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The Green New Deal: Let's Get Visionary


#1

The Green New Deal: Let's Get Visionary

Norah Vawter

Lately there’s been a lot of bad news about climate change and the future of humanity.


#2

I’ll be history by 2040 saving a miracle, however, anyone under 30 years of age must be completely aware of how your government and it’s ties to the Military Industrial Complex is killing our planet.

And begin to do something besides talking, real soon.


#3

There will be a “major financial crash” irrespective of solving the climate crisis or not.


#4

As has been said many times, and recently by the 15 year old Greta from Sweden, we will all need to change the way we travel, eat, and live in the West. So instead of “financial crash”, an economic readjustment is a better description, IMO. Not the end of things, but a better way to live and maybe more enjoyable…if one counts surviving enjoyable!


#5

Here is a caveat for the GND to tell plastic manufacturers: Want me to recycle? Pay me. If I recycle your shit at my cost, it will make you produce more shit. When we get tired of seeing your plastic crap on the beaches, killing wildlife and killing us, maybe the people will stop using unrecyclable plastics and make you pay.


#6

“Stuff up the cracks” Stuff it. Too many things to freak out about. I’m confused.

A lament to Mother Earth.


#7

The New Green Deal cannot possibly be passed in Congress so it is better to look at solutions that can be put into practice. I suspect the purpose of the New Green Deal is to create a way to attack Nancy Pelosi. The people behind the New Green Deal know she would not support it. What gives it away is it was launched with a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office. Hopefully the New Green Deal will soon pass and people will focus on solutions with real possibilities.


#8

We do have a previous model that is relevant in many aspects. There was a major financial crash in Cuba in 1989 and 1990. And of course the resulting conditions lasted beyond that.

When the Soviet Union fell, Cuba lost almost all of its exports. It lost over 50% of its currency-measured economy overnight. The US stepped up its blockade. Starvation seemed an obvious prospect. Until a deal was worked out with Venezuela, Cuba had virtually no source of oil to fuel transport, even to ferry food from farm to town, let alone to be dragging pesticides and fertilizer back and forth.

People were encouraged to garden everywhere, and for a time government conditionally relinquished most control over this process. Parking lots and so forth were covered over with whatever slurry of organic material could be set up, and food-bearing plants were sown and tended.

These were called jardines organoponicos or organoponic gardens, since many of the gardens were done in whatever organic product could be found–often the cast-off of various stages of sugar production, since Cuba no longer had much market for its government-directed factory-farmed sugar and cane products.

Not everyone was thrilled, but people ate. They did not get the same platos tipicos that they were used to during el periodo especial, but there was no mass starvation. It probably did help that they were on a tropical to subtropical island with year-round growing seasons and quite a lot of precipitation. It probably did help in some respects that the economy had been centrally controlled, if only because that allowed the quick release of enough control to enable a response by individuals and smaller groups.

Transition might be slower in the US under climate disruption, with our more extensive abuse of soil and water, or with the thorny cultural problems around presumptions of ownership, which keep workers away from the land. But our urgency comes over a grander scale and probably a longer arc of time still remaining. If we get started, we might salvage quite a lot. The question is not whether we can afford it, nor whether we have to do it, but rather whether the government-related portion of this will or will not be so distorted and misdirected by the large capital interests as to be useless–when we should follow with a government-related path, and when and where we must abandon that.

Among other things, we need to look at this not as “creating jobs,” per se, but as creating homesteads and regenerative economic bases to free people from this paradigm by which selling one’s hours and days in a sort of indenture is equated with well being. Access to productive land needs to be guaranteed to those who work it and live on it, whether as property in some sense or as a commons or holdings along the lines of the ejidos in Mexico after the Revolution, or at least their original intent.

We need to beware that the measures that are passed do not create prohibitive controls for small operators and do not continue or extend the system that keeps the land away from those who work it. Large entities like Monsanto-Bayer will be looking to bribe and threaten politicians and judges to ensure that the legal and financial landscape favors them and not small holdings. The call for “jobs” as such and the casting of the program in the language of an era of mass industrialization brings to mind the possibility that the work be reduced to jobs and the workers dismissed by their wages and the form of the agriculture changed only cosmetically, and barely that. A regenerative system may be maintained by people who live on the land and will pass its productivity to future generations and who have the autonomy and the education to do that.

It is a change that goes quite beyond Roosevelt, though it does resemble his work in some respects. We need no less.

For the interested, here’s a look at FDR’s WPA swales that regreened part of Arizona. This looks to have been filmed in the 1980s or 1990s fifty or sixty or so years later, when the biosystem was still obviously expanding around them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JyEHdJS94s).

Here’s a look at the same phenomenon some twenty years later, with a more extensive discussion of water retention in the Southwest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JyEHdJS94s).

Here’s a page with several videos including Brad Lancaster discussing curb cuts and other urban methods by which plants can be raised in the desert without other irrigation: (https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/imagesvideoaudio/water-harvesting-video-and-audio/).


#9

I’m excited about the Green New Deal, an idea that’s been kicking around since 2007 but was popularized this fall by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the youth-led Sunrise Movement. At least 37 members of Congress have signed on, along with dozens of activist organizations.

This fall? Ah the stolen part of it from Jill Stein and the green party from all through the 2016 election cycle. The original form of it that doesn’t benefit corporations. Which has a real platform towards creating jobs while implementing the program. Nice try though.


#10

What nobody seems here to realize is that getting totally off fossil fuels would be tantamount to unilateral disarmament: You can’t wage modern warfare without them, and no green technology out there today comes close to packing their energy and power densities (nuclear does for energy, but not for power, unless you’re talking about an atom bomb). So to get the Green New Deal approved, let alone fully implemented, the military industrial complex will have to be utterly defeated, not just in the US, but around the world! For full documentation of this fact, see “Oil, Power and War” by Matthieu Azenneau.


#11

Very good post. My efforts center around reforms in transportation and related land-use and development that within professional planning fields is known as New Urbanism and (metropolitan area) Regionalism. It’s mantra is “mixed-use” economic development. Agriculture is ‘one use’ still being displaced from planning models that continue as ‘single-use’ housing zoned separate from single-use employment centers, separate commercial retail, institutions of education and medical care, etc, that collectively require vehicular travel despite impacts. A banker will happily finance sprawling subdivision housing knowing each house will sell an average of 10 cars to likewise finance. Some people latch onto the notion of ‘density’ as a solution, but I prefer ‘economic diversity’ to explain New Urbanism. Density without Diversity worsens the problems of traffic and the artificial demand for long-distance travel that comes with separated land uses.


#12

Sounds promising, Wellan.

I grew up in Los Angeles County, though a good while ago. There are a lot of possible uses for the land in those spread-out and now aging suburbs–lots of lawns to convert to gardens of perennial edibles, walls for trellises, swimming pools to convert to storage for water-catch systems or even productive ponds, garages that could be growing mushrooms, parks to line or fill with fruit or nut trees, spacious elementary and secondary-school fields that could be chock full of horticultural projects and lessons.


#13

My thinking is along the same lines of adding uses to suburban housing tracts should It becomes necessary for survival. I agree with your ideas for new uses of lawns, pools and garages and take them even further. We may need to convert select homes into grocery and general goods stores, workshops and warehouses, clinics, schools and neighborhood town halls. We may need to demolish homes to create larger plots of land for large scale farming. We’ll need to pull portions of fences down to create new pathways between streets. These ideas address the issue of transportation, travel and services on a larger scale than adapting individual homes. Survival will take collective effort.