Green New Deal a must for future

A plan to end unsustainable systems

Kevin Ruano Hernandez, Pinole Valley High School

On April 17, 2019, a video was posted on YouTube by The Intercept called “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Here, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez narrates a video discussing a vision for the future and talks about a young girl and her environmental journey.

The girl shows that indigenous communities offered generational expertise to help guide the way. The video proposed a bright future where it’s full of green and peace. However, just like most proposals, it’s going to require so much work to get in place. And the centerpiece of all of this is the Green New Deal, an idea that has many critics from the news and media.

Fox News makes it difficult for us to understand what the deal really is. It will definitely not destroy the world or bring an “apocalypse.”  It is essentially a vision for the future, not one policy that would be passed by Congress but a foundation to change our world from a climate crisis to a better future.

There are hundreds of Green New Deal ideas around the globe that are specific to each country. The ribbon that wraps together all of the Green New Deals is this: climate change. It is a crisis caused by capitalism, racism, militarism, and conflict. This is a shift in belief within mainstream environmental and climate groups. About 85% of the staff of U.S environmental nonprofits are white. That means 85% dominate every other race in these nonprofits. This often separates climate action from racial oppression and economic injustice. 

For 40 years, we’ve tried a proactive approach and policy change for the last 40 years, and there hasn’t been much progress. We can understand that the root causes of climate change are the same causes of other struggles we face: capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and racism. 

What would a Green New Deal look like? It should focus on two concepts: abolition and abundance. Abolition, by pulling away from networks of harm that fuel climate change. This can mean refineries such as the local Chevron refinery. However, we should take into consideration abolition of the incarceration, abolition of the military industry, and abolition of the neoliberal capitalist economy. 

As prison abolitionist and geography professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore states, “Abolition means not just the closing of prisons but the presence, instead, of vital systems of support that many communities lack.”

We resolve inequalities and get people the resources they need long before the hypothetical moment when, as Gilmore puts it, they “mess up.” We can see in this statement that abolition is about abundance rather than absence. 

This is why the Green New Deal is so important because it seeks to rip apart unsustainable systems. It seeks to replace those violent systems with guaranteed jobs, sustainable housing, a robust caretaking economy by listening to those who are living through environmental and systemic harm. You may say that this will never happen, it’s politically impossible! It cost too much money! 

Most political changes happen when there are movements of people working against injustice. Look at all the protests that are happening around the world and how white supremacy must end. The world is changing as we speak and more yet to come. Now with cost, America puts $721 billion dollars into the military budget annually and $20 billion on fossil fuel subsidies. 

It’s our job as a society and community to have our government spend money to protect our care for life instead of killing it. 

So the question is, what other choice do we have really than to propose a Green New Deal?