In 2018, young Sunrise leaders put the Green New Deal on the map and permanently changed the conversation on climate policy in this country. The political establishment is scrambling to keep up with thousands of people across the country who are eager to take action and bring the promise of the Green New Deal into reality. The Koch Brothers are desperately trying to erode the incredible, bipartisan support that poll after poll shows for the Green New Deal.
That’s why we’re launching Road to the Green New Deal, 8 massive tour stops and over 100 town halls all across America. Our goals:
- Give every single American an opportunity to hear from their neighbors about how the Green New Deal will improve their lives.
- Counter the lies coming from the Koch Brothers and their allies.
- Grow our movement to transform the 2020 election into a referendum on climate action. MORE
Scientists have understood for decades that climate change is happening and that humans are causing it; recent studies, including a landmark report in October from the U.N., have shown that things are even worse than we thought. Global temperatures have already risen 1°C since the Industrial Revolution; if the planet heats by much more than an additional half a degree, we could see some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change, including the death of the world’s coral reefs and the inundation of entire island nations.
That reality has resonated with the public: more than 70% of Americans now understand that climate change is taking place, according to data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. A February NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that two-thirds of Republicans believe their party is “outside the mainstream” on the issue.
Into this new political reality came the Green New Deal–equal parts policy proposal and battle cry. The resolution, introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, calls for the U.S. to launch a broad “mobilization” to decarbonize the economy while tackling a slew of other social ills. The response was mixed. People loved it. People loathed it. Others were confused by it. But in D.C., where climate has long been relegated to third-tier status, lawmakers could no longer avoid the issue.
Sunrise Movement activists call for a Green New Deal on Capitol Hill
Aurora Samperio—NurPhoto/Getty Images
Grassroots group calls on party to commit to decarbonising UK economy within a decade
The US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inspired Labour members to form the Green New Deal group. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Labour members have launched a grassroots campaign to push the party to adopt a radical Green New Deal to transform the UK economy, tackle inequality and address the escalating climate crisis.
The group, inspired by the success of the Sunrise Movement and the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US, is calling on Labour to commit to radical action to decarbonise the UK economy within a decade.
A spokesperson for the group, called Labour for a Green New Deal, said: “Climate change is fundamentally about class, because it means chaos for the many while the few profit.
“We’re starting a campaign to put the labour movement at the forefront of a green transformation in Britain, and to build grassroots support for a Green New Deal within the Labour party.”
The campaign is calling for a region-specific green jobs guarantee, a significant expansion of public ownership and democratic control of industry, as well as mass investment in public infrastructure. MORE
Sunrise Movement activists are planning roughly 100 town halls and a 10-stop nationwide tour.
The Green New Dealers are going local.
Sunrise Movement, the youth-focused climate justice nonprofit whose protests late last year helped spawn the Green New Deal, is planning to expand its upcoming 14-stop tour of the United States into a nationwide campaign with roughly 100 town hall meetings organized by its swelling ranks of local chapters, the group told HuffPost.
The events are aimed at drumming up support for the Green New Deal by explaining the local benefits of a sweeping national industrial plan to zero out greenhouse gas emissions and reduce poverty. The tour will include 10 big-ticket stops in cities including Boston; Des Moines, Iowa; and Paradise, California, which became ground zero for the state’s deadliest wildfire in history last year.
Members of Congress, activists and scientists are expected to speak at the events. A Sunrise Movement spokesman declined to confirm whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the authors of a joint resolution on the Green New Deal, would attend. MORE
The nationwide rally for gun laws takes place March 24. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
I was asked last week for International Women’s Day who was inspiring me in 2019. My answer was a 16-year-old Swedish girl. If you don’t know the name Greta Thunberg, she’s the schoolgirl behind the fast-growing student movement, supporters of which are striking every Friday to highlight how much our governments are effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and humming every time anyone asks what we’re doing about our growing environmental crisis.
The American movement Sunrise is on the same track. Students are leading the way in challenging their congresswomen and men on their environmental records and commitments. It’s easy to roll your eyes and talk about how that won’t change anything, but in the age of global instant communication, individuals have more clout than ever. Arguably, the Parkland survivors and March For Our Lives organisers have done more to highlight gun violence and hold lawmakers to account than decades of failed policies. MORE
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the main champion of the Green New Deal proposal. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about the (new) Green New Deal. It’s an ambitious plan to make America carbon-neutral — as well as more equitable — in a mere 10 years.
The Ocasio-Cortez resolution lists a number of objectives in addition to carbon neutrality such as universal health care and stronger rights for workers.
Some view this “green intersectionality” as damaging to the fight against climate change. They argue that these other policy goals are irrelevant, costly and will weaken support for the plan. Others suggest, to the contrary, that it is politically savvy to link issues that voters clearly care about to the fight against climate change.
