The Sunrise Movement is the primary organization leading the efforts to promote a Green New Deal (GND). It was Sunrise that organized the sit-ins in Congress last November and December, generating national attention. Behind the scenes a lot of organizing is going on.
From Feb. 18-22, we are going to show up in person at our Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and ask them to cosponsor the Green New Deal Resolution. Then, on Feb. 26, we’re going to Congressional offices around the country for a nationwide coordinated day of action to push for a Green New Deal.
Recently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he would bring the Resolution for a Green New Deal up for a vote. He hopes that will put pressure on those who support a Green New Deal (GND), and stop the momentum of support for it.
The Sunrise Movement sees this as another opportunity to call out fossil fuel money influence in Congress. This new campaign is called #OilMoneyMitch
Note below the Action Training scheduled for Sunday evening (Feb 24). This will be training on how to participate in a nonviolent direct action. A commitment to nonviolence is one of the key principles of the Sunrise Movement, as it was for the Keystone Pledge of Resistance, Dakota Access Pipeline resistance, the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960’s and many others. Those who organize such actions know that training for all participants is crucial. Just one person committing an act of violence tarnishes the entire action. We saw this happen last year in Charlottesville, when “Antifa” attacked the white supremacist protesters. That made it possible for the president to say there was violence on both sides.
*SCHEDULE* Sunday February 24: Action Training 7-10 pm at St. Stephens Church, Monday February 25: ACTION DAY
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced he’s rushing the Green New Deal resolution to a vote in the Senate as early as next week. He’s wagering that this will kill our momentum.
On Monday Feb 25, young people from Kentucky – McConnell’s home state – are planning to confront him in DC. We will join them to ask Mitch McConnell to look us in the eyes and tell us why he’s putting his oil and gas donors above our generations’ survival.
We’re putting all Senators on notice: if you stand with Mitch McConnell and his billionaire friends, instead of standing for the our generation’s future, we’ll remember that when next time you want our votes.
If you live within driving distance of DC and want to join us on the 25th, fill out this form.
Note: We have secured some housing and hope to provide housing to everyone that needs it. You can request it by RSVP’ing and we’ll be in touch.
“Time to Panic” is the title of a recent opinion piece in the New York Times. One could argue it is way past time to panic, but the point is climate catastrophe is finally being discussed in the press, in legislative bodies and in public. Much of this new discussion revolves around the ideas of a Green New Deal.
The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames. Pacific hurricanes forced three million people in China to flee and wiped away almost all of Hawaii’s East Island. We are living today in a world that has warmed by just one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s, when records began on a global scale. We are adding planet-warming carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate faster than at any point in human history since the beginning of industrialization. In October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released what has become known as its “Doomsday” report — “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” as one United Nations official described it — detailing climate effects at 1.5 and two degrees Celsius of warming (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). At the opening of a major United Nations conference two months later, David Attenborough, the mellifluous voice of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” and now an environmental conscience for the English-speaking world, put it even more bleakly: “If we don’t take action,” he said, “the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” Scientists have felt this way for a while. But they have not often talked like it. For decades, there were few things with a worse reputation than “alarmism” among those studying climate change.
Discussions of climate change often talk about the consequences of a certain increase in atmospheric temperature. The article cited above includes the following graphic that makes it easier to visualize the consequences of rises in air temperatures. Note the x-axis (horizontal) begins at an increase of 1.5 degrees Centigrade (C) and ends at 3 C above pre-industrial baseline temperature.
The article continues:
Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable, for several reasons.
The first is that climate change is a crisis precisely because it is a looming catastrophe that demands an aggressive global response, now. In other words, it is right to be alarmed.
By defining the boundaries of conceivability more accurately, catastrophic thinking makes it easier to see the threat of climate change clearly.
While concern about climate change is growing — fortunately — complacency remains a much bigger political problem than fatalism.
The fact is, further delay will only make the problem worse. If we started a broad decarbonization effort today — a gargantuan undertaking to overhaul our energy systems, building and transportation infrastructure and how we produce our food — the necessary rate of emissions reduction would be about 5 percent per year. If we delay another decade, it will require us to cut emissions by some 9 percent each year. This is why the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, believes we have only until 2020 to change course and get started.
It is because more and more people are beginning to panic that the Green New Deal is getting so much attention, both for and against it.
