If Candidates Don't Address Climate Forcefully Enough Now, They Won't When They Get To DC
The Climate Crisis has motivated a lot of the Blue America candidates to run for Congress. And there's no doubt we need more members dedicated to fighting for Climate amelioration... and fast-- or it will be people like Joe Manchin and Mitch McConnell who destroy what slim chance we have left for a livable planet. Today, Steven Holden, the candidate we endorsed to run in Central New York for the blue seat held by conservative Republican John Katko, released his 15 point plan for a Green New Deal specific for his own district.
"The Green New Deal," he wrote, "is the most transformational piece of legislation introduced in the past 90 years since fellow NY Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal. Much like the period in which he introduced that legislation, we are in a time where we must change the way we view our economy to ensure a future for generations to come. This plan is both intergovernmental, as it incorporates Federal, State, Local, and Tribal entities, but also cooperative, as it works with local businesses to ensure they have a say in this transformation. The 15-point plan is as follows:
1. Support for a Green Amendment movement at the State level, and after three-fourths of the states enact, we enact this at the National level. This concept would secure a Constitutional right to pure water, clean air, a stable climate & healthy environment, for all people, including future generations, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or income. This concept founds the backbone of the rest of this policy for the Green New Deal for CNY.
2. Reduction in Department of Defense (DoD) spending by 15%. This is done by requiring DoD to reduce wasteful overspending on contracts. With some of these reductions we will create a Green Initiatives Fund under the EPA which will fund various parts of the agenda. This will not reduce military readiness, as this concept reduces billions in overcharging and streamlines the contracting process that is often fraught with planning issues.
3. Creation of the National Landlords’ Reclamation Fund. This fund will augment local and state initiatives to repair substandard housing. This will replace, repair, and modernize housing with substandard levels of toxic poisoning. This will help residents on Syracuse’s Southside and the Onondaga Nation have livable and sustainable housing.
4. Increase the standard from 35% to 75% for local contracting of Federal initiatives, as well as Federal-State partnerships. This will build capital for local businesses who also have a personal investment in these projects. An example of this is the I-81 project and the Community Grid.
5. Under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (which I will introduce legislation to rename as the Bureau of Indigenous Affairs), we will ensure areas around Onondaga Lake have full remediation, and any profit from business from that land will be subject to 10% repatriation to the Onondaga Nation. We will continue to work with Indigenous Communities here in Central NY to have fair compensation from businesses on Tribal land.
6. Create the National Green Community Jobs initiative that will remediate and/or retrofit the Central NY industrial base to produce sustainable energy products.
7. Work with rural CNY farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating a National Emissions Tax Credit for Agriculture and a Responsible Environment (NET CARE) initiative. This will give tax credits to family farmers to transition to green energy (wind, solar, and water), and give carbon tax credits to family farms. This will increase capital in rural communities as well as allow them to pay livable wages to farm labor.
8. Protect rural access to the economy. This means full funding of the USPS and reverse the damages done by the Trump Administration to postal services. Also, this will expand and maintain broadband access to rural communities.
9. Increase funding to frontline caregivers. We will create a National Caregivers Fund which will allow those who care for older and at-risk Central New Yorkers to receive additional funding from the Federal Government via Cooperative Agreements between Federal and State entities. They can apply for these funds yearly and receive the funds month. We will fund this from part of the DoD contract reforms.
10. Reinvesting in public transportation and high-speed rail. Creating a Federal fund for States and localities to either retrofit, upgrade, or purchase new buses with zero-emission capabilities.
11. Eliminating student loan debt and fully-funding two years of higher education. Students at places such as Onondaga Community College would receive free education, and students at SUNY-Oswego would receive their first two years free. Students at private institutions such as Syracuse and LeMoyne may receive equivalent funding to offset charges based upon a State average for equivalent public education.
12. Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States. This includes a $15 minimum wage and indexed every year to inflation. Parents may receive up to one month paid leave after the birth of a child, annually, or to care for a family member.
13. Changing Medicare funding to the States from block grants to cooperative agreements. This would allow greater Federal oversight of earmarked Medicare funds and prevent States from spending more money on administrative fees versus actual care.
14. Changing Unemployment Benefits to the States from block grants to cooperative agreements for the same reason. Too often, States will refuse to pay these benefits regardless of eligibility. This will prevent and penalize States who do not administer these funds for their intended purpose.
15. Work with State and Local governments to eliminate the property tax model for school funding. This is an old Jim Crow era model, and it needs to be eliminated. We will take some of the funding listed above to create a Community Education Fund to level the playing field for students in all school districts receive the same educational opportunities.
Down in Virginia, Ally Dalsimer has spent the last 30 years of her professional life working as an advocate in the environmental/Climate field, having among other things served on Obama's White House Climate Council. Marianne Williamson asked her to com up with a one-pager so that other progressive candidates could benefit from Ally's experience. The paper below provides ideas and resources for how folks can make a difference at an individual level, while we work to get into office to make a difference at a national level. If Climate is an important issue to you and you'd like to contribute to candidates eager to fight for it... well that's what the thermometer above is for. Just click on it and donate what you can to Steven Holden's and Ally Dalsimer's campaigns. In fact, there is no one on that list who isn't committed to the Green New Deal.
The Global Warming Survival Guide-- Working at All Levels to Make a Change
-by Ally Dalsimer
The Big Idea: It sometimes can feel like climate change is such a huge issue that there’s nothing we, as individuals, can do about it. It’s true that over 70% of global emissions come from just 100 companies, but that doesn’t mean that our individual actions are useless. The choices that we make every day have power--and taking personal responsibility for climate change amplifies that power. If we make protecting the environment a priority in all of our lives, we can empower our representatives (i.e., we who are running and those already elected) to make substantial policy changes.
Call to Action Messaging: I’ll push for climate-smart policies in office, but that’s only half the equation. We need to make changes at the individual and political (national/regional/county) levels if we are to maximize and leverage positive outcomes.
A comprehensive approach vs. some easy things we all can do Remembering the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) - click hyperlinks for more info
● Use less
○ Take canvas or cloth bags to the store (avoids needing the store’s plastic bags)
○ Learn what and how to recycle in your community
○ Pack waste-free meals with reusable silverware and containers ○
● Eat Smart
○ Reduce meat consumption-- try Meatless Mondays!
○ Buy seasonal produce that is grown locally
○ Try non-dairy alternatives
● Reduce Energy Use
○ Unplug chargers, power strips, and technologies that aren’t in use
○ Turn your heat down (in the winter) or up (in the summer)
○ Trade out incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones
● Be a Climate Smart Consumer
○ Buy used-- shop for second-hand items or borrow from friends
○ Buy values-- shop with companies that are good stewards of our environment
○ Purchase items in bulk to cut down on package materials
● Be Loud-- Your Dollars Have Power
○ Boycott companies that waste and abuse our resources, and get others to join
○ Contact companies to ask them to consider switching to 100% sustainable packaging
○ Contact local, state, and national political representatives to ask what they’re doing to help
● Share this information with friends and family!