Student activists with the Sunrise Movement occupy Nancy Pelosi’s office in November 2018, when she was House Minority Leader, to demand that she and the Democrats act on climate change. Shutterstock
Author and activist Naomi Klein has eloquently argued why both sides miss the point. The prevailing view places issues into silos, and fails to grasp that the crises of inequality and environmental devastation are “inextricably linked — and can only be overcome with a holistic vision for social and economic transformation.” MORE
Democrat Rep. Antonio Delgado speaks to supporters at a watch party in Kingston, N.Y., after defeating incumbent Republican John Faso on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP
CALIFORNIA SEN. Dianne Feinstein may feel like she was treated unfairly by young activists who have hammered her for not backing the Green New Deal resolution, but she has plenty of company. In upstate New York, Utah, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, voters who feel a much greater sense of urgency than their elected officials have been reacting furiously to politicians who say that the attempt to turn the fossil fuel-based economy around in the next 12 years simply isn’t realistic.
Rep. Antonio Delgado, the freshman from New York’s 19th District, was pressed repeatedly by constituents over his half-hearted support for the effort. He doesn’t support the Green New Deal, he told constituents at a town hall on February 16, though he noted that he backed certain aspects of the bill. Delgado said that he’s more interested in solutions that address the issues around climate change that can be solved now and that the bill as written does not sufficiently lay out a path for that kind of approach to the inevitability of climate crisis.
Democrats, especially freshmen in the House, are having to face voters in their districts who find the lack of action on climate change to be a major issue for the new representatives. And those complaints aren’t coming from blue districts — as with Delgado, freshmen Democrats from purple districts are facing resistance from constituents over their hesitancy to endorse progressive programs. Republicans aren’t immune either. On Monday morning, roughly 250 young activists from the Sunrise Movement occupied the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with 35 getting arrested. MORE
The term “neoliberalism” isn’t new. It was coined in 1938 at a meeting in which social democracy was framed as analogous to a collectivism like Nazism and communism. But neoliberalism today is a conundrum: its slimy tendrils claw into everyday Western life, yet it is so anonymous that we seldom even recognize it as a pervasive ideology. Neoliberalism pushes deregulation on economies around the world, forces open national markets to trade and capital, and demands that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatization.
Neoliberalism’s anonymity is its essential symptom and cause of its power, and the Sunrise movement is seeking to make the consequences of neoliberalism transparent in society. You know Sunrise, even if you can’t immediately grasp why. They’re the cohort of primarily college-aged activists who are promoting the Green New Deal. You saw pictures of their sit-in in front of Nancy Pelosi’s congressional office in the news and on 60 Minutes when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined them in support of objectives to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a decade.
The earth is on track for 3-4 C degrees of warming, which would cause sea level rise of several feet and make extreme weather more frequent and dangerous, among other consequences. The next 4 to 12 years are critical if the world wants to limit that warming. Waiting to reduce greenhouse gases will make the challenge harder.
The Sunrise Movement is working to build a cohort of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across the US, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. MORE
How twelve young activists forced a bold idea into the mainstream of the Democratic Party
Illustration by Alex Nabaum
On November 13, 2018, just days after Democrats reclaimed the House of Representatives, dozens of young activists filed silently into Representative Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill. Some sat down along the walls of the office, unfurling banners and forming a circle. Others stood in the center and told their stories.
A teenage woman from Northern California began, “There were fires at my school. There was ash falling from the sky for a week.” She and her companions in the Cannon Office Building that day carried manila envelopes containing pictures of the people and places in their lives that climate change would destroy—or already had.
On one side of the envelopes were the words “Dear Democrats”; on the other, “What Is Your Plan?” After some time, they began to sing—the protest songs of another generation, like “Which Side Are You On?,” and new ones they’d written themselves, about waters rising up and people rising, too. Their voices echoed down the marble halls.
“The whirlwind” evokes something visceral about what it feels like to be involved in a wave of political upheaval. It disorients, defies gravity, upends things and leaves them in a new place.
Within weeks, their ambitious demand for a “Green New Deal” to decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2030 and provide a green job to anyone who wants one was on the lips of every congressional staffer, cable news reporter, and progressive candidate for president in the country. MORE
The original image by Dominik Dancs/Unsplash
It may be a bigger public investment programme than the Marshall Plan or the moon-shot, but thanks to US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the young people who back her, it may just get through. As an answer to climate change, the Green New Deal is the best humanity has right now. Which means that South Africa could reap the benefits too.
“If everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame,” said Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg at Davos two weeks ago. “And someone is to blame.”
Was this a veiled reference to Nathaniel Rich’s novella-length article “Losing Earth,” in which The New York Times Magazine took the unprecedented step of devoting an entire issue to climate change, ultimately blaming our collective failure to avert its worst effects on “human nature”?
Perhaps. Since rising to prominence in August 2018, the same month that Rich’s piece was published, Thunberg had drawn the attention of climate celebrities who appeared to despise the blamelessness hypothesis as much as she did. Chief among these was the journalist and filmmaker Naomi Klein, who’d laid into Rich for employing the “royal we” in place of the easily identifiable individuals that had been behind the massive increase in carbon emissions since the late 1980s — the fossil fuel executives and their plutocrat enablers, to be specific.
Back in November 2018, Naomi Klein wrote in The Interceptthat the Green New Deal “is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out”.
She then added: “If the world’s largest economy looked poised to show that kind of visionary leadership, other major emitters — like the European Union, China, and India — would almost certainly find themselves under intense pressure from their own populations to follow suit.” MORE