Now is a unique opportunity to influence public debate and policies. It will require vast numbers of us to speak up for the Green New Deal. I know it often feels futile, but it is crucial for our Congressional representatives to hear from us.
The following, from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI). That web page includes a tool to help you create an email message to send to you Congressional representatives. In the Midwest we can talk to our governmental representatives about the opportunities the Green New Deal offers for expanding our leadership in wind energy, as one example.
Republicans – and even some Democrats – are spreading misinformation to derail one of the most incredible organizing opportunities we’ve seen to push for climate solutions we need – for us, our kids and our grandkids. The Green New Deal can: Create millions of living wage, non-polluting jobs. The proposal is calling for a federal jobs guarantee for all who want one. Transition our energy, transportation, and agricultural systems to be environmentally sustainable and good for local economies. Provide guaranteed benefits for all, such as Medicare for All, real gender pay equity, paid sick and family leave, and more. End all new fossil fuel extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure. But the Green New Deal resolution that was introduced in Congress last week was only a resolution. It was not a full bill with detailed policies. That’s the beautiful part. This resolution is a starting point. This is our chance – the people’s chance – to fight for the climate solutions we need to save the planet and save our communities. We’ve got to start organizing. Today we’re asking you to join the growing call – from the youth to the grandparents – demanding our elected officials support the Green New Deal resolution.
Many of us are old enough to remember, or have seen pictures of the “I Want You” posters used to recruit men for the military during World War I and II.
I’m thinking about that this morning as I think about where we are with the Green New Deal. “I (We) Want You” to speak up for the Green New Deal. We need you to talk with your family, friends and neighbors. Speak at city council meetings. Write letters to the editor and letters or visits to your Congressional and state representatives.
This is a critical time for your Congressional representatives to hear what you think about the Green New Deal (GND). The GND is seen as a threat by establishment politicians and corporate American, because it is. And the attacks on the Green New Deal are already widespread.
At this stage we need to point out that the Resolution for a Green New Deal ONLY specifies that a committee be created to begin work on the legislation that will be needed to make the Green New Deal happen.
It is easy to get discouraged by the dysfunction of our political processes, but that is one of the main goals of the Green New Deal. To return political and economic control to local communities. For this to happen, large numbers of us are going to have to re-engage, and speak up about the opportunities a Green New Deal will provide for us all.
As this diagram shows, the Green New Deal is about building a new vision of our economy and political processes.
This link takes you to a website that will help you write a letter to your Senators (a Senate vote is planned when Congress returns) asking them to support the Green New Deal.
Rolling Stone puts it well, “we sit at the nexus of protest organizing and electoral politics.“ We also sit at the nexus of embracing the one chance we have to avoid runaway global heating, or continuing to try to hide from increasing environmental chaos.
A truly beautiful world is possible—one without poverty or pollution, and with prosperity and dignity for everyone. Humanity has everything it needs to build that world in a single generation: billions of creative, hard working people, technology that already can allow us to make a comfortable living safely and sustainably, and unlimited energy from the sun that we can now harness to power that technology.
The obstacles to getting there are political, not technical. Entrenched, backward-looking political elites fight to keep the world as it is. An equally-powerful blocker is their reigning consensus—called neoliberalism or “the Washington Consensus”—that drives their thinking on economics, government, technology, labor and business. Over a period when multiple existential threats to life as we know it have emerged into plain view, the Washington Consensus has deliberately sought to paralyze societies to prevent them from acting collectively.
Finally a new consensus is rising. It is driven by a new generation of thinkers and leaders who recognize that governments and other public institutions have played a critical role every time a national economy has renewed and reinvented itself—not only by setting rules, but also by setting goals; not only by building infrastructure, but also by investing in new industries; not only by protecting rights, but also by materially correcting historic injustices.
New consensus thinkers are exploring how government and other public institutions can lead the transition to a green economy, close wealth and income gaps between groups, spearhead innovation and research, kick-start new high wage industries, and more.
For the past several years I’ve been studying about Indigenous people and their practices and beliefs. I’m convinced that Indigenous wisdom and practices show us how we can live in harmony with Mother Earth, and begin to tackle our environmental devastation.
I’ve been reading so many stories of the settler colonialists relentlessly claiming more and more land, and killing Native men, women, and children in the process. Owning land not being a Native concept, the tribal leaders were tricked into signing treaties that forced them off the lands they lived and hunted on. And then those treaties were broken. Native Americans had trouble understanding how white men could be so dishonest.
