Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez during the Green New Deal Press Release. Photo from Wikimedia.

Plastered all over social media and news outlets, the Green New Deal, proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a controversial proposal to say the least. Few know exactly what Ocasio-Cortez has proposed in its entirety. The Green New Deal attacks issues renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, climate change, indigenous peoples, and so much more. At just 29 years old, Ocasio-Cortez has created a complex, influential proposal, which may or may not change the course of United States energy.

In the Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez addresses “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” She also addresses upgrading all existing buildings in the U.S. to fully reach energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, etc. Ocasio-Cortez calls for the investments in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure manufacturing and clean and affordable public transportation. As for climate change and agriculture, Ocasio-Cortez goes beyond limiting pollution in urban and suburban areas, but seeks to address climate change on an agricultural, rural standpoint. With livestock accounting for a significant percentage of the greenhouse gas emissions globally, just attacking the issues off of the farm, out of the agricultural sector, will not fulfill the overall goals of the Green New Deal.

Another major subject she addresses in her proposal, Ocasio-Cortez calls for the consent of all matters than may affect indigenous peoples in the U.S, which although at face-value is unrelated to the premise of the Green New Deal as a whole, is especially important given previous instances of government interference on tribal land. The Dakota Access Pipeline caused many protests given the Pipeline would affect the drinking water at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

All in all, the Green New Deal is an unprecedented proposal in which not solely energy is addressed, but a variety of ideas, combining Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic “New Deal” with modern-day environmental issues. The proposal has caused a substantial divide, not only across party-lines, but within the Democratic party. The proposed bill is currently co-sponsored by Malden’s own Ed Markey.

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