When Reps.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib joined members of the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats right after the 2018 midterms in storming incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to demand nothing less than the wholesale transformation of unsustainable industrial systems into regenerative and equitable social and economic structures, few could have predicted just how rapidly and profoundly their action would shift the country’s political and moral ground.
The term “Green New Deal” had been floating around various progressive circles since 2007 when New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman first started using it as a moniker for a panoply of market-based climate solutions. As far back as 2009, the UN expanded the idea to “A Global Green New Deal” in a policy report that sought to connect economic recovery and poverty eradication with reduced carbon emissions and ecosystem degradation.
However, it wasn’t until that day in November 2018 when the promise of this modern version of the original New Deal — a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted in the 1930s by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to dig the United States out of depression — was catapulted onto the national stage.
Supported by a vast majority of Americans as an ambitious but viable blueprint to addressing an unprecedented climate emergency, the Green New Deal has become a rallying cry for a new generation and a litmus test for political candidates. It also has produced congressional declarations and policy proposals in the form of the Green New Deal Resolution and, in November 2019, The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act.
Introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) on February 7th, 2019, House Resolution 109 — Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal — has come as a much welcomed solution befitting the scale of the problem. While a non-binding document at this point, it lays out the goals, aspirations, and specifics for the United States to create the economic and societal transformation commensurate with the IPCC’s targets to avoid the most irreversible impacts of climate chaos. It has also led to a seismic shift in our collective imagination of what’s considered possible.
While The Art of the Green New Deal is committed to telling the stories that put people in the mindset of wanting to live “Green New Deal lives” regardless of official policy, we think it’s essential for the creative juices to flow in concert with the resolution as it evolves into concrete proposals and programs. Whether it’s to achieve electoral majorities needed to bring about Green New Deal legislation in the first place or to build support for the implementation of future projects, we find it useful to stay tuned in with the latest legislative developments, from the local to the global stages.
In its visionary essence, the Green New Deal Resolution strikes us as the perfect canvas upon which to paint. It’s worth reading over and internalizing in its entirety for its broad strokes that not only set ambitious physical goals like net-zero greenhouse gas emissions but to do it through “a fair and just transition for all communities and workers” while promoting “justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities.”
If you’re more of a visual person, we recommend watching the video below. It may just inspire some ideas and stories.