By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief
Another deal has made its way to capitol hill, this one being called the New Green Deal. According to gelfny.org, this deal has the goal of converting our current fossil fuel economy into an environmentally friendly economy and adding an Economic Bill of Rights.
Its basis arose from former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, which he started to help end the Great Depression and bring more relief to the poor.
Green Party member Howie Hawkins went into detail about what this deal entails.
“For the Green Party, it means realizing the Economic Bill of Rights that President Roosevelt called for in his last State of the Union address in 1944. It would have been the fulfillment of the original New Deal. FDR called on Congress to enact legislation to guarantee all Americans the right to a living-wage job, an income above poverty, decent housing, comprehensive health care, and a good education. We call it the Green New Deal because investing in a transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2030 will provide the sustainable economic foundation to provide these economic rights,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins described the inadequate funding given to protect the environment.
“Funding for environmental protection is grossly inadequate. For example, of the over 80,000 chemicals on the market, only 200 have been tested for safety. Environmental protection is under-funded because corporate special interests have too much influence over Congress and the President through campaign donations and lobbying,” Hawkins said.
The funding would come from numerous places, according to Hawkins.
“It should come from a combination of progressive and ecological taxes, government money creation, and cuts in military spending. The progressive taxes should be on corporate profits and personal income, wealth and estates. The ecological taxes should be on carbon emissions, other pollution, resource extraction and land values. The government should use its constitutional power under Article One, Section Eight to create money and spend it into the economy for public purposes. It should also cut military spending to invest a peace dividend in a clean energy revolution to address the immediate security threat of global warming,” Hawkins said.
Green Party member Mark Dunlea stressed the importance of this deal becoming legitimate.
“The future of life on the planet depends upon it. It would save live on the planet. That includes animals, insects, plants, trees, fish, the ocean,” Dunlea said.
Hawkins also weighed in on the importance of the Green Deal.
“It is literally a life or death issue. We have to bring back atmospheric carbon equivalents to below 350 parts per million and keep the climate in the interglacial Holocene temperature range of the last 12,000 years in which agriculture and human civilization developed,” Hawkins said. “If we don’t, by 2050 we will face mass extinctions and ecosystems collapse, failing agriculture, widespread hunger and poverty, hundreds millions of climate refugees, and escalating social conflict and wars for what’s left. By 2100, acidification of the oceans due to atmospheric carbon dissolving into the oceans, could cause the extinction of phytoplankton, which produce two-thirds of atmospheric oxygen and thus cause the suffocation and extinction of terrestrial animals, including humans.”
Some argue that the bill is too extreme, but Dunlea feels the repercussions of not making these changes are worse, saying, “Extinction of the human species is too extreme.” Hawkins shared a similar belief to Dunlea.
“What is really extreme is to sacrifice the young people coming up now to the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry,” Hawkins said.
Senior AP Environmental Science student Liz Roseman feels that we also need to take better care of the environment.
“We only have one earth, so we need to take care of it,” Roseman said.
Green Party members will continue to work to spread this deal, even though the plan is frozen currently, but recognize they are unlikely to get any movement in the federal government until after the 2020 election.