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Green New Deal offers hope for the planet

The Green New Deal was fully released by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) on Feb 7., 2019 and is supported by multiple senators including Kamala Harris (CA), Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Cory Booker (NJ). It is an ambitious and wide reaching resolution, with resolution being the keyword. By making the Green New Deal a resolution, it becomes a non-binding expression of the sentiments of its proponents. Unlike a bill, it does not have the force of a law; though it can be voted on and accepted, it is basically the equivalent of a strongly worded statement. 

However, this does not diminish its value as an important step in the right direction for addressing climate change. Some of the overall positions of the Green New Deal include the obvious dramatic expansion of the country’s renewable energy, ambitious clean transportation goals and an extensive economic stimulus package. The renewable energy overhaul calls for transitioning to renewables within 10 years of passing potential Green New Deal legislation that might come from this resolution. Under the transportation goals, the resolution proposes a radical overhaul of the country’s transportation infrastructure to severely reduce emissions, expanding electric car manufacturing and developing high speed rails. In the economic stimulus package, Green Skills worker training programs would take place to train those who lost their jobs in the non-renewable sector in new green energy. Social justice objectives such as high-quality health care would be a priority, and would focus on marginalized groups to “promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, de-industrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities and youth.”

These goals may seem slightly overwhelming and unrealistic, but they are something we must strive for. The objectives proposed in the Green New Deal are essential for illustrating what we must attempt to make happen in America in the next 10 years to address climate change and its economic consequences. Climate change is something that is felt all across America, including Ohio. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History reported, “Based on 100 years of climatic data and current climate change models, by the end of the century Ohio temperatures are projected to rise 7-12 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 6-14 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.” This increase will be devastating across Ohio for not only agriculture but  also will most likely increase flooding due to early ice melts on Lake Erie. We have a responsibility as the next generation of leaders to take action and advocate for proactive climate legislation.

At The College of Wooster, we have taken steps to lessen our carbon footprint and be advocates for green practices. While what we have accomplished is significant, we can still do much better. The Green New Deal serves as an important lesson that shows how we must approach climate change from all sectors. By using it as a guide, we could not only improve our renewable technology, solar panels and electric vehicles, but we can also improve support of green policies on campus that students will carry with them into the professional sphere. The Green New Deal may just be a goal, but it is an important step in the right direction for all of America.

Emmy Todd, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at ETodd22@wooster.edu.

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