1. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  2. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  3. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  4. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  5. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  6. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  7. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  8. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  9. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  10. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  11. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  12. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  13. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  14. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  15. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  16. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  17. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  18. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  19. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  20. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  21. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  22. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  23. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  24. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  25. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  26. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  27. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  28. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  29. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  30. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  31. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  32. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  33. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  34. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  35. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  36. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  37. THE NATURE GAP
  38. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  39. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  40. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  41. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  42. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  43. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  44. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  45. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  46. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  47. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  48. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  49. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  50. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  51. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  52. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  53. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  54. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  55. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  56. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  57. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  58. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  59. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  60. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  61. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  62. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  63. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  64. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  65. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  66. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  67. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  68. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  69. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  70. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  71. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  72. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  73. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  74. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  75. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  76. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  77. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  78. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  79. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  80. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  81. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  82. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  83. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  84. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  85. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  86. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  87. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  88. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  89. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  90. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  91. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  92. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  93. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  94. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  95. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  96. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  97. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  98. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  99. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  100. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  101. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  102. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  103. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  104. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  105. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  106. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  107. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  108. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  109. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  110. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  111. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  112. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  113. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  114. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  115. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  116. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  117. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  118. Are You Going to Drink That?
  119. The Origins of ecoWURD
  120. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  121. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  122. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  123. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Friday, December 3, 2021
  1. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  2. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  3. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  4. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  5. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  6. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  7. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  8. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  9. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  10. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  11. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  12. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  13. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  14. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  15. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  16. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  17. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  18. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  19. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  20. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  21. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  22. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  23. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  24. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  25. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  26. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  27. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  28. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  29. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  30. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  31. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  32. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  33. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  34. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  35. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  36. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  37. THE NATURE GAP
  38. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  39. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  40. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  41. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  42. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  43. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  44. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  45. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  46. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  47. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  48. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  49. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  50. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  51. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  52. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  53. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  54. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  55. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  56. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  57. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  58. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  59. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  60. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  61. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  62. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  63. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  64. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  65. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  66. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  67. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  68. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  69. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  70. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  71. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  72. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  73. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  74. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  75. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  76. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  77. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  78. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  79. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  80. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  81. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  82. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  83. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  84. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  85. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  86. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  87. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  88. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  89. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  90. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  91. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  92. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  93. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  94. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  95. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  96. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  97. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  98. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  99. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  100. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  101. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  102. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  103. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  104. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  105. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  106. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  107. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  108. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  109. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  110. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  111. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  112. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  113. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  114. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  115. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  116. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  117. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  118. Are You Going to Drink That?
  119. The Origins of ecoWURD
  120. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  121. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  122. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  123. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

By David A. Love

Climate change is on the minds of many these days.

And, yet, there’s just a limited amount of time to act. The consensus from the United Nations and most scientists is that it will be 12 years  to avert certain environmental catastrophe. We’ll need a myriad of solutions to protect against the extreme heat and drought, flooding, mass poverty and social dislocation and disruption that will ensue.

Big problems will require big solutions, and saving the Earth suggests a massive wartime-style mobilization is in order. The most high-profile proposal offered to date, at least in the U.S., is the Green New Deal. Unpacking the plan reveals a number of pros and cons.

But what will all of this mean for Black people?  

Answering that question requires the dominant presence of Black community advocates and policymakers in that mobilization. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed. Markey (D-Mass.) have each proposed Green New Deal legislation, which is actually a non-binding resolution calling for aggressive measures to cut carbon emissions into the atmosphere. And while Congressional Black Caucus members have signed on to it, they’re not the legislators creating or pushing it.  Yet, environmental racism is real and despite the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate crisis on Black people in the United States, the introduction of the Green New Deal presents a key question: Where does the Black political establishment stand on the Green New Deal? It doesn’t go unnoticed that there are no Black Members of Congress who are leading the push for it, even though they represent some of the most pollution-impacted and climate crisis-hit districts in the nation. In a competing House Select Committee on Climate Crisis formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), one CBC member, newly-elected Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), plays a role.  

Still, the Deal boasts a number of measures for creating jobs and boosting economic growth, including a renewed focus on economic justice for vulnerable communities. The jobs portion, of course, is an attractive proposition for African Americans who find themselves burdened with the highest unemployment rate among all demographic groups: a rise from 6 percent in November to 7 percent in February, roughly 85 percent higher than the national average.  Black male unemployment has risen from 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent.

