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To Protect Our Planet and Revitalize Our Economy, We Need a Climate Conservation Corps


To Protect Our Planet and Revitalize Our Economy, We Need a Climate Conservation Corps

David Baake

Bob Dylan famously sang that “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” We could update Dylan’s adage to say that in 2017, you don’t need a climatologist to see we’re in the midst of an ecological crisis. By way of review: 2016 was the hottest year on record. Before that, the hottest year was 2015. Before that, it was 2014. In fact, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000. The warming is having dramatic consequences.


In the mean time online activism thinking globally to continue to organize against transnational abuses of the planet by a cannibalization system that is well into the death throes phase


According to NOAA up to this point 2017 is the second hottest year on record and we just had the third warmest June. And there is no el nino.


Nice. Lets go beyond climate though. Species loss is related but maybe a bigger deal. All part of the same apple.

So how about we get a major reforestation.revegetation plan going too. Store some carbon, cleanse the air, affect precipitation patterns and all.

And some major investments in new wetlands and rehabilitating fragmented ones. They clean toxins from the water that our treatment plants don’t. They provide habitat for over 1/3 endangered species. And they are the best known means of absorbing floodwaters, as opposed to piping them downstream to the next town. Even more important as the climate warms and floods expand.

Coastal waters, estuaries, bays and all need some major habitat improvements around them and upstream too.

Probably a lot more along those lines and I think at least as important as the climate-change specific suggestions in the article.


i fear the author is unwilling to look it in the face, and understand what actually needs to be changed by us, in “the economy” yes but also critically in our lives and communities.

i get that the author is running for office, and i’m sure he thinks he must hew to a “realistic” platform. i’m sure he sincerely thinks he is being simultaneously hard-headed and innovative, simultaneously bold and pragmatic. But what passes for “realism” in today’s USA is utter delusion.

“To protect our planet,” we DO NOT need to “revitalize our economy.” We need to ramp the economy WAY DOWN, and fundamentally reorient it toward ecological and humanistic imperatives, thoroughly undermining the role of “investors” and “profit” in motivating economic activity.

We do not need to create government “projects that… are not being undertaken by the private sector with sufficient alacrity.” We need to completely change the parameters in which “the private sector” is allowed to operate. We need to dismantle the looting class. We need to end the investor-owned, limited liability corporation as the basic building-block of the economy. We need to forthrightly take on the prevailing systems of “ownership” and “wealth” that are the legacies of colonialism and capitalism, and carry out a deep land reform, wealth reform, and political reform to disinherit the inheritors of the greatest thefts in the history of humanity on Earth, and end the systems they have created to “justify” and increase their wealth and power.

This is realism, in the face of the massive social distortion and “inequality” that are crushing so many peoples and individuals, and in the face of the actual ecological collapse THAT IS UNDERWAY. Ecological dis-integration is not some minority view of a possible future, IT IS HAPPENING, and it must be addressed with fundamental, revolutionary change in the basic operating system of “the economy” to simultaneously provide social, economic, political and ecological equity to every person on the planet.

And we all need to be thinking, talking and writing about this realistic need for deep, humanistic and ecological, revolutionary change.


Another point, The author writes:

“The obvious place for such a program to begin would be with energy efficiency. Energy efficiency has the potential to save consumers a tremendous amount of money while greatly reducing emissions.”

No, energy efficiency DOES NOT reduce emissions, it reduces COSTS which translates into INCREASED economic activity, as the author himself points out: “Such a program would more than pay for itself in energy savings. It would also stimulate the economy as a whole. A 2009 study found a ten-fold increase in economic activity for every dollar invested in energy efficiency in New England. This stimulus effect was a result of lower energy costs, which lead to increased consumer spending and a reduction in the cost of doing business.”

Rather than focus FIRST on energy efficiency, we need to focus on REDUCING economic activity. In this light, something like the Conservation Corps would be a good supporting program, generating income for millions of workers whose “product” is not armaments or “consumer” goods, but is ecological health and resiliency. But only as one supporting program, in a larger system that includes EVERYONE covering basic needs like food, housing and health care.

And also in this light, an Agricultural Corps could be another excellent program, providing even more millions of people with incomes to produce food via labor-intensive ecological agriculture, WITHOUT the ecocidal industrial agriculture that is modeled after war and is predictably murdering ecosystems and species.

As part of a holistic approach to transforming the economy along ecological and humanistic principles, certainly energy efficiency is critically important. But in the context of the rapacious profiteering corporate colonialist economy that currently rules the world, energy efficiency just makes that system more efficient at raping and looting communities and ecosystems.