It is hard enough to find accurate accounts of those days in the mid 1600’s. Even those stories don’t usually speak of the numbers of Natives killed during those times. As the article cited above says, there is even a term for this, the “Great Dying in the Americas”, although I think the “Great Killing” would be more accurate. Another term is “major indigenous depopulation event.”
It is important to note that a large percentage of these deaths were caused by diseases the Europeans brought with them, that Native Americans had little or no defenses against.
As I started to see some of the statistics of the Indigenous genocide in the Americas, I was shocked. I began to ask white people how many Native Americans they thought had been killed in the United States. The people I asked were noticeably uncomfortable with the question, and the guesses were usually in the thousands. People didn’t seem to believe me when I talked about the numbers being in the millions.
Combines multiple methods estimating pre-Columbian population numbers
Estimates European arrival in 1492 lead to 56 million deaths by 1600
Large population reduction led to reforestation of 55.8 Mha and 7.4 Pg C uptake (Mha – Mega Hectares and Pg C is gross CO2 uptake)
1610 atmospheric CO2 drop partly caused by indigenous depopulation of the Americas
Humans contributed to Earth System changes before the Industrial Revolution
I try to imagine what 56 million people looks like. I found the combined populations of the 10 largest cities in the U.S. today is 26 million.
When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they caused so much death and disease that it changed the global climate, a new study finds. European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study. Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found. Columbus arrived in 1492, “CO2 and climate had been relatively stable until this point,” said UCL Geography Professor Mark Maslin, one of the study’s co-authors. “So, this is the first major change we see in the Earth’s greenhouse gases.”
Researchers analyzed Antarctic ice, which traps atmospheric gas and can reveal how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere centuries ago. “The ice cores showed that there was a larger dip in CO2 (than usual) in 1610, which was caused by the land and not the oceans,” said Alexander Koch, lead author of the study. A small shift in temperatures — about a 10th of a degree in the 17th century — led to colder winters, frosty summers and failing harvests, Koch said.
Now that a joint Resolution for a Green New Deal (GND) has been introduced in the House and Senate, political strategies are emerging. Republicans seem delighted to portray the GND as an example of extreme ideas related to climate change, and governmental overreach.
As said in the Rolling Stone article below, “We sit at the nexus of protest organizing and electoral politics.“
That is why this is a critical time for you Congressional representatives to hear what you think about the GND. This link takes you to a website that will help you write a letter to your Senators asking them to support the Green New Deal.
Many Democrats are saying they support the GND, while others, mostly from states with fossil fuel industries, find themselves in a difficult position. That is why I think these divisions within the Democratic party might eventually force conservative Democrats to form their own group, or join Republicans.
Earlier this week Senator Mitch McConnell said he would bring the Resolution for a Green New Deal to the floor of the Senate for a vote. His intention is to make it uncomfortable for some Senators to vote for the Resolution (e.g. those from coal producing, fracking or oil drilling states) and, he hopes, show how little support there actually is for a Green New Deal.
Following is from an article in POLITICO about Senator Schumer’s response.
Schumer said the “amazing irony” of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bringing up a resolution Republicans intend to vote against is a sign of why the American people hate Congress. He demanded the Kentucky Republican acknowledge the scientific consensus around climate change and commit the chamber to tackling the problem. “I challenge Leader McConnell to say that our climate change crisis is real, that it’s caused by humans, and that Congress needs to act,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “This is what two-thirds of the American people agree with.” Schumer’s clap back comes on the heels of McConnell saying his chamber would vote on the ambitious Green New Deal resolution floated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). That move is expected to show internal divisions within the Democratic caucus about how to tackle climate change with some lawmakers recoiling at the resolution’s aim of decarbonizing the U.S. economy within a decade.
In an interview with Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, Rolling Stone asks, “how did you go from an upstart group to suddenly putting ‘the Green New Deal’ on everyone’s lips?”
