Road to a Green New Deal - Issue 27
Bernstein Torres
June 7, 2022
Annie Wolfond

A Green New Deal for Boston’s Youth

A Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools aims to provide the safe, healthy, and clean learning environment every student deserves. Currently, Boston public school buildings lack the adequate infrastructure to foster a thriving student body: leaky faucets, bathrooms without locks, and poor heating and cooling systems. Facilities are so outdated that it comes as no surprise that Boston public schools make up nearly half of all city-owned building emissions. With more than $2 billion in planned investments for school facilities, the City of Boston wants to co-create climate-resilient school facilities with the community that meet the needs of students and faculty. For instance, the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury will be expanded to build an educational complex to teach and prepare students for green-sector jobs. The Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools committee has developed an index to assess schools’ capital assets and environmental conditions, as well as community feedback, to determine what repairs are needed. This index is showcased in this map which shows each Boston public school in need of renovations, the cost per school, and the status of the project. 
A Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools can serve as a model policy for other cities and counties to prioritize the education and wellbeing of their students. About 50 million K-12 students in the U.S. attend public school with a recent study finding that U.S. public schools are underfunded by nearly $150 billion annually. The average deficit per student is $5,000, primarily amongst predominantly Black and Latinx school districts. This map highlights the funding gaps by school district across the U.S. However, a Green New Deal framework is dedicated toward equity and prosperity for all. 

DiEM25 Launches Manifesto for Democratizing Europe 

The Green New Deal for Europe is an international policy platform, established by DiEM25, for a just transition away from fossil fuels, to protect frontline communities, and empower workers. The platform is pushed forth by a broad coalition of individuals and organizations building people power across communities in Europe to “shift the policy paradigm and build a new common sense.” Through this call for a just transition, the coalition is expanding into a network of solidarity to advance transformative policies from the bottom up. But in order to envision a fossil-free society, democracy must be the foundation on which to build a Green New Deal. 
DiEM 25 recently launched its manifesto expressing how the European oligarchy seeks to “co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp, and manipulate democracy,” dismantling the vision of shared prosperity. From the debt crisis to the refugee crisis, the European political powers have pitted people against each other and amplified radical nationalism and xenophobia. The manifesto calls for dismantling the euro-oligarchy that reserves power for the elite, transparent decision-making processes, and spreading democracy into the corporate system, local councils, parliaments, governments, and institutions. It also calls for a decentralized economic system based on cooperative enterprises. This approach would promote an unconditional basic income, job guarantee, and the growth of public services. The manifesto also calls for a social transformation that celebrates pluralism, cultural diversity, and transnationalism. Through this political, economic, and social transformation, the Green New Deal for Europe will have a democratic framework on which to build a just and sustainable future. 

Assembling a Green-Blue New Deal for Coastal Richmond, California

The Bay Area Green New Deal was created in 2020 as a policy platform calling for 100% renewable energy and complete decarbonization of the area’s economic system. The document listed important steps for the creation of green jobs and a just transition for workers. This platform led to the Green-Blue New Deal (or Resolution 88-21) which was recently passed by Richmond City Council
The Green-Blue New Deal includes a 12- to 18-month planning period in which city officials will engage with the public and co-develop a local Green-Blue New Deal. The inclusion of ‘blue’ was intentional to address climate change effects on the Richmond coastline and incorporate the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and good jobs. The Green-Blue New Deal includes the equitable transition to renewable energy jobs and infrastructure, a carbon-neutral economy, and viable blue economic development. These tenets ensure Richmond will experience a just transition on all fronts in which all communities and livelihoods are accounted for. The proposal is being prepared, but the Green-Blue New Deal “will be exploring community-led programs around green workforce development, sustainable affordable housing developments, local circular economy reuse projects, water-energy conservation, the greening of government buildings, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, public health, and more.”

Advancing Climate Justice in the South 

After six months of strategizing and working across the region, the Gulf South for a Green New Deal (GS4GND) has launched a new action plan listing its 2022 priorities. GS4GND is the largest regional movement of more than 300 organizations across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Established in 2019, the GS4GND has spent the past few years advancing equity and collaborating with frontline communities to build community wealth and health. The six geographic hubs each have a financial, facilitative, communications, policy, and action lead organization. The movement focuses their efforts on six action areas: land, labor, energy economy, water, and democracy. Through these intersectional action areas, each region has prioritized issues central to the needs of the local community. Alabama, for example, is advancing water equity by “following wastewater infrastructure money and holding the state accountable for getting it to the communities that need it.” As the coalition continues to grow, GS4GND plans to strengthen its leadership, frontline participation, and national impact to pave the way for climate justice in the South.

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