Unless you’ve somehow isolated yourself from all social media and new networks, you’ve probably heard about this thing called a Green New Deal. Much like the first New Deal in the 1930s, it’s a plan to drastically shift our economy and society, this time to conquer climate change over a ten-year time period. The proposal was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward J. Markey after grassroots actions were staged by groups such as Sunrise Movement to push Congress to fight for climate justice. This movement has been largely led by young people, and climate change activism continues to be spearheaded by activists such as Greta Thunberg (a 16-year-old who addressed the United Nations climate change summit in 2018) as well as a group of teens who are suing the U.S. government over climate inaction. If you're one of the many people in our generation who wants a liveable future, read on to see why the Green New Deal is our best option.
1. Guaranteed green jobs.
You know how you go to college with big dreams about making a career for yourself, only to come face-to-face with the anxiety that you will never actually get a job once you graduate? Well, the Green New Deal is here to quench your fears! The GND comes with a green jobs guarantee, meaning anyone who wants one can get one. Plus, the work will focus on improving infrastructure, increasing energy efficiency and transitioning to 100% sustainable energy, all of which will give you skills you can transfer later in your career.
2. Emphasis on underserved communities.
If you consider the green jobs guarantee, obviously this will serve communities with the highest rates of unemployment (such as communities of color). But since the Green New Deal will also be updating infrastructure and energy grids, underserved communities (such as areas that have a higher poverty rate, suffer from extreme pollution, or were affected by a natural disaster) will finally get the help they need to innovate and avoid gentrification.
3. Make buildings and infrastructure more accessible.
Have you ever noticed that a building has no elevator, or that the hallways are just a little too narrow? If you’re able-bodied, chances are you probably haven’t. As I said previously, the Green New Deal aims to completely repair our infrastructure and has a goal of updating every building in the United States. And when they do so, everything will be made as accessible as possible.
4. Better public transit, including long-distance.
Every college student knows what it’s like to travel. Whether that’s cross-country (or even between countries) or just across the city, you have to be able to get from one place to another. But driving takes a long time, and flying is just a hassle. The Green New Deal will implement extensive public transit, both within cities and over long distances at high-speed. Going home for Thanksgiving will be a whole lot easier, and comfier too.
5. Improve food security.
As college students, we become more independent and often start to cook for ourselves. Food, however, is going to one of the things drastically changed by climate change. Soil changes with the climate and many agricultural regions are finding it more and more difficult to raise a healthy crop. Not only will the Green New Deal fight against this change, but it will also utilize our food system to do so. The GND plans to reform our current food system, using the soil to capture carbon as well as make locally-produced food more accessible. So you can have your future, and eat it too!
6. Protect our future.
Finally, the Green New Deal will give us the future we deserve. Right now, climate change threatens to destroy our entire way of life if we don’t do something drastic, and fast. If you’ve ever pictured yourself having a family, traveling, or retiring, all of those things will be affected by climate change. We are young, and we have our entire lives ahead of us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to spend it in a constant battle against our planet.
The Green New Deal is no small piece of legislation, and that’s a good thing. It is so far the only action proposed that sizes up to the problem of climate change on the time scale we need it to. It might seem overwhelming to think about the future of the world when we’re only students, but we have a responsibility to our future selves to take action now. If you agree, call your representatives to let them know you want a Green New Deal!