Monday October 21, 2019

US to ‘Amplify’ Green New Deal Movement ahead of US Election

The WGF said it is one of the few funders to publicly back groups advocating for the Green New Deal and is working to rally others to support the youth-led activism that is putting lawmakers on notice globally

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FILE - U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed Green New Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

Young activists pressuring U.S. lawmakers to aggressively tackle climate change and reject fossil fuel company donations got their first major financial boost Monday from a foundation that wants to “amplify” the Green New Deal movement ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The Wallace Global Fund, a nonprofit that supports social movements, has given the Sunrise Movement $250,000 and committed $750,000 in grants in 2019 to Sunrise partner groups to advance the goals of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution introduced this year by progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey that has reignited the U.S. debate around climate change.

The Sunrise Movement, formed in 2017, has been at the forefront of the Green New Deal movement, which calls for a 10-year, government-driven mobilization to decarbonize the economy through investments in clean energy, buildings and transportation, as well as job-retraining and social and economic justice programs.

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FILE – Demonstrators with the group Sunrise Movement gather after interrupting a resolutions meeting at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, Aug. 23, 2018. VOA

It has become a political target of President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress who call the plan socialist and radical. “They have a smart strategy around building power with the audacity of their vision,” said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the fund. “Critics belittle them and question their authenticity but they are brave and are doubling down.”

The WGF said it is one of the few funders to publicly back groups advocating for the Green New Deal and is working to rally others to support the youth-led activism that is putting lawmakers on notice globally.

While the Sunrise Movement has been central in putting the Green New Deal in the national spotlight, young people in Europe have staged school strikes and launched civil disobedience campaigns to demand action on climate change.

green new deal
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. The Republican-led Senate rejected the plan March 26, 2019.
VOA

Dorsey said the Green New Deal follows in the footsteps of the New Deal, a sweeping public works and financial reform program created by President Franklin Roosevelt to lift the United States out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Wallace Global Fund namesake Henry Wallace was Roosevelt’s vice president.

Growing the Sunrise Movement

The Sunrise Movement first made waves after the 2018 midterm elections by holding a sit-in with Ocasio-Cortez outside the office of incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, demanding that Congress adopt a Green New Deal. Since then its activists have been a presence on the presidential campaign trail. “A large part of our strategy is to make sure that every candidate hears us wherever they go,” said Varshini Prakash, president of the Sunrise Movement.

More than half of the crowded field of Democratic contenders, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee and Pete Buttigieg said they back the resolution.

green new deal
While the Sunrise Movement has been central in putting the Green New Deal in the national spotlight, young people in Europe have staged school strikes and launched civil disobedience campaigns to demand action on climate change. Wikimedia

Prakash said the group will use the funds to train activists around the country and partner with environmental justice, Native American and other groups.

ALSO READ: Giving Local Communities Responsibility to Manage Forests Could Help Ease Poverty, Deforestation

She said the group has already been effective in pressuring candidates to change their positions. Last week former Texas congressman O’Rourke announced he will no longer accept donations from fossil fuel companies or executives after months of pressure from Sunrise activists.

The group’s next target is likely to be former Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the presidential race in late April. Prakash said Biden has only mentioned Obama-era measures like entering the Paris Climate Agreement as climate change solutions. “We are ready and willing to call out the insufficiency of policies like that,” she said. “We deserve a leader who understands the urgency of climate change.” (VOA)

Next Story

Climate change, Pollution Causing Irreversible Damage to New Zealand’s Marine Environment

Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing

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Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
FILE - Activists march on Parliament to protest a lack of action on climate change, in Wellington, New Zealand, Sept. 27, 2019. VOA

Climate change, pollution and fishing are causing irreversible damage to New Zealand’s marine environment and putting many birds and mammals at risk of extinction, according to a new report from the nation’s Ministry for the Environment.

The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing into the oceans, and contaminating the coastline, it said.

The report said 90 percent of the country’s seabirds and about a quarter of its marine mammals are threatened with extinction, and that 16 percent of New Zealand’s fish stocks had been overfished.

“The sea is a receiving environment for what happens on the land, so our activities on land from the mountains to the sea are having an impact on what we are seeing in the marine environment; growing cities, forestry, agriculture — all delivering increasing amounts of sedimentation,” said Vicky Robertson, New Zealand’s secretary for the environment.

Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Pixabay

Warmer seas

The report also confirmed that New Zealand’s sea temperature had risen and was consistent with the global average. It also found sea levels were rising faster than before.

There was a warning, too, that New Zealand could expect more frequent marine heat waves, similar to those in 2017 and 2018, and ocean acidification.

For the first time, data from citizen scientists were used in the government report. Community groups were instructed about how to collect robust data.

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The next official marine environment report is due in three years.

New Zealand is a grouping of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. It has a population of 4.5 million people. (VOA)