The Green New Deal resolution suggests a fix for that, albeit details are scarce. It declares that “a new national, social, industrial and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal is a historic opportunity– (1) to create millions of good, high wage jobs in the United States; (2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people in the United States; and (3) to counteract systemic injustice.” Among the highlights of the 10-year mobilization plan, which is named after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, are the following:

  • Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% power demand through clean and renewable energy sources.
  • Healthcare, affordable housing, economic security and access to healthy and affordable food, clean water and air, and nature.
  • A guaranteed job with a family-sustaining wage, paid vacation and family and medical leave, and retirement benefits for all. High-quality union jobs with protected rights for organized labor.
  • Working with farmers and ranchers to eliminate greenhouse gases and pollution from the agricultural sector.
  • Overhauling transportation systems and buildings, and providing clean, accessible and affordable public transportation for everyone.
  • Upgrading and repairing infrastructure, building energy-efficient, “smart” power grids and ensuring clean and affordable power.
  • Boosting growth in clean manufacturing and industry.
  • Public investments in research and development in renewable and clean technology and industry, and investments in community development, with a priority on “vulnerable and frontline communities,” including “indigenous people, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.”
  • Education, including higher education, resources and training for all people, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities.
  • Obtaining consent from indigenous people and protecting their sovereignty and land rights.

There are a number of potential advantages from the Green New Deal for the Black community. For example, this sweeping industrial policy proposal places communities that bear the brunt of racial, economic and environmental injustice front and center. This includes Black and Brown communities, rather than merely the “White working class” or similar constituencies that are normally prioritized whenever jobs and the economy are mentioned.

Further, the plan purports to understand the need to connect the dots among economic, environmental and social stability. Cleaning up the planet also means not only dealing with an environmental crisis, but also addressing the interrelated crises of rising inequality and low upward social mobility, a racial wealth gap, and declining life expectancy. An environmental and energy policy that benefits all people equally is important, given that predominantly Black and Latino communities have “significantly less” solar panel installation. The disparities between Black and White solar panel users are significant and concerning: Black solar usage, according to a Nature Sustainability study, are nearly 70 percent behind Whites, a worrisome data point considering Black populations are the most impacted by issues such as urban heat islands and air pollution that are alleviated by renewable energy sourcing.

Ocasio-Cortez named this new initiative after F.D.R.’s New Deal with the understanding that the original New Deal — which arguably prevented full-scale Depression-era social unrest and arguably saved unchecked capitalism from itself, if it didn’t save America from unchecked capitalism — was racially discriminatory and excluded and exploited Black, Latino and Native American people. A Green New Deal, its supporters say, must not repeat those very intentional mistakes of racial exclusion and injustice, and some warn that a plan that is not broad and inclusive enough will only reinforce and perpetuate racial inequality. And if there is a push to save the environment, if there is an argument for remaking the nation to reflect the sense of urgency, policymakers must do so in a bold, sweeping and intersectional fashion rather than in incremental baby steps. The notion of creating a sustainable environment, economy and society with guaranteed jobs, healthcare and education is an appealing one, and the environmental policies enjoy a majority of popular support.

Any plan would require the political will and the votes, winning over the public, and withstanding those who claim it is too expensive–as much as $93 trillion according to some center-right critics. Climate deniers on the hard right, including those who claim the plan is a Stalinist plot to take everyone’s hamburgers, may never come around to supporting it … and maybe that’s alright.        

Unions such as the AFL-CIO energy committee–and not surprisingly the United Mine Workers– criticized the proposal. “We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions the speak to the jobs our members and the critical sectors of the economy,” the AFL-CIO wrote in a letter to Ocasio-Cortez and Markey.  “We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.”

Critics on the left believe the Green New Deal may not go far enough.

Some suggest that if the plan is going to work, there must be a commitment to addressing the victims of the housing crisis — including those disproportionately Black folks who fell prey to the foreclosure crisis, are fuel-poor or suffered power shut offs — and building 10 million public carbon-free homes in 10 years. Still, others believe the Green New Deal is not radical, but is a mere lifesaver to restore a dying system of capitalism to its mid-twentieth century status. Terri Friedline of the American Prospect argues that the Green New Deal must take on the activities of global capitalism itself, which “amplify racial and gender disparities in how people experience the effects of climate change.” While the poor and people of color are already the most vulnerable to climate change, Friedline notes, wealthy white people have the money to “buy greater distance between themselves and extreme weather.”  

Meanwhile, climate justice activists are concerned he Green New Deal does not phase out fossil fuels, leaves nuclear energy and uranium mining on Native lands on the table, and the net-zero provision would allow high-carbon polluters to continue to do business, only exacerbating environmental conditions in already vulnerable frontline communities. Further, the plan is not perfect in that it does not address land use, cities and sprawl – all of the above which perpetuates racial and economic segregation.   

The Congressional Black Caucus has not taken a public position. Spokespersons for the caucus and CBC Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) tell ecoWURD that the CBC has not issued an official stance on the Green New Deal. However, Rep. Bass announced her support for the measure before being sworn in. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), both presidential hopefuls, are among the co-sponsors of the Green New Deal resolution.

Other Black lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill include: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Alcee Hastings (D- Fla.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

Considering its strengths or flaws, the Green New Deal is an open acknowledgement that addressing our environmental challenges means creating a new economy and making society work for everyone. Whatever the Green New Deal or any future alternative solutions may ultimately take, change will most certainly come. Black people will want to make sure they are front and center in that discussion. Black policymakers will then need to ensure their communities are sitting at the table, lest they find themselves left behind and languishing in a permanent heat wave of racial injustice.