American Climate Action


Photo by Lucia Garay

Protestors rally in support of the Green New Deal and in opposition of climate change.

On Nov. 6, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to the United States House of Representatives and immediately became the “second most talked about politician in America” according to Time magazine. Ocasio-Cortez earned this title, as one of her first acts as a member of Congress was to propose the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal is an environmental and climate justice program that is meant to implement a transformative, historically radical economic mobilization against climate change that claims to provide sustainable jobs with a liveable wage, economic growth, and fairness to all. The Green New Deal, or GND, is based on equity and opportunity being a significant part of the United States’ transition into a climate-friendly society. The GND promises an equitable development for marginalized communities as the United States eliminates fossil fuels and environmentally sound, inclusive job opportunities. Its primary resolution is to have a fossil fuel-free American economy in the next 10 years.

After Ocasio-Cortez introduced the GND, the Sunrise Movement was founded to push for the GND resolutions. Sunrise is a movement made up primarily of young adults which encourages youth leadership and elder guidance. With the help of the Sunrise Movement, the GND now has the backing of 103 cosponsors in Congress and counting.

On March 26, 2019, the Senate voted on the GND because of the insistence of Senator Mitch McConnell. Some said the vote was uncalled for and unfair because there was no hearing or expert testimony previously. No senators voted to move forward with the current legislation; 57 senators including four Democrats voted against it. 43 senators simply voted present, including all six who have announced presidential bids.

Another organization aimed at environmental justice is also making headlines. Our Children’s Trust is the supporting organization of Juliana v. the U.S. Government. The 21 plaintiffs are suing the government for their right to a livable future on the ground that several executive branches have been aware of manmade climate change and its effect on the American public and have not acted.

While some insist the Deal and other movements are the only options available in this time of environmental crisis, others call it a socialist measure or unrealistic. Junior Nick Kassis agrees with this sentiment.

“I believe that the United States government can’t help the climate change cause. The country is unable to establish a decent health care plan, so if a country can’t get health care right, then there is no possible way that they can help in global climate change,” said Kassis. “I don’t think these changes in the climate will affect me personally. I don’t see how the [fact that the planet is] getting hotter or colder would affect my of life at all. Humans adapt to their environment, so if the environment changed, we would change with it.”

Senior Amy Dunnery is an advocate for environmental justice and believes that the U.S. should be taking a stronger stance on issues of climate justice.

“I do believe that the government should be doing more to combat climate change. By now they should have already declared a national emergency on this problem,” said Dunnery. “The US government role in the international fight against climate change is conducting researches and programs on this issue, which they haven’t done. It’s scary that no one is really worried about this issue, including President Trump, who we, as a nation, are supposed to respect. I might not be able to have and raise children in such a terrible environment if we don’t make a change within the next 10 years or so. Since we are on the coast too, we will soon be underwater when the icebergs melt and the ocean levels rise.”