Hello again! In my post last week, I began to discuss details of an organization called Greening Forward, a youth-led, nonprofit, environmental organization aimed at educating and galvanizing youth around the world to take action on important environmental issues. And in that last post, I talked about the incredible work they've been doing, from grant giving to conferencing, and I also mentioned something else: that, for the past few months, I have had a connection with Greening Forward. So, in this post, I wanted to talk a bit more in detail about what exactly that connection is, as well as what it means for the future of this blog. And, in addition, I wanted to give a quick update on progress the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal has made over the past month.
So, at the end of the summer, I was hired as Greening Forward's Outreach Manager! What exactly does this mean? Well, in essence, the job of the Outreach Manager is to maintain relations between Greening Forward and the other organizations they choose to work with. This responsibility includes sending reports about what Greening Forward has been doing recently, and actively working to create new relationships with organizations to create mutually beneficial partnerships, whether it be for donations, event planning, or other reasons. However, there is one main job of the outreach manager that I am truly excited to share, and that is planning EYES: The Empowered Young Environmentalist's Summit.
But what exactly is EYES, you might be asking. Well, it's a conference that Greening Forward hosts yearly (this will be its sixth year) in New York that brings together students (from middle-school, high-school, and college) to learn about various environmental issues, as well as what they can do (both in their communities and around the world) to aid in the fight against them. This is accomplished through a series of workshops in which organizations from around the New York area (and in some cases, beyond) host discussions, activities, and more with the hope of creating new advocates for the future of our environment.
Additionally, the conference includes a tabling session in which other organizations can reach out and show students how exactly they can get involved, allowing them to sign up and join an organization they find an interest in. Over the years, EYES has hosted dozens of different organizations encompassing a wide variety of different subject matters. And, this year, along with the organization's CEO Robert Walton, I'm in charge of planning it!
As of now, details about the conference are currently being developed. The date for it will be Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th, and the conference will be held at the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers in Midtown Manhattan. I'm planning to release a full post about the conference (with more details, sign-up links, etc.) around mid-February, so keep an eye out for that!
Green New Deal Update
Switching topics, I wanted to discuss a bit more about recent developments that have occurred in regards to Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. If you've never heard either of those names before, you can find out more about them by clicking here first, then here, and here.
Anyway, a good deal of new things have been happening since my last post on the subject. First, we are up to a grand total of 43 representatives who have signed on to support Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's Resolution for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, which is 10% of the House! That's been accomplished in a matter of a few weeks, which in my opinion is incredible. But, unfortunately, not every recent development has been so positive. In fact, we've received quite a bit of sad news recently.
First off, the democratic leadership in congress have doubled down on their original plan to establish a climate change committee with significantly less power than the one proposed in the Green New Deal. They have no mandate to create a plan on the timeline given by top scientists, no power to issue subpoenas, no talk at all about economic or racial justice, and it allows its members within the committee to accept fossil fuel money. You can learn more about the decision here. Second, Nancy Pelosi has been voted in as Speaker of the House which, depending on your political standpoint, may or may not be a good thing. Nancy Pelosi has in the past supported the idea of Climate Change, but she has yet to take really meaningful action (and has been the main proponent of the weaker committee).
However, there have been some positives as well. First, a new poll was recently released from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication which states that an averaged 81% of all registered voters support the idea of a Green New Deal. 92% of Democrats support, and 64% of Republicans do too. This is huge, because it shows that the majority of American people really are in favor of the Deal. What does that mean? Well, that it's time for the government to catch up with the people.
So, where do we stand now? Well I won't lie: the Green New Deal has been set back a LOT. The democrats in the house have approved another climate committee that not only doesn't have any real power but, judging by the fact that it allows its members to accept fossil fuel money, won't have people in it that really care about solving the issue. It's a defeat, but not a total one. The work that Sunrise Movement and other organizations have done throughout the past year have made the Green New Deal into a real topic of debate, and as they continue to spread it across the country, hope remains that it may be implemented soon.
At the very least, we must turn our attention to the future. There are dedicated, intelligent members in congress working to make the Green New Deal a reality, and we have to help them, not only through our advocacy, but through our vote. Electing a 2020 candidate that not only honestly and vigorously supports the Green New Deal, but will work to make it and other climate policies a reality is key. Time is running out, and we can't let this setback stop us in our tracks. In fact, we may have to fight even harder than before, and the Sunrise Movement is planning on doing just that.
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