At Sunrise, our tagline is: building an army of young people to stop the climate crisis and create millions of new jobs for our generation. And we largely do this by exposing the urgency of the crisis, and relentlessly demanding the solutions we actually need to solve the crisis. We sit at the nexus of protest organizing and electoral politics. An example of protest organizing would be the action that we did at Nancy Pelosi’s office. And an example of the electoral organizing: This past summer we ran a massive youth program, 75 people full-time, from June through November, to get climate champions elected to office and to create a pro-climate-action majority in Congress and in statehouses across the country. We contacted a quarter of a million voters. And we got 19 out of our 30 endorsed candidates elected. We’ve been working to kick fossil-fuel funded politicians out of office, and working really hard to elect climate champions into the halls of power like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
A lot of people ask us, “How are you going to get a massive program like this passed in the next two years? That’s impossible!” Yes, we agree. That’s completely impossible. We’re not trying to push any type of legislation through in this Congress. But we need to start laying the groundwork. We need to start building the governing coalition that will actually come together and agree on the types of policies for what an actual plan around the Green New Deal could look like. Simultaneously, we need to think about how we’re going to put people into political office who will champion such a thing, and take out the people who will be major obstructionists to it. We cannot afford to do only one of those things. This plan cannot work if we don’t both build the governing power and also develop the plan far in advance. Both of those things need to be done simultaneously.
Getting to the Bottom of the Green New Deal: A new activist group, the Sunrise Movement, has partnered with rising Democratic stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push the ambitious policy into the national conversation, by TIM DICKINSON, Rolling Stone, 1/7/2019
Having a vote on what may be a polarizing issue among voters may force lawmakers to choose between appeasing moderates and their liberal base — among them, many progressive activists who supported the concept of a Green New Deal long before the bill was released. The resolution has amassed significant but by no means widespread support on Capitol Hill — there are 67 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate, including several current or potential presidential contenders: Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Republicans showed on Tuesday that they are ready to use the resolution as a political weapon against those Democrats.
As I also wrote yesterday, he played into the hands of the Sunrise Movement, the youth led organization behind the Green New Deal, that I am a member of. One of the main purposes of having Resolutions to create a Green New Deal ready for votes is to see who really supports the GND. Although most of us didn’t expect this opportunity to come up so soon, the Sunrise Movement embraces this as a chance to advance the ideas of the GND.
You get a sense of how well organized the Sunrise Movement is from our response to McConnell’s announcement Tuesday. A response was created, and a national call about the response was held last night. More than 900 were on the call to hear about #SenateSprint:
There were over 900 of us on the conference call last night. The plan, as you might expect, is to flood Senate offices with calls and visitors asking for support for the Green New Deal Resolution.
This vote is simply to call for the creation of a committee to work on legislation needed to make the Green New Deal a reality. It is not a vote on any specific implementation of the Green New Deal.
A groundswell of public support right now is really important.
The objective behind this seemingly odd move is apparently to force Senators to go on record about the Green New Deal (GND). Republicans and others have ridiculed many aspects of the GND, most commonly the cost, or the severity of the environmental threats the GND is designed to address, or how impractical the plan is.
The Green New Deal was also targeted by the Republican president at a campaign rally 2/13/2019:
“I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ of you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!” Trump said at a large rally Monday night in El Paso, Texas. “It would shut down American energy, which I don’t think the people in Texas are going to be happy with,” Trump said elsewhere in the speech, eliciting cheers from the audience of more than 5,000. “It would shut down a little thing called air travel. How do you take a train to Europe?”
Trump derided the Green New Deal – an economic stimulus concept designed to fight income inequality and climate change – as a “massive government takeover over that would destroy the incredible economic gains” the U.S. has made under his administration.
McConnell is unwittingly playing into the hands of the Sunrise Movement, the main organization promoting the GND. The primary goal of the resolution to create a GND is to create the pieces of legislation that will be needed to make the GND happen.
But the other goal for having resolutions to vote on is what is being called a ‘litmus’ test, putting politicians on record regarding their support for the GND. As soon as votes are held in the Senate and the House, the Sunrise Movement will know which candidates to support and those who need to be defeated.
As Josh Vorhees writes in SLATE, “the Green New Deal also presents a major opening for any progressive looking to stand out in a field (of Democratic presidential candidates) that continues to move left. If no one in the front-runner pack is willing to declare it their top priority, full stop, it would open the door for a lesser-known candidate to enter the picture.”
