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Excerpt: "The Green New Deal's demand to make our energy system 100% renewable has become central to the new American Dream. It's essential to our survival, both economically and ecologically."

Young activists demonstrate in favor of a Green New Deal at the U.S. Capitol building. (photo: Civil Eats)
Young activists demonstrate in favor of a Green New Deal at the U.S. Capitol building. (photo: Civil Eats)

46 Ways a BIG Green New Deal Can Raise the Spirit of Godmother Eleanor

By Joel Segal and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

31 January 19


he Green New Deal’s demand to make our energy system 100% renewable has become central to the new American Dream. It’s essential to our survival, both economically and ecologically.

But the original New Deal, whose Godmother was Eleanor Roosevelt, embraced a broad vision of remaking society as a whole. It aimed to end poverty, win social justice, promote the arts, and much, much more.

So here’s a partial list of New Deal-style changes to create a fair, decent, sustainable world. We welcome your own suggestions at

  1. All power generation must come, no later than 2030, from 100% renewable sources, primarily wind and solar, but also from ocean thermal, geothermal, wave and tidal technologies, eco-friendly biomass, and more.

  2. All such facilities must be produced and sited in harmony with the natural and socially-just human environment.

  3. Environmentally sound batteries must be deployed to guarantee continuity of supply, with massive increases in funding for research into new technologies based on cheap, widely available, eco-friendly materials.

  4. Deployment of these large-scale batteries must be accompanied by a global infrastructure established to collect, reuse, and recycle all old batteries of any and all sizes, keeping them out of landfills, where they’re an eco-disaster.

  5. A massive push for increased efficiency, as with LED lighting, must be rapidly deployed to minimize future energy consumption while enhancing output.

  6. This new green energy system must be structured to ensure maximum local ownership and control through the use of micro-grids and other community-based networks, to maximize the democratization of our power supply.

  7. Our entire transportation system must be converted to electric power, with a major new grid of public-owned mass transit and commuter bike paths to ease the crisis of traffic jams plaguing our cities.

  8. The production of gas-fired internal-combustion vehicles must be banned by 2030.

  9. All existing fossil and nuclear fuel burners must be shut to counteract the climate chaos. Our energy system must be 100% clean and renewable by 2030.

  10. All residual fossil/nuke wastes must be managed with minimal damage to the eco-human future, especially as concerns the potential use of radioactive waste to make nuclear weapons.

  11. The Solartopian transition will create millions of jobs to be managed through a Green Jobs Corps that will provide retraining for at least three million workers and guarantee these jobs are unionized, well-paid, and open to all.

  12. While this conversion from obsolete fossil/nuke generators to green renewables will produce massive wealth, its interim up-front conversion costs will be covered with savings redirected from the imperial military.

  13. The transition will be guided by a “Brain Trust” of experts, activists, and administrators appointed by the Congressional Progressive Congress, operating through a Green Marshall Plan, Green Trust Fund, Green Labor Transition Fund, and other “alphabet agencies” to coordinate the various programs.

  14. A global campaign to collect, recycle, and reuse the countless tons of plