I have heard broad support from friends and colleagues for the “Green New Deal,” which is a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representa- tives that calls for significant changes in our economic structure to combat the effects of climate change. It aims to bring forth an economy built on sustain- ability and waste neutrality that also brings millions of new jobs. This framework, while broad, is ideal, but it is time we talked about the specifics of what a Green New Deal would actually look like. We can’t just sit around and say “climate change bad, Green New Deal good.” As this is at the moment just a framework, we have to envision the specific policies we want from it.
I have a few specific proposals to build off of this framework, the first of which is the creation of a National Infra- structure Development Admin- istration (NIDA). It is not new knowledge that significant infra- structure such as roads, bridges, water treatment facilities, energy systems and public transporta- tion are decades overdue for major improvements, and that this hurts the economy in the long run. The political process of contracting and of enacting pork barrel leg- islation is painfully slow and costs significant amounts of money. It is time we consider an authority that seeks to employ thousands if not millions to improve and main- tain our infrastructure, to become sustainable and promote economic growth and cooperate closely with communities as well as state and local governments.
It is not widely known in the U.S., but our recycling system is vastly inefficient and not really environmentally-friendly; many different companies in the U.S. have vastly different policies on recycling, a lot of the material is shipped to other countries which burns large amounts of fossil fu- els, many items that people recycle aren’t recyclable. I propose we cre- ate a government-owned recycling corporation, a National Recycling
Corporation (NRC). Its goal would be to create a more streamlined re- cycling process and develop recy- cling facilities in the country. This would employ large numbers of people, give back material in good condition to companies after clean- ing and sell it back at a rate lower than the company would buy new material. It can also work with companies to create new material for buildings or other items and make revenue that way and (possi- bly) require small fees for business- es or houses that use the bins and services. Also, a national compost- ing component should be created to process used food into low cost compost for farmers. We should also consider having the U.S. De- partment of Agriculture assist in helping farmers employ more cost efficient and environmentally -friendly methods such as polycul- tures of crops and move away from industrial agriculture which has been harmful to workers, the envi- ronment and public health.
I also propose we create a sys- tem of low- or no-interest green loans or grants through the feder- al or state governments. Business- es, farmers, local governments and homes that want to make their spaces more environmentally- friendly can apply for a green loan with a description of how they will use the money to make their opera- tions or homes more sustainable.
Future presidents should establish at the executive level a National Environ- mental Policy Coun- ciltoadvisethemon environmental issues and it should be com- prised of scientists, experts and government agency leaders to enact new regulations and to pro- pose new legislation to Congress on a wide array of environmental issues and how they affect certain populations.
These are a few of the ideas I have of what a Green New Deal would look like. Of course, I be- lieve some others out there may disagree or have more ideas. I think it is time we discuss the nu- ances of a Green New Deal for our future.