Here, though, is one thing it (GND) will do: make climate change a major issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s truly a breakthrough, considering that global warming got short shrift in the 2016 primary and no shrift in the last general election. Four years ago, the defining fault line ran so neatly between the two parties that it often went without saying: Democrats accepted the science of man-made climate change; Republicans, almost to a man, did not. As a litmus test, it was illuminating. But it also undercut the sense of urgency among liberals. Hillary Clinton had to suffer through the occasional heckling, sure, but she knew that the climate crowd would come around by Election Day given their legitimate fears (since confirmed) about what a climate-science-denying GOP president would do. The real test isn’t what candidates want in a perfect world; it’s what they’re willing to fight for in this one. In that regard, the Green New Deal also presents a major opening for any progressive looking to stand out in a field that continues to move left. If no one in the front-runner pack is willing to declare it their top priority, full stop, it would open the door for a lesser-known candidate to enter the picture. The 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is too young to run for president, but she’s not too young to play the role of king- or queenmaker among progressives. The plan’s political power lies very much in that holistic approach. It’s a cheat code to move past the either/or debate that tends to define the conversation on the left: Do you want to combat income inequality, or do you want to address climate change? The Green New Deal answers, simply, Yes. For years, the Republican Party has managed to shirk its responsibility to find climate solutions by refusing to concede there is any problem to solve. The Green New Deal flips that dynamic on its head by focusing on what else can be gained by addressing the problem, instead of what might be sacrificed. That alone will make it a conversation Democratic hopefuls are more eager to have—and primary voters more likely to pay attention to.
I had to stop and think yesterday when I read something about bipartisanship and the Green New Deal. I was shocked, actually.
The point was being made in the context of needing votes from both parties to pass legislation (if neither party has sufficient numbers to pass the legislation on its own).
These discussion are often nuanced, with valid points on both sides.
I know there will be immediate objections when I start to talk about what is correct vs what is wrong, and who is the judge of that. This is especially true when it comes to issues of personal and community values.
It was once possible to make arguments based on facts but the current political climate has been successful in persuading some that there are alternative facts.
To be specific, what shocked me was the argument that we need bipartisanship if a Green New Deal is going to be passed.
That is wrong.
That’s like suggesting a bipartisan plan to go to war. To make the plan bipartisan, one zone of the enemy’s territory would be designated a peace zone with no fighting allowed there.
That would be like suggesting certain corporations should be allowed to pollute, while the rest of us are doing the work of the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal (GND) calls for a complete mobilization of the country to switch to 100% renewable energy in a just manner, in one decade. This scope and urgency is our last hope for possibly preventing runaway global burning.
The reason the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats usually only engage with Democrats is because the Republican party continues to resist the extent of the climate chaos, how rapidly it is coming at us, and what we should to about it. Any Republicans who embrace the Green New Deal, and refuse to accept any fossil fuel money, would be supported.
One of the main goals of the Sunrise Movement is to campaign for the election of progressive candidates of either party who refuse fossil fuel money and support the GND. The Sunrise Movement might be campaigning for Republicans in some races, or for Democratic candidates different from those selected by the party leadership in certain primary elections.
As I recently wrote in Not Politics as Usual, this requirement to refuse fossil fuel money and support the GND might split the Democratic party. The Sunrise Movement is not going to endorse candidates, Republican or Democrat, who don’t. I don’t think politicians realize, yet, what a force the youth behind the Green New Deal represent.
1. We support candidates who, if elected, would represent a significant break with the status quo for their district. We want candidates who take major leaps forward in one or more of our policy priority areas (see below). This looks different in different parts of America.
2. We support politicians who will represent us, not the fossil fuel industry. Whether or not a candidate is willing to take money from the oil, gas and coal industry is a fairly clear litmus test of whose interests that politician is likely to represent.
In primary elections, we only endorse candidates who take the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge” to “reject contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.”
In general elections, we may support (but not endorse) a candidate who has not signed the pledge or has taken money from the fossil fuel industry because we recognize that an imperfect candidate could, in some cases, still represent a significant leap forward (see above) by defeating a powerful opponent with a long history of putting the interests of oil and gas executives first. No matter what, we will make this a major demand for general elections and push candidates on this issue.
3. No permanent friends. No permanent enemies. Our only permanent allegiance is to protecting our communities, our shared home, and our future. We have to make it clear to politicians that our power and support are earned, and not a given. Just because we have supported a candidate in the past doesn’t mean that we will continue to support them in the future if there emerges (or the movement puts forth) a viable candidate that is better aligned with and more committed to our values and policy priorities. https://www.sunrisemovement.org/political-engagement/
We are at a precipice. Our only hope is to embrace the ideas of a Green New Deal and implement them as soon as possible.
