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Green New Deal echoes original in its focus on vulnerable populations

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Rachel Rhodes

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey are expected to release proposed Green New Deal legislation this week that will outline infrastructure and labor programs that include principles of sustainability.


Aaron Sachs

Professor of History

Cornell University environmental historian Aaron Sachs, also a fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, says that a proposed Green New Deal would be similar to the original New Deal in its focus on serving vulnerable members of society.

Sachs says:

“A Green New Deal would be the most significant environmental policy since the raft of legislation in the 1970s recognizing the environment as a public health concern (the Clean Air and Water acts, for instance). Finally: an integrative sustainability plan offering a constructive response to climate change. 

“Like the original New Deal, this one puts ordinary people first, showing clearly how going green can be good for everyone — but perhaps especially the unemployed, impoverished, and otherwise vulnerable (including those people most immediately threatened by climate change and in desperate need of infrastructural improvements). 

“Much remains to be seen, but at the very least, a Green New Deal would probably put the United States on a path to join other industrial nations in switching to an economy based on renewables.”


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