greener facial cleanser will NOT have plastic beads in it, as the plastic ends up getting into the food chain and killing smaller organisms. Now that facial cleanser might still be doing damage to the environment, but it is still better than their competitors who use plastic beads. We can make a progressive tax to encourage the private industry to transition to eco-friendly products. If they refuse to change, then Americans will suffer. The government will need to clean up the mess they’re making. So OBVIOUSLY, we need to tax them to PAY FOR THE DAMAGES THEY CAUSED. *deep breaths* So, when we want to go Green in America, we don’t want sweeping legislation to make all the bad stuff illegal overnight. The economy would collapse and chaos would shortly follow. This is why we want progressive changes. And this is exactly what the ‘Green New Deal’ is: A 10 year plan to transition us to an economic model that isn’t killing the planet and by extension humans who live on the planet. So then what do we mean by New Deal? Well, it’s an homage to the New Deal under FDR which pulled America out of the Great Depression through a large suite of legislation and public works projects created by the federal government. I actually have mixed feelings on the name myself. We very much need a New Deal to fix the economic disparity in our nation which would be very similar FDRs New Deals. So when we call for a Green New Deal the need for ecological reform is conflated with the need for socio-economic reform. It’s the same reason the March on Wall Street failed – too much noise. But we play the hand we’re dealt.. We need a New Deal, which is to say we need to establish regulations prohibiting or charging businesses for negative environmental impact as well as public works projects to promote the health of our environment and hopefully mitigate the damage done while stopping entirely continued destruction of our environment. That’s the ‘New Deal’. #GreenNewDealWithIt
So now that we understand why we need a Green New Deal and the goal of it, what specifically does the current Green New Deal hope to achieve? Well you can read it for yourself or I can try to break it down for you as best I can. Luckily for you, learning, understanding, and breaking it down for everyone is what I’m best at (in the world). The document starts off by detailing how much damage has been caused, how it will affect our economy in the future (Serious question: what do we do with Florida when no one will insure them because the severe storms make it practically unlivable?), how it affects our health, and how we can use the government to turn things around. It then gets a little off-topic with regards to things like gender or race (Which I’m not arguing against, it’s just slightly off topic) but eventually circles back to saying that we need to gradually implement changes to fix the very real and measurable problems being created by business and society on the environment and how that in turn affects all of us. It then sets the lofty (but necessary) goals that would be achieved at the end of the 10 year period. Clean water country-wide, 100% American energy independence with renewable clean energy sources, revitalizing infrastructure and manufacturing (power grid, rails, roads, etc) through public projects that are Green and create millions of jobs(and declaring all future projects should/must be green as well), and removing greenhouse gas emission from all current industrialized technologies (cars, factories, etc). Beyond that it goes into dealing with the fallout of the damage done – cleaning polluted areas, dealing with health problems, encouraging a planet-wide Green consensus, and more. Honestly, it’s hard to find faults with the Green New Deal as it is written because everything in it is a noble aspiration we absolutely should be striving toward. It’s not a binding contract. It doesn’t go into the specifics of how things will get done. For example, it wants agriculture to be green but it doesn’t have a single word about the nuts and bolts of how it’ll be achieved. It’s something I am working hard on, however. If we’re not trying to make the world better, then just what the hell are we doing?