The Green New Deal. Yes, it is a resolution formally submitted to the U.S. Congress by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey. Yet it is so much more than that.
It is part of a global youth-led movement that presents a vision for a sustainable and resilient future based on social, economic, and Earth justice. And it outlines a path for realizing that vision within one generation. Ocasio-Cortez describes it eloquently in her short video, A Message from the Future.
In this video, Ocasio-Cortez offers an inspiring message that is urgently needed to motivate the country out of the quagmire we are in. Politically, it is a message that goes beyond promising a basket of unrelated goodies. Rather, it ties those goodies together into a unifying, holistic theme that addresses root cause rather than symptomatic patches. Whatever one may think of the Green New Deal’s specifics, it does present a foundation for much thoughtful debate, action, and consensus building that are needed to bring it to reality, legislative and otherwise.
We have to be bold and creative, and we have to get started. Politics as usual just won’t cut it. Nothing “as usual” will cut it. We have to not just think but act outside the box, for the box is collapsing around us and whatever remains inside the box will be crushed. Actually, is already in the process of being crushed.
Most exciting about the Green New Deal is the energy and eloquence of the youth leading it. Ocasio-Cortez is one of them, as evidenced in her video (above). Also, on March 14, 2019, the New York Times reported on 9-year-old Zayne Cowie’s children’s book, Gooodbye,Earth, which he wrote for grownups, taking them to task for not addressing climate change. And on April 16, 2019, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden addressed the European Parliament on climate change, saying that, “Everyone and everything has to change.”
Notably, a rapidly growing grassroots movement of young people, the Sunrise Movement, is sweeping the country supporting the Green New Deal and, in the process, raising the consciousness of everyone to the urgency of the task. From the Sunrise Movement website:
We are ordinary young people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love. We are gathering in classrooms, living rooms, and worship halls across the country. Everyone has a role to play. Public opinion is already with us - if we unite by the millions we can turn this into political power and reclaim our democracy.
We are not looking to the right or left. We look forward. Together, we will change this country and this world, sure as the sun rises each morning.
Indeed, everyone and everything does have to change. The time is past, and the time is now, and the Green New Deal offers a path forward.