I was in the middle of Nevada in a county that voted 80% for Bush The Lesser. Seated at the local diner were a bunch of old timers talking. They included me in the conversation and offered that what the economy and the country needed was a new CCC. They pointed at an irrigation structure and said the CCC did that. Something that the entire community uses 70 years later and that no individual or company would have done.
Reducing emissions is important, but taking CO2 from the air is more important. The 90-95% reduction in the population of the Western hemisphere caused natural reforestation that took enough carbon from the air to reduce worldwide temps by 1C causing The Little Ice Age. By using the CCC model millions of unemployed youth could be paid to plant trees. They would be working outdoors and helping to ensure their future and be appreciated by the rest of society like those old timers.https://www.sciencenews.org/article/columbus-arrival-linked-carbon-dioxide-drop
On an individual basis we could plant one tree a week. For every million people that did such a simple thing there would be 52 million new trees every year. We also could choose to eat sustainably grown organic produce and grass fed meat, dairy and eggs which would help sequester carbon in the soil and increase its fertility and moisture content and in the process make us healthier.https://rodaleinstitute.org/regenerative-organic-agriculture-and-climate-change/
I am still optomistic about the future.


Your specific points about trees, agriculture, and atmospheric carbon, i agree.

As to agriculture, i would add that consumer demand, as important is it can be, is not sufficient to serve the desperate need for ecological restoration. i do advocate and practice making wise choices, to buy and eat (and grow at home) non-industrial, ecological, organic food, and build soil. Big props to Rodale for their stalwart work over decades to do the research to make the scientific case for soil carbon sequestration through ecological organic agriculture.

But IMO more importantly than consumer demand, we need POLICY and PROGRAMS. We need subsidy, incentives and dis-incentives, to restructure the economics of agriculture from all points of influence. An overall policy and program approach is key to confront the power that the agrichemical and agro-industrial commodity corporations have over farming and the marketplace. Yes consumers should educate each other and practice wisdom in growing and buying food. But the rampant “agriculture-as-war” corporations must be subdued, and consumer pressure is just one tool in the array of tools that should be put to that task.

And to your last point, if i had witnessed such policies and programs being instituted fifty or forty years ago, following the publication of Silent Spring and the organization of the first Earth Day, i would be much more optimistic than i am. Instead i have witnessed the prolific, prodigious squandering of time and resources by some of the greatest fools and criminals in human history, such that today the human economy is pumping more carbon than ever into the already strained climate system, and the ecology is quite visibly dis-integrating under the multi-faceted assault.

But i do not give up.




i never said any such thing. i roundly denounced Trump and refuted those who said he was “better” on one or another policy. i said both were horrible cndidates, the two worst major-party candidates of my 58-year lifetime, and neither was worthy of my vote. i voted for a decent candidate and i have no reason to change my assessment.


–to adopt the Iroquois Nation’s 7 Generations guidance for assessing potential actions.


Thanks, Eco. One of the wiser comments to appear on CD.


It isn’t us … it is them! The fossil fuel industry is at fault not whether we car pool or not. Get rid of all gasoline powered cars and guess f’king what happens? People continue to play that blame the victim/blame the little guy game the Corporate world puts out but it is baloney! People would overwhelmingly make better eco choices daily if such alternatives were easily available but they aren’t!

I hope this guy gets elected because this pseudo philosophy of personal renovation substitute for effective corporate change is a dodge! Change the Corporate if you really want to change your personal lifestyle choices.

In the meantime as time grows short, we need politicians like this man to get elected! A new CCC has been needed for such a long time that it is actually a sign of America’s decline that we don’t have one (especially after we saw it work so well under FDR. The Repubs along with Dems help, allow the Corporate elite to plunder! The Commons get plundered!

Time we worked together to preserve and enhance what we all have!

Besides… we could use the jobs!

Solar installation jobs especially!


The C’s did many lasting things, not the least of which was to connect many men which had been alienated from it, to the earth again. My father was in the C’s, and proudly and fondly remembered those times.

Ecocentric above thinks, like some Korean dictator, that all we need to do is to be “re-educated.” Well, how the f%&#k are you going to do that? By preaching about it? A program similar to the C’s may accomplish what is desired, and no preaching required. Work in the service of environmental responsibility shared by groups of people working together may disseminate same more broadly throughout our culture.

It won’t happen as long as an anti-human, anti-environment majority rules our government. An awakening of environmental responsibility is the last thing wanted by those that have bought and paid for that majority. In fact, they go to great ends to keep the popular will in a deep slumber.

A program similar to the C’s is a great idea for a multitude of reasons. And could be put to service to address many areas. I’ve believed that for many years.


The California Conservation Corps has been serving since 1976, not 2013.

The CCC wast started by Gov. Jerry Brown and just celebrated their 40th anniversary. They are currently hiring young men and WOMEN, ages 18-25 to improve CA’s ecosystems.



Absolutely love these ideas and support these efforts to bring back a “national” CCC. What a good way to begin a new path to a better future.