Over eight decades ago, the Dust Bowl devastated over 100,000,000 acres of agricultural land and the Great Depression threw 15 million Americans out of work. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted The New Deal with sweeping national programs for work, agriculture, food, and land conservation.
Today, the plan for a Green New Deal recently announced by congressional representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders is facing down even greater crises.
Forty years of bipartisan consensus on neoliberal economic policies has produced unsustainable levels of global warming. It’s also polluted our water, destroyed our soils, contaminated our air, and poisoned our bodies. This destruction has gone hand in hand with the rise of unprecedented economic inequality.
It is time to demand real—Rooseveltian—leadership from our elected officials on climate and equity issues. But policy gridlock runs deep. As the Sunrise Movement points out, either politicians advance policies without mobilizing their base for support, or social movements mobilize without elected officials to turn demands into policy.