On March 28, four high school students from West Sonoma County presented the case for a Green New Deal to the Windsor Democratic Club. These students are part of a group called Youth vs. Apocalypse. Because of an increase in greenhouse gases, the earth is warming rapidly. Older generations have not taken adequate actions to minimize climate change, but our students have decided they can’t leave this cause to others. They feel that they must rally the rest of us so their generation and the earth doesn’t suffer an apocalypse.
U.N. and U.S. scientific reports point to 2030 as the critical point. If we can’t sharply reduce carbon from the atmosphere, as well as methane and other gases, we will see and experience far more fires, floods, droughts, disastrous storms, and widespread damage to homes, cities, forests, and agricultural lands. Widespread tragedies will increase dramatically, including, globally, famine, mass migration and civil war.
A resolution for the Green New Deal, recently passed in the House of Representatives but defeated in the Senate, combines the fight against climate change with 1930’s New Deal type programs which put people back to work during the depression. Currently, most workers in this country have seen their wages stagnate while the wealthy and top income earners have taken ever increasing percentages of national income.
To combat this, the Green New Deal would employ millions of workers to develop an infrastructure based on sustainable energy, renewable sources, retrofitting older buildings, innovative methods for new construction, and better transportation and agricultural systems. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions to a net increase of zero.
Because many communities suffer now from the impacts of global warming and/or environmental degradation, the Green New Deal will focus on them as well as other communities which may not be seriously impacted yet but must climate-proof themselves. For sufficient economic well-being, workers throughout the country under the Green New Deal must be paid high enough living wages to allow them to raise families, so their futures are hopeful rather than depressing.
In answer to the question whether we can afford the Green New Deal, young people say we can’t afford not to do it. Each day we don’t act makes the ultimate cost even greater.
Next up is a Climate Action Night on Wednesday, April 24th, from 4:30 – 7:15 pm at the Santa Rosa Junior College Student Center, cosponsored by the SRJC Student Sustainability Committee, 350 Sonoma and the Center for Climate Protection Youth Advisory Board. Here the public will learn about how to advocate for effective climate legislation with state and local elected leaders in attendance.
The Windsor Democratic Club has decided to take up the cause as well. The club will hold a Green New Deal Town Hall on April 25, focusing on local and county measures that could be taken now and in the near future. To promote the town hall, the club will staff a table at the Earth Day and Wellness Fair on Sunday, April 14, from 10 to 1, at the Windsor Town Green, alongside the Windsor Farmers Market.
— Rick Massell (707-696-9364)