Many perceive the “Green New Deal (GND)” as just another political ideology being pushed by Democrats as legislative action to battle the effects of climate change. Yet a closer look at what GND authors Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) penned down as resolutions include helping the underserved members of American communities.
It acknowledges that the effects of climate change gravely impact the low income sector; comprising those who do not qualify for higher-paying jobs, the indigenous refugees, the poor people of color and other socially oppressed members of communities. It brings into focus that their homes or makeshift shelters are not adequately protected against stronger and more violent weather disturbances; or even in times of epidemic outbreaks as had been demonstrated in the still ongoing COVID-19.
Rep. AOC and Sen. Markey’s GND is described as a comprehensive re-introduction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s domestic programs, as ways of helping the people go through the Great Depression. Yet it also reminds many that the term “Green New Deal” was coined by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist named Thomas Friedman
The Origin of the “Green New Deal” Title
In 2007, at the time when America started experiencing unusually hotter periods, journalist Thomas Friedman who wrote for The New York Times, had revived the principles of FDR’s programs in one of his op-eds. He argued for the implementation of similar initiatives, and had described his recommendations as a set of “Green New Deal.
“If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid—moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables.”
From then on, a reference to the “Green New Deal” denoted diverse sets of policies founded on goals of making systemic changes. However, Friedman was not as optimistic over his GND advocacies. He was aware that aside from substantial funding and concerted efforts, it also means upsetting some industries; particularly those traditionally counted upon as political campaign donors. As expected, Friedman’s call for legislative actions in support of his “Green New Deal” did not pick up steam.
AOC brought back the Green New Deal when she made it the focal point of her 2018 candidacy. She became the strongest voice of the grassroots organization The Sunshine Movement, which has been actively calling on Trump’s government to address climate change. Mainly because its adverse effects continue to degrade and impoverish about 60% of the American people.
AOC’s “Green New Deal” : A Political Tool
AOC’s “Green New Deal” is touted as the most ambitious and at the same time most comprehensive set of climate change proposals. Unfortunately, its arrival in Congress came at the time when the Republicans who dominated the Upper House was not open to working on bipartisan legislation.
Currently, the “Green New Deal” represents more than just a set of environmental, economic and social changes that aim to serve the people of a democratic nation. Today, it is also a political tool that can influence American voters when they decide who to elect as legislators and president in the forthcoming general elections in November 2020.