The term “Green New Deal” is derived from the term “New Deal” coined by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became President of the United States in 1933 during the Depression. At that time in the US, the banks were closed, unemployment was 25%, and higher in places, farming prices had fallen steeply, and tens of thousands of mortgages were being foreclosed. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” included a set of programs designed to lift the US economy out of the depression. In light of the severe and widespread economic recession in the RoI, NI, the UK, EU, US and elsewhere, governments are looking for examples of how others recovered from economic tough times, and Roosevelt’s New Deal seems appropriate since it was successful.
The Green New Deal (GND) is not just an economic recovery plan, however, as it also requires that any action taken to rebuild the economy be based on environmentally sustainable development principles. For many, this element of a sustainable development is necessary because the recession resulted, in part, from practices and policies and lifestyles that were not sustainable. They were fueled by a frenzy to acquire and consume without any sense of the limits to the natural resources on which development depends.
Many governments and NGOs have adopted some form of a Green New Deal and the particular components depend largely on the socioeconomic underpinnings to the organization. Central to most such programs is the recognition that any economic recovery must also address the looming crisis of global climate change and the related strain on energy production. In particular, an economy with an energy system dependent on fossil fuels must be replaced with a low carbon economy dependent on locally produced and distributed renewable energy sources, most importantly wind, solar, and wave. Some GNDs promote fundamental reform of the financing and banking institutions, while others incorporate principles of social justice.
Some further ideas to explore on Green New Deal:
What organizations are supporting a Green New Deal where you live? Is there anyone or any organization opposing a Green New Deal?
How would your job or plans for a career be affected by any Green New Deal if it were adopted? Would you benefit or be at a disadvantage?
Often a Green New Deal talks about creating “green jobs.” What is a “green job” and how do you recognize one? Is a person who picks up your trash engaged in a green job? How about someone who works in a nuclear power plant? Or someone who works in a garden center?
“New Deal” at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal
“Sustainable Development” in iePEDIA at www.irishenvironment.com
“Towards a Green New Deal for Ireland,” Comhar Sustainable Development Council, at www.comharsdc.ie/
The UK Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) published their version of a ‘Sustainable New Deal’ for the United Kingdom in April 2009. www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=928
“A Green New Deal: Joined-up policies to solve the triple crunch of the credit crisis, climate change and high oil prices,” The Green New Deal Group, UK at www.greennewdealgroup.org/ This form of GND pushes for fundamental reforms of the UK, and even global, financing and banking institutions. It also offers a clear and useful discussion of the financing and banking practices.