Backyard Talk

What’s Up with the Green New Deal?

By Maia Lehmann. The ever-tenacious Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her Green New Deal (GND) on February 7th amidst great anticipation. The non-binding resolution, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, sought to provide the United States with a comprehensive vision to combat climate change using a holistic approach. Excitement was widely felt by those who have been waiting decades to see public health, climate change, and environmental justice seriously addressed by federal legislation. But, what did Ocasio-Cortez’s plan actually lay out? And what’s happening to it now?
The goal of the Green New Deal (GND) was to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable power use by 2030. This objective was met by broad support from the American public, with 87.2% of citizens polled saying that they strongly agreed with the statement. Adapting the U.S. energy portfolio is an essential step, seeing as in 2017 petroleum, natural gas, and coal accounted for 77.6% of U.S. energy—a direct disconnect from what Americans say they want from their energy sector.
The 14-page GND begins with a preamble that describes the policy issues as seen by Ocasio-Cortez: one-part climate crisis, one-part economic crisis. The preamble is followed by five goals, 24 projects, and 15 requirements that intend to lay a framework for how to address these problems. Rather than laying out concrete steps however, the GND uses a broad brush to advocate for an energy efficient electrical grids, updating infrastructure, and overhauling the transportation sector. While critics say that it is ignoring the most integral questions, it is strategically opening a space for disagreement and discussion.
The GND faces plenty of hurdles, especially since it includes several social and economic oriented projects, such as, “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and disability leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” Whether you agree with these issues or not, including them could make the reality of passing the bill even more difficult than climate legislation is already. And the difficulty of climate legislation is highlighted by the co-sponsorship of Senator Markey, who was a leader on the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009. The 2009 bill had a much narrower focus but still failed to pass even when both houses of Congress and the presidency was held by Democrats. However, rather than letting that cast a shadow upon the GND, perhaps it speaks to the need for radical changes to the status quo. In fact, 69.8% of Americans polled supported the intertwined social and environmental goals. And due to the inseparable nature of these policy issues it may be advantageous to craft a vision of how they could be developed in tandem. If previous incremental policy efforts have failed, and the opinions of the public are not being reflected by our lawmakers, then it is time to embrace an innovative comprehensive approach.
On March 26th the Senate voted the resolution down in a vote of 57-0, with the majority of Democrats voting “present” in protest to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bringing the bill to the floor without hearings or debate. If anything, Senate Republican’s refusal to even discuss the most pressing issues of climate change demonstrate the necessity for dramatic policy change. The halt of the GND in the senate did not stall the zeal for the overall project of the GND. Representative Ocasio-Cortez is now refocusing her efforts by writing a series of small bills that will target both social and environmental issues in a more individualized method. The GND has successfully reinvigorated and rallied the efforts and public spirit for tackling the current climate crisis and provided a vision for what a sustainable and equitable America could look like. All of the Senate Democrats running for the presidency in 2020 have endorsed the GND, signaling that its vision will continue to permeate and inspire environmental legislation. This will not be the end of a green future that will support all of America.


Sign a Petition for the Green New Deal

It’s not news that the earth is dying.
Today, Senators Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released their resolution for the Green New Deal. This marks a huge step forward in the fight to stop the climate crisis and create millions of good jobs.
Now it’s up to us to make sure the Green New Deal continues to be a strong, sweeping plan that attracts tons of support from our elected officials. Add your name to the petition right now.
Today’s resolution presents a plan to transition America to 100% clean and renewable energy. It offers a just transition for all communities and workers who have been impacted by climate change, and a job guarantee with a family-sustaining wage for everyone in our society.
The Green New Deal has made it to the halls of Congress because of grassroots support in every corner of the country. We still have a long road ahead to pass the bold policies we’ve been fighting for, and I can’t wait to see what we will do together.
Click here to demand that your elected official support the Green New Deal.

Want to read the Resolution for yourself? Check out Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution here! 


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline

Thursday Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., are introducing a framework defining what they call a “Green New Deal” — what they foresee as a massive policy package that would remake the U.S. economy and, they hope, eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions.
Read more.

Backyard Talk

2019 – What Do Think Will Happen? Here’s some thoughts.

If you think the last two years were bananas, 2019 is going to be a real doozy.
My colleague, James Mumm at People’s Action Institute, wrote this insightful forward looking piece and thought I’d share it with you.  I spent the last few hours of 2018 thinking about what we need to do next year to defeat Trump and Trumpism. We played solid defense this year. We created a #PeoplesWave to take back the House and many states in the midterms. But Trump is still president and McConnell and the GOP have a stronger grasp on the Senate.
Here is what I know. Trump blames everyone but himself when things go wrong. Now that the economy is off the rails thanks to his erratic international and domestic actions, he is pointing fingers in every direction except where it belongs (squarely at himself).
Trump tries to act big because he feels small inside. His edifice complex will not bring him the love of his mother or father, nor the majority of the American people. Truth is, his world is very small. A shrinking circle of yes men and women, campaign rallies with diehard fans, and a chorus of Fox News right-wing extremists.
If you think the last two years were bananas, 2019 is going to be a real doozy. With an incoming Democratic majority in the House and Mueller’s investigation coming to a crescendo, the walls are closing in on Trump. His entire world is shrinking and that makes him panic.

  1. Trump will double down on anti-immigrant white nationalist populism.Trump is going to lash out with all the power of his office against immigrants, women, LGBTQ communities, people of color, low-income families. We will need to play ferocious defense against these attacks.
  2. The Trump 2020 campaign will swing into high gear and make us all fear that he could win again.I learned a hard lesson in 2016. Michael Moore and my mom both said that Trump was going to win. I scoffed. Well, I scoff no more. This could happen and it terrifies me (you too I bet).
  3. Trump’s instability and chaos will cause a recession.One year ago, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan rammed their tax scam through Congress. The result? Big corporations gave CEOs and investors one trillion dollars in the form of stock buybacks. The tax scam did not create jobs; it made millionaires and billionaires wealthier while creating a mountain of public debt that the rest of us have to pay off. Trump took a lot of unwarranted credit for the economy when it was booming. Now Trump will have to own the coming recession. And the next Democratic president will have to do something bold (see next prediction) to pull America out of a spiraling crisis.
  4. The word of the year in 2019 will be “Green New Deal.”This is a bold idea that Democratic presidential contenders will be wise to endorse. A Green New Deal that is 100% Just is a total winner. 100% Just means 100% renewable energy and 100% equitable for the communities of color and low-income communities on the frontlines of climate change. This could be the answer to how we save people and planet at the same time.
  5. Lightning will strike twice and the #PeoplesWave will continue with thousands of fearless progressive women, people of color and young people running for (and winning) local office. There are thousands of city council, county, school board, and more elections happening across the country next year. The country is changing from the bottom up and there is nothing that Trump and the GOP can do about that.