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The Green New Deal, An Idea Worth Voting For.
The Green New Deal is a policy proposed by Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein. The policy is basically a progressive dream that by no means are new ideas. What makes it so bold is it does it all at once. Many write it off as an impractical leftist utopia, expected from a party that finds itself left of the commonly accepted left party.
According to the Green Party website "The Green New Deal is a four part program for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal will provide similar relief and create an economy that makes our communities sustainable, healthy and just"
The website also lists four pillars of the Green New Deal.
1. Economic Bill Of Rights - A list of seven rights for American citizens Including rights to healthcare, employment and a living wage.
2. Green Transition - Promoting green jobs and business to transition America into a green energy infrastructure by the year 2030.
3. Real Financial Reform - A wide range of reforms including breaking up to big to fail banks, 90% tax on Executive bonuses for bailed out banks and reinstating Glass-Steagall.
4. a Functioning Democracy - Revoking corporate citizenship and enacting a voters bill of rights that deserves its own article.
Are you concerned about climate change?
Do you think a plan as ambitious as the Green New Deal is needed to combat climate change?
If made into law it would be the most ambitious economic policy in a lifetime and the most proactive environmental policy in American history. The proposal has many supporters including some Democrats, who have long been supporters of many of the issues the proposal covers. But at the same time the proposal also has many detractors. Especially on the right who claim it to be too ambitious, expensive, unnecessary and impractical.
But things are happening on this planet everyday. Things that makes the Green New Deal not only seem like a practical political set of policies, but a necessary act in a battle just outside our own back doors. A battle we have ignored for too many years. This policy could not only get people back to work, this policy could save our planet and our lives.
Over the past few weeks a lot of attention has been focused on a grassy patch of prairie land, where the cannonball and Missouri rivers meet in southern North Dakota. Far away from what most people reading this article would consider civilization, is the Camp Of The Sacred Stone. A sacred (hence the name) meeting place of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
All the fuss is over an access pipeline set to run from North Dakota to Illinois. This pipeline is inching closer and closer to completion along its carefully orchestrated route. Which happens to cross the cannonball river at the Camp Of The Sacred Stone. Like we mentioned before and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation mentioned when they named the place The Camp Of The Sacred Stone, The Standing Rock Sioux Nation believes the land and the rivers next to it are sacred. So sacred they are ready to defend it.
But that's not where this story takes place, well not where all the story takes place. Over a thousand miles away from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation reservation, is Shelby county Alabama. This mostly pine wooded typical southern county just south of Birmingham Alabama, is the center of an environmental disaster. The likes of which is exactly what the Standing Rock Sioux Nation's worst fears are for their own land.
Cutting three feet under the ground through Shelby county is Colonial Pipeline's Line 1. The gasoline pipeline which pumps 1.3 million barrels of sweet gasoline a day, runs from refineries in Houston Texas across the southeastern united states. Where it fills tankers which fill the wells at gas stations in places as far away as New York City. Nearly 40% of the gasoline consumed on the eastern coast of the United States flows through the pipes of line 1.
336000 barrels of gasoline leaked through the soil and into the groundwater as well as ponds and streams. No doubt leaving a lasting effect on plant and wildlife in the area for many years to come. 700 men are working in shifts around the clock to dig up the pipe, stop the leak and restore service. But Shelby county Alabama is still only a part of the story.
About two hours drive east from Shelby county Alabama along interstate 20 is Atlanta Georgia. Not a grassy field or a large stretch of pine. With a population of 5,522,942 people Atlanta is the ninth largest metropolitan city in the United States. Nicknamed the "Empire City Of The South", Atlanta is a former Olympic host city. Truly a world class city center.
But this week Atlanta known as the "City Too Busy To Hate" has been brought to a halt and no there is not two inches of the devils white snow on the ground. Atlanta has an addiction and it just lost its fix. Atlanta is running out of gasoline and cars are wrapping around gas stations that still have some left.
Atlanta is a driving city. There is public transit provided by M.A.R.T.A (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) but it is under funded and covers only a small area for such a large spread metroplex. Atlanta also has a street car that only covers a few blocks of the downtown business district. The primary way Atlantans commute is by car. When the gas runs dry this spells disaster for the city and the over five million people who live in or around it.
The gas shortage goes beyond not simply being able to find gas. Stores could run out of supplies waiting on shipments. Cars are running out of gas on highways and interstates, causing potential accidents and disrupting the flow of traffic at a time when gas needs to be conserved. Employees miss work and services in many industries are disrupted. The price for goods go up as the price to get it to the store goes up.
These three places only connected physically by an ageing system of roads and bridges, are also connected in a symbolic way. They represent what could, has and is happening when such a large and advanced society depends so heavily on a substance that is poison to the planet (the only known to be capable to support life) we live on.
The planet is invaded by the side effects of fossil fuels everyday. The water supply is tainted by the runoff of fracking in big cities like Dallas and Ft Worth in Texas or small towns like Dryden in upstate New York. The air is compromised by billowing smokestacks burning 24/7 in oil refineries, coal burning power stations and the exhaust from cars sitting in traffic across the country. The land is decimated as whole mountains are stripped away to find new veins of coal in mines that have been considered tapped for years.
Every year the world's average temperature raises a little bit more. Politicians, actors, scholars, academics and musicians, all talk up a storm. They give pleas in acceptance speeches. They write essays, books, articles like this one and sometimes really good songs. All with the same message shouted at the top of their lungs "We need to do something, NOW!". Sadly every year nothing gets done.
This is an issue actually agreed upon by most americans. according to Gallup 67% of Americans worry about climate change. Given the inaction by our leaders to do anything on this issue, it's an easy assumption to make that the profit driven fossil fuel industry has a tight hold on lawmakers in the united states.
The only way we can actually change anything is to change everything from the bottom up. The Green New Deal is the only policy proposed by any party to combat this issue at every level. Failure to not do anything could hold uncertain risks to our economy, environment and safety. This might be the last great chance for America and maybe even the world.
Let's just hope most voters even get to know this chance exists.