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The Green New Deal, An Idea Worth Voting For.

Updated on September 19, 2016

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.


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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.


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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.


Georgians wait hours for gas.
Georgians wait hours for gas. | Source

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.

Mountain stripped for coal
Mountain stripped for coal | Source

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.


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    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 17 months ago

      What we need are advocacy groups it local communities who coordinate with other similar groups all over the country. They can talk with school officials, business owners and private citizens about the use of unbleached paper. By demonstrating enough public interest, advocacy groups could convince paper mills to test marketability. I'm confident that every Mill in the country would gladly abandon the toxic and expensive bleaching process if they could sell the bleach less paper. Having government force them out of business and having white paper imported from other nations is not right.

      This concept can apply to a multitude of Green ideas.

    • jrigdon profile image
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      Justin Rigdon 17 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      I can only think of campaign finance reform and cleaning house. Maybe even starting over.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 17 months ago

      I agree absolutely. We need government to make modern life safe and functional, but they do it poorly and charge us too much money for it. I wish that I had a solution for it but I do not.

    • jrigdon profile image
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      Justin Rigdon 17 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thank you, Setank Setunk. I do agree with some of what you said. But what I mainly focused on is the transportation and process of excavation involved with fossil fuels. I do agree there is more threatening the planet than just fossil fuels, but 385000 barrels of gasoline spilled in Alabama last week. A large city is dealing with the effects of not having the steady supply for just a few days and it's kind of telling of just how dependant we are. Its because of this I believe our dependency is a vulnerability.

      As for how well the government works I usually don't engage in this argument. But I am happy I have roads. I am happy knowing If my house was burning id have someone come help me put the fire out. People like to put up a wall and say the government can't do anything right. But the FDA is pretty successful at keeping e coli and mercury out of consumer foods. Do you really think without its existence we would have less mercury or e coli in consumer foods?

      The problem with the "don't let the government handle it" argument is, if not them then who? A corporation who only needs to answer to itself? We can already tell the almighty market will not fix this problem. What people forget is when they make that argument, they forfeit their role in their government. Though its a longshot and it would be met with many obstacles people can make change in government. There is no civic participation in corporations.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 17 months ago

      jrigdon, that was a marvelous bathroom comeback. It is true that FDR instituted some great progressive ideas. The problem is they were in the hands of government.

      Fossil fuel emissions are simply not a big problem. CO2 breaks down very quickly. Organic chemistry and plastics are the real fossil fuel problem. Plastic water bottles are the worst.

    • jrigdon profile image
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      Justin Rigdon 17 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      @HSchneider Thank you, couldn't agree more. A lot of talk is given about passing the buck on to future generations. Usually this argument is made in relation to the national debt. I view that problem as one that was created by the people complaining about it. If you worry about what you leave future generations, worry about if your grandchildren will even see clean running water. Will they know what it's like to see water without skimming off the top to get to it?

    • jrigdon profile image
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      Justin Rigdon 17 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      @lions44 No doubt it would take something unprecedented. The whole reason I endorsed the Green New Deal in writing is it's the only plan (i've seen) that acknowledges that it's going to take more than buying biodegradable trash bags and new light bulbs. Every part of our society will have to change to change the tide. We need changes in our government, our economy, Our financial institutions and corporations to even come close to the change in energy consumption we need. The solution may seem too far fetched but in reality it's the only solution taking the problem seriously enough.

    • jrigdon profile image
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      Justin Rigdon 17 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      @setank, FDR managed to take trips to bathroom without legs. Also one can argue without the infrastructure developed by the new deal, post war america would not of prospered so quickly or even would of been as successful in WWII. Also many of the things built by the WPA we still use today.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 17 months ago

      FDR's New Deal was a complete failure. Proof that the Government can not manage a trip to the bathroom. Look what happened when government was left to manage Social Security. Look how wasteful and expensive, and treatment prohibitive Medicare is. Imagine if this disaster was extended to the entire population. We would have an unmanageable 2 trillion dollar annual health care budget.

      I am all about the Green concept, and I do my part. It is just ludicrous to put this idea or any ideas in the hands of government.

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      Howard Schneider 17 months ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      We desperately need a major Green project in this country and the world to halt and reverse climate change. This is a mortal threat to us and our children and must be immediately addressed. Great Hub, Justin.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 17 months ago from Auburn, WA

      I'm not as optimistic that climate change can stopped. The damage is done and we need to prepare from a emergency management standpoint. More FEMA $$ (and at the state EM level) as well as an immediate change in building codes (no development along waterfronts). Also, surface water upgrades in our largest cities ASAP.

      The Green Jobs issue is a Catch 22. By its very nature, "being green" means using less with less energy being consumed overall. So naturally, you need less people. So there is no way for green jobs to actually replace high paying jobs in both manufacturing and energy. It really would take huge sacrifices to get a Green New Deal in place. I don't believe anyone is willing to sacrifice that much.

      Important topic.

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