The Green New Deal began to attract national attention on November 13, 2018, when over 250 Sunrise Movement protesters staged a sit-in at Speaker Pelosi’s office. They were joined by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who later spoke about how nervous she was then. Eventually 51 protesters were arrested. On December 10th there were Sunrise sit-ins at Speaker Pelosi and Jim McGovern’s offices. Over 1,000 showed up with about 138 being arrested.
As noted at the end of this post, now that these Resolutions have been introduced in the House and the Senate, this week is the time to contact your congressional representatives to support the Green New Deal.
The House Resolution (H.RES.109)Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal was introduced 2/7/2019. The same day the same resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Ed Markey, S.Res.59 – This was referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.
Sponsor: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Committees: House – Energy and Commerce; Science, Space, and Technology; Education and Labor; Transportation and Infrastructure; Agriculture; Natural Resources; Foreign Affairs; Financial Services; Judiciary; Ways and Means; Oversight and Reform Last action: House – 02/07/2019 Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Science, Space, and Technology, Education and Labor, Transportation and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
This resolution calls for the creation of a Green New Deal with the goals of:
achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions;
establishing millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all;
investing in infrastructure and industry;
securing clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all; and
promoting justice and equality.
The resolution calls for accomplishment of these goals through a 10-year national mobilization effort. The resolution also enumerates the goals and projects of the mobilization effort, including:
building smart power grids (i.e., power grids that enable customers to reduce their power use during peak demand periods);
upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve maximum energy and water efficiency;
removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and agricultural sectors;
cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites;
ensuring businesspersons are free from unfair competition; and
providing higher education, high-quality health care, and affordable, safe, and adequate housing to all.
The following is from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
It (Green New Deal Resolution) emphasizes that frontline and vulnerable communities must not be harmed by the transition to a green economy, and specifically seeks to promote justice and equity for “indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhouse, people with disabilities, and youth.” Other economic goals are named, including rights to labor organizing, quality healthcare, good-paying jobs, housing, and access to essential resources like healthy food and clean water, among others.
FCNL welcomes such an ambitious plan, as the crisis of climate change requires ambition and urgent action. We are inspired and encouraged by the groundswell of activism, particularly youth-led engagement, that has recently coalesced around the need for bold action. An engaged and activated movement is necessary to ensure our government responds to the threat of climate change in a timely and effective manner. We appreciate the importance of legislators crafting policy at the speed and scale needed to address the problem.
On December 16, 2018, Bear Creek Friends Meeting approved the following Minute: Bear Creek Friends Meeting supports the idea of a Green New Deal, including the establishment of a House Select Committee for a Green New Deal.
Sunrise Movement: Operation Green New Deal Blitz
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey have introduced a Joint Resolution for a Green New Deal. If resolutions get enough cosponsors, they can become a major driver of the policy debate! If not, they can get lost in the political shuffle and fade into oblivion. That’s why from Feb. 11-13, we are going to show up in person at our Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and ask them to cosponsor the Green New Deal Resolution. If every representative gets office visits from dozens of their constituents, it will send shockwaves through the halls of Congress.
Those who know me, know I tend to jump all in for what catches my interest. With experience and age (in that order) I like to think I have learned some life lessons. One of the most important lessons I have learned, and forgotten, and learned again, is to try to discern what the Spirit is asking me to do. I’ve found that might not be what my mind was hoping for.
I’ve also worked on being more patient. This has been especially difficult for me because I have had a deep concern about the ever worsening destruction of Mother Earth all of my life (nearing 70 years now). One of the core Quaker and other religion’s beliefs is we must live our lives as expressions, examples of our faith. That others might change themselves as they see your witness. I often wondered why, then, others did not give up their cars as I had done. I had to learn patience, and remember what I wanted to happen as a result of this witness might not be what God had in mind.
It was becoming increasingly clear to me that we could not begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until we created a better economic system. One that focuses on the health and well being of everyone. One that embraces justice and sustainability.
The more I think about our broken economic system, the more sinister my thoughts become. How have we come to accept millions of people living in extreme poverty, living without adequate food, water, shelter, healthcare, safety or hope? How have we come to the point where African American men have been removed from society via incarceration at ridiculous rates for ridiculous offenses? How have we come to the point where private security firms and police from surrounding states can violently attack and brutalize Native American and other men, women and children who are merely peacefully praying for protection of water?
