Save the Planet: Support AOC’s Green New Deal
The issue of climate change is, without a doubt, the most important issue of our time. The stakes are enormous: if we curtail our carbon emissions and convert the United States and the world to green and sustainable practices, our generation will get to live on the Earth the way we currently know it. If we fail, we’d be veering into a future where more severe storms, flooding, and heat waves would be common, along with the destabilization of ecosystems.
In short, the livability of many parts of the world hangs directly in the balance (including, lest we forget, many coastal areas in New York City and parts of the Capital Region). Thus, a solution to this climate emergency is a must, especially in a country like ours, where coastal populations vulnerable to storms and floods number in the tens of millions, if not more.
Up until recently, however, the outlook of domestic environmental plans seemed grim. With the election of Donald Trump, now the world’s most powerful climate denier, the United States became the only country in the world to openly defy the Paris Climate Agreement, and with attempts by the Trump White House to undermine environmental efforts piling up (including, horrifyingly, the appointment of noted climate-denier William Happer to a White House climate panel), the US environmental situation may get worse before it gets better.
Better it may get, though, especially if Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has her way.
On February 7, Cortez, along with Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass), proposed what environmentalists could consider a dream come true: The Green New Deal. The details, so far at least, are vague, but the aspirations of the proposal are anything but. If anything, the bill reads like an environmental activist wish list.
It calls for “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions,” to be achieved through, among other measures, “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States” to be more energy efficient, “Overhauling transportation systems” with investments in public transportation, electric car charging stations, and high-speed rail, and making all energy produced and used in the US renewable.
To say this is ambitious and far-reaching would be an understatement, but that’s the point. The climate crisis is an extreme situation that demands a solution of this suitably extreme magnitude, and the proposal put forward in The Green New Deal, in its promises to completely reshape American energy and transportation infrastructure, is exactly that solution.
The environmental benefits of this, then, are obvious, but the effects it would have on the ground can also be easily imagined.
Take, for example, a student at the University at Albany. If the student lived in New York City (as I and many other students do), a high-speed rail investment would likely mean faster and more convenient Amtrak trips, allowing students to take the train over long car trips and packed buses. When in Albany, if the student lived off-campus, an investment in public transit would likely result in a more robust CDTA, leading to more frequent buses and routes (and, who knows, maybe a light rail system of some sort). Finally, if the student lived all the way out in the suburbs, a network of electric charging stations would make it more convenient to charge an electric vehicle instead of spending a large sum on gas, saving the student thousands of dollars a year.
The Green New Deal, then, would be nothing but beneficial for everyday Americans and the environment alike, so support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts to make this a reality. It may just save our generation’s chances of living on this planet.