Opinion: Green New Deal-What Does it Mean?

Madison Schultz

Madison Schultz

Modern-day politics in the United States has created huge divisions among the citizens of this country. With the 2020 presidential election a little over a year away, many Democratic politicians are proposing reformative ideas that might be adopted to create a more progressive future for America.

The Green New Deal is the proposed, sweeping new initiative for environmental policy that many Democratic presidential candidates have integrated into their campaigns for the 2020 election. The Green New Deal involves similar ideas to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal plan that was implemented to pull America out of the Great Depression and put citizens back to work. However, the Green New Deal is also aggressively working towards combatting climate change.

Combining the concepts of the New Deal put into place in the 1930s with “green” ideas, the Green New Deal aims to solve the economic issues that America is facing, along with making a substantial imprint into tackling the global issues that climate change has presented.

Some of the core proposals of the Green New Deal include ideas behind strengthening America’s antitrust policy, providing every American with high-quality healthcare, affordable and safe housing, and a call for a green federal job guarantee—ensuring every American citizen a secured job with full benefits in green technologies.

According to newly-elected New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, “the Green New Deal presents ideas that recognize the relationship between economic stability and environmental sustainability—implementing structural changes to our political and financial systems in order to alter the trajectory of our [America’s] environment.”

Though these reformative ideas are possible, society needs to mobilize as a whole and agree to the severity of climate change to make any sort of progress towards reconstructing the decades of damage that have already been done.

Although communities, such as Lake Tahoe, maintain green ideas and practice sustainable living, the shift that is essential to reshaping climate damage needs to be adopted unanimously by American citizens to really make any sort of reform on a global level.

The big question is if this shift, is even possible in the current political climate.

Currently, America’s economy is controlled by large corporations that often rely on fossil fuels for success. Transitioning a change to 100 percent renewable, zero-emissions energy will take time, effort, and training.

In an era where some people are still rejecting basic science, and are climate change deniers, is America up for that task?

The Green New Deal proposes this change will happen by creating environmentally sustainable jobs that boost the economy. That being said, the Green New Deal also presents this 100 percent conversion from fossil fuel to renewable energy will be completed by the year 2035.

With the majority of America’s economy running on fossil fuels currently, the workers that would benefit from this transformation would need to be retrained entirely to work with new energy-efficient equipment. Transforming the energy system that America currently thrives on in less than 20 years seems unrealistic—unless the Green New Deal is carried out by not only American government, but American citizens as well.

Many Americans don’t believe climate change is the country’s biggest threat. This is interesting, considering even the Pentagon, which is not considered a liberal bastion of green thinking, has stated that climate change is the greatest threat to our country. Because the Green New Deal isn’t unanimously accepted by the American Government or its citizens, the change that many Democratic Party members wish to see in the near future might not be possible.

Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign aims to radically implement the Green New Deal, which also supports ideas such as protecting workers rights, providing Americans with healthcare, and utilizing America’s debt to fund a federal job guarantee—providing livable wage, medical leave, paid vacation, and secured retirement to every single American citizen.

However, the scale of this project is too big to be implemented anytime soon. A program on this level hasn’t been put into place since President Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the original New Deal was funded by the government. The ideas that the Green New Deal present are viable and ideal for a better America—but unattainable unless more young citizens get involved with this issue. Many people want to see a large change with our current political climate, but a change of this magnitude will require near universal acceptance that climate change is a real and serious problem that the world is facing.

“If everyone were to get out and vote in the upcoming presidential election then we could see reformative change and turn around this global issue within 20 years,” SNC junior Emily Tessmer said. “I’m relieved to live in a place that practices sustainability, but this is something that is desperately needed in order to resist any further damage from climate change.”

Madison Schultz is a Sierra Nevada
College junior. She is a reporter for the Eagle’s Eye.