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  • This video was made possible by the people who support me on Patreon.

  • In a video for the Intercept, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lays out an exciting vision of the future

  • by following a young girl Illeana: “Her first job out of college was with AmeriCorps

  • Climate, restoring wetlands and bayous in coastal Louisiana. Most of her friends were

  • in her union, including some oil workers in transition. They took apart old pipelines

  • and got to work planting mangroves with the same salary and benefits. Of course when it

  • came to healing the land, we had huge gaps in our knowledge. Luckily Indigenous communities

  • offered generational expertise to help guide the way.”

  • This snapshot of AOC's future is bright, but it's going to require work. And one

  • of the centerpieces of that bright future is a Green New Deal. An idea that has many

  • iterations and at least as many critics. Just looking at cable news it's hard to even

  • understand what the Green New Deal is. According to cable news, it seems like an impassable

  • piece of legislation that will destroy the world. Well, the Green New Deal will certainly

  • not destroy the world, and it definitely has large public support. So, today we're going

  • to go through what a Green New Deal proposes and why it's so important at this moment.

  • At its core the Green New Deal is an idea, a vision of a future. It's not one single

  • piece of policy that has to be passed through the United States congress, it's a framework

  • through which to understand how to transition our world from a climate crisis into a just,

  • equitable, and post-climate change future. In the U.S. the Green New Deal has coalesced

  • around a proposal championed by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey, but

  • there are hundreds of Green New Deal proposals around the globe tailored to specific countries

  • or municipalities as well as even more visionary frameworks like the Red Deal, which expands

  • upon the Green New Deal by centering indigenous liberation and environmental anti-colonialism.

  • The key idea between all of these Green New Deals is this: climate change is a massive

  • crisis that is both caused by and exacerbates economic inequality, racism, militarism, and

  • conflict. This means that addressing climate change necessitates addressing racism, militarism,

  • and inequality. Essentially, climate action must include intersectional analysis in order

  • to succeed.

  • This is a crucial shift in thinking within mainstream environmental and climate action

  • circles, which have historically been dominated by white folks and white supremacist thinking,

  • which often separates climate action from racial oppression, ableism, and economic injustice.

  • Indeed the sentiment that addressing systems of oppression in conjunction with climate

  • change will stymie climate action still runs rampant throughout the climate movement. Michael

  • Mann, a leading climate scientist expressed this opinion a year ago in Nature. He writes,

  • My worry is this. Saddling a climate movement with a laundry list of other worthy social

  • programmes risks alienating needed supporters (say, independents and moderate conservatives)

  • who are apprehensive about a broader agenda of progressive social change.” But he's

  • wrong. We've tried slow incremental technological and policy change for the last 40 years, and

  • there hasn't been much progress. We also know that this siloed neoliberal approach

  • to climate change doesn't work. French President Emmanuel Macron's gas tax is a perfect example.

  • Macron placed a tax on gas that disproportionately burdened poor and working class people, and

  • then turned around and lowered France's wealth tax by 70% as well as proposed capping

  • welfare benefits and pensions. The backlash that ensued was inevitable. Workers rose up

  • in anger, and the gas tax was a failure because it did what so many neoliberal policies have

  • done before it: it characterized climate action as a necessary evil that will increase the

  • cost of living for working people. These kinds of market-based, single-issue solutions then,

  • are not the answer. System change needs to happen to truly address the scale of the climate

  • crisis. The Green New Deal recognizes this reality and understands that the root causes

  • of climate change are the same as the root causes of many other struggles: capitalism,

  • imperialism, colonialism, and racism.

  • So then what would a Green New Deal look like? In the U.S. specifically, it needs to focus

  • on two concepts, abolition and abundance. Abolition in the sense that it needs to dismantle

  • networks of harm that have led to the myriad of crises we are now facing. Abolition of

  • fossil fuels yes, but also abolition of a carceral state that has enslaved Black Americans

  • for over 400 years. Abolition of a military that has destabilized whole countries and

  • fostered one of the most polluting industries in the world. And Abolition of a neoliberal

  • capitalist economy that allows for 3 people to own the same amount of wealth as 150 million

  • people. But, as prison abolitionist and geography professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore notes, “abolition

  • means not just the closing of prisons but the presence, instead of vital systems of

  • support that many communities lack.” Abolition, then, is much more about abundance than absence.

  • This is why the Green New Deal is important. Yes, it seeks to dismantle unjust and unsustainable

  • systems, but, unlike the multitude of other climate proposals, it seeks to replace those

  • violent systems with systems of what Naomi Klein callscare and repair.” These programs

  • look like guaranteed jobs for all that want them, guaranteed sustainable housing, investing

  • in art, electrified transportation, and caretaking economies, as well as continuously transforming

  • what the Green New Deal means by listening to those that have been at the frontlines

  • of environmental and systemic harm.

  • But Charlie! The Green New Deal will never happen! It's politically impossible! It

  • costs too much! Yes, creating a society based on a Green New Deal framework will take work,

  • but isn't that work worth doing? Political impossibilities become possible when there

  • are mass movements of people working against injustice. Look at the uprisings we're seeing

  • all over the world, asserting Black Lives Matter and that white supremacy must end.

  • There are concrete changes already happening because of these uprisings, and more still

  • to come. As for cost, yes it will cost money, but the alternative is much worse. One 2019

  • study says that climate change could cause the GDP per capita to drop by 7 percent worldwide

  • and 10.5 in the United States if the global economy continues on its current course. The

  • policy lead for the Green New Deal, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, lays out this idea plainly: “Do

  • we want to invest up front and use this moment and not just tackle climate change but to

  • make our economy more robust and better for people or do we just want to bleed money because

  • of inaction and never get that money back.” And our response to the Coronavirus shows

  • that we can spend the money necessary if we deem our situation a crisis. And climate change

  • is the biggest crisis humanity has faced. There are also relatively straightforward

  • ways to get that money: cutting the military budget, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and

  • taxing wealthy individuals and corporations. It is not only possible to do these things,

  • it is our duty to make our government spend money to protect and care for life instead

  • of violating it. So, as we look towards an uncertain future, and live in a present where

  • the hundreds of scientists from the IPCC are calling for vast structural changes within

  • the next 10 years, what other choice do we have than to fight hard for a Green New Deal

  • and much much more?

  • Hey everyone, Charlie here. If you've been watching Our Changing Climate for a while

  • or just stumbled across this video and are wondering how you can help me make more videos,

  • then consider supporting the show on Patreon. As an OCC patron, you'll gain early access

  • to videos, special behind the scenes updates, as well as a members only group chat. In addition,

  • each month my supporters vote on an environmental group that I then donate a portion of my monthly

  • revenue to. So if you want to support the channel or are feeling generous, head over

  • to patreon.com/ourchangingclimate and become an OCC patron. If you're not interested

  • or aren't financially able, then no worries! I hope you enjoyed the video, and I'll see

  • you in two weeks!

This video was made possible by the people who support me on Patreon.

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B1 US climate green abolition deal climate change climate action

Why we need a Green New Deal right now.

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    joey joey posted on 2021/07/03
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