Why you need to know about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal

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It comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with our lifestyle at Mountain Jewel to know that many of our actions are motivated by a concern for our relationship with our environment. As a youth growing up hearing about the dangers of climate change in relation to species worldwide, it is only a natural outpouring from my generation that we try something to make a change.

Whereas many in older generations become set in their ways and disenchanted with workable solutions, we are faced with a world that might not be here for our children’s children. It’s a drastic time to be a human on the earth, and yet the disasters of climate change are seemingly still in debate at the apex of the United States political structure as many continue to claim that it doesn’t exist and those who do say that we are moving too slowly, too late to do anything about it.

Our lifestyle is a response to this and though I have stepped back a bit from my “I’ll only ride a bicycle” days in an effort to be the change I wished to see in the increasingly warming world, our Permaculture homestead is a step in the right direction, based on what is feasible, practical and possible for two people.

As I was catching up on the often depressing and bizarre world of US politics this Sunday morning, researching the Cohen litigation & US Presidential 2020 Candidates, I started to dig into a relatively new and inspiring figure on the scene, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC. A bright star from the Bronx, she is the youngest woman to enter congress and she did so on a 100% grassroots budget.

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I got shivers when I read her testimony of her decision to run for office after visiting Standing Rock Reservation during the Dakota Access Pipeline Activism Gatherings where she quoted,

I found it all to be incredibly fulfilling and satisfying work, but I never really saw myself running on my own. I counted out that possibility because I felt that possibility had counted out me. I felt like the only way to effectively run for office is if you had access to a lot of wealth, high social influence, a lot of high dynastic power, and I knew that I didn’t have any of those things.

The tipping point was was when I was at Standing Rock in 2016, and I saw how all of the people there — particularly the Native people and the Lakota Sioux — were putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community. I saw how a corporation had literally militarized itself against the American people, and I just felt like we were at a point where we couldn’t afford to ignore politics anymore. We couldn’t afford to write off our collective power in self-governance anymore out of cynicism. 

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Soon I saw that she was engaged in a Green New Deal and that, of course, Fox News and Conservatives everywhere are freaking out about her sheer existence and AOC’s audacity to say what she means. They are pulling out all the dirt on her they can find (much of which is illegitimate) and still she presses on. She has this to say about her Green New Deal and the impetus to put it out there at a recent speech to “Girls who Code”,

The power is in the person who’s trying, regardless of the success. I just introduced the Green New Deal… and i’ts creating all of this conversation. Why? Because no-one else has even tried.

People are like, ‘Oh, it’s unrealisitic..oh, it’s vauge, oh, it doesn’t address this little minute thing,’ and I’m like, ‘You try- you do it. Because you’re not. So, until you do it, i’m the boss. How about that?

Newsweek Article

You need to know about her and the deal and here’s why

My generation is sufficiently fed up with politics as usual and she is only one of the first true representatives of the people.

Noam Chompsky has this to say about her win,

 Well, I think there’s—her victory was a quite spectacular and significant event. I think what it points to is a split in the Democratic Party between the—roughly speaking, between the popular base and the party managers. The popular base is increasingly, essentially, social democratic, following, pursuing the—concerned with the kinds of progressive objectives that she outlined in those—in her remarks, which should be directed not only to expanding the electorate but to the general working-class, poor population of the world, of the middle-class population of the country, for whom these ideals are quite significant. They can be brought to that. 

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As a Democratic Socialist, Conservatives are still pulling out all the stops relating her to a communist, etc. But that isn’t going to stop us. News pundits saying this aboutthe Green New Deal are completely crazy and it’s weird to hear people even say things like this and expect to be taken seriously:

Sebastian Gorka, speaking at the CPAC conference in National Harbor, Md., on Thursday, said the Democrats’ Green New Deal is “a watermelon,” because it’s “green on the outside” and “deep, deep red communist on the inside.”

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Huh?

Nevertheless, the Green New Deal is not a communist threat and Jeffrey Sachs, a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, has this to say about it after reviewing it,

The Green New Deal agenda is both feasible and affordable. This will become clear as the agenda is turned into specific legislation for energy, health care, higher education, and more.The Green New Deal combines ideas across several parts of the economy because the ultimate goal is sustainable development. That means an economy that delivers a package deal: good incomes, social fairness, and environmental sustainability. Around the world, governments are aiming for the same end — a “triple-bottom line” of economic, social, and environmental objectives.

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The deal focuses on three aspects,

The first is to decarbonize the US energy system — that is, to end the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning coal, oil and natural gas, in order to stop global warming.


The second is to guarantee lower-cost, high-quality health coverage for all.

The third is to ensure decent jobs and living standards for all Americans, in part by making colleges and vocational schools affordable for all.

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While many of the details need to be worked out, I am proud of her and inspired by her that in her first term in office she is already taking on something so necessary and so big that so many are afraid to even try.

The backlash she is facing is commonplace for anyone who seeks to step out of the accepted norm, but the fact remains that we humans have to start working out renewable options. An article at popsci.com, supports her green new deal and says it is very possible that total renewal energy systems in the US can be achieved,

Though our current mix of energy is dominated by fossil fuels, that doesn’t mean 100% renewable goals are infeasible. “It’s technically and economically possible to do it by 2030,” says Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor, about a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. “But for social and political reasons, it will probably take longer, maybe up to 2050.”

For our generation who has grown up with global warming threats our entire youth, we are done with politicians who want to keep us in the dark ages, sucking every last bit of fossil fuels out of the earth. We know we need to move toward sustainable solutions, even if our first steps are vague and big dreams. We all have to start somewhere and we need to do it now! AOC and her peers and allies are going to take us there, one step at a time.

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