The rich and their corporations have forced millions into economic concentration camps. These camps don’t have physical walls, but are just as real as if there were walls enclosing, entrapping vast numbers of us.
I find the ideas of the Green New Deal (GND) to be really exciting because it recognizes the need to build a better economic system, as well as the framework for a plan to convert to renewable energy, and how quickly.
It forces us to face the reality of how much work needs to be done, and done very quickly, if we want to try to avoid runaway global heating (latest reports say 12 years).
It points out we already have the technological knowledge and experience to ramp up production of renewable energy systems. This will create millions of good, well paying jobs.
It offers a workable way to begin to address racial and economic injustices, by focusing on first bringing these benefits to the communities that have been most negatively impacted.
My experiences with the Green New Deal have included joining the Sunrise Movement (“Together, we will change this country and this world, sure as the sun rises each morning.”). The Sunrise Movement is a youth-led movement of, largely, young people that has done an astonishing job of creating an excellent outline for a Green New Deal and a rapidly growing movement to support it. The Sunrise Movement contributed to the successful elections of progressive political candidates in the last Mid-Term elections.
As I’ve been thinking about all these things, I came to realize the youth I’ve been able to spend hours with during online meetings, had created a Beloved Community, though I’m fairly sure few of them would put it in those terms. I was immediately touched by the way everyone was so patient and kind with each other. There was always a “thanks” after someone contributed something. If someone was having trouble expressing themselves, someone would always say, “it’s OK. Take your time.” Or, “that was my experience, too.” Or, most commonly, “awesome!”.
I’ve come to believe the power of the Sunrise Movement comes from, and will continue to come from these Beloved Communities or “Sunrise Hubs” that are growing in cities and towns across the country.
That leads me to believe what those of us who are older, but have spiritual experience, might have to offer is our spiritual support. In my experience, it is really important to wait until you are asked to speak about your spiritual experiences. Its also best to be very careful about what assumptions you might be making. You first have to have a connection with someone before you can begin to have a serious discussion about spirituality.
So, I hope those of you who have spiritual experience will think about how to be aware of opportunities to begin to share some of that experience, if you aren’t already. (As an example about making assumptions, I almost made the mistake of assuming whoever reads this doesn’t already know this, or had some of these experiences.) As my experience, and the following quotes say, faith leaders need to go where the youth are. We need to closely observe and learn what the youth are teaching us. This is the attitude I hope you will bring to these situations, that you are present to observe and learn, not lead.
The video at the end of this is about how a Quaker group supported us as we walked during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March. I learned a lot about spirituality from those I was on the March with and from those who joined us remotely (story in the video).
“What many of the clergy interviewed in this book realized in the course of the Ferguson protests was that rather than sitting back in their sanctuaries and waiting for the young people to seek out the church for guidance or leadership, it was the church that needed to go out and meet the young people where they were, joining them shoulder to shoulder, on the streets, in the struggle for justice. Equally important, the clergy did not go out there expecting automatically to lead or be listened to simply by virtue of being clergy. They understood that these young protestors were already leaders who were accomplishing extraordinary things, and that they needed allies in the clergy more than they needed the clergy to act as their leaders. At the same time, by meeting these young leaders where they were and being their allies in the truest sense of the word, these clergy were able to use their gifts, experience, and networks to complement and elevate the gifts and experience of the young activists.”
Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community Kindle Edition by Leah Gunning Francis
“Throughout my life, it has been an honor to watch my elders make medicine in their mouths and feed the world with their tender sacred speech. Following their example, I want to share the words that make waterfalls, lakes and rivers, and offer some medicine to those who are wondering how we will continue living when the Earth that sustains our lives is so damaged. What I share here, far from being my own creation, is ancient memory that belongs to all of us. In speaking about the gifts of my elder, I do not want to impress anyone. My intention is to share the spiritual depths of a culture that creates individuals like my tayta, ones with a real capacity to have an influence on the health of the Earth. I am one of those who believe all of humanity can regain an ancient way of being that allows us to talk to our Mother Earth to resolve dangerous imbalances of the environment under her guidance. The state of humans and the state of the Earth are completely intertwined, and the full recovery of the best of our human nature will be the healing of Nature.”
Deer and Thunder; Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World, Arkan Lushwala
The following video talks about the ways faith played a role during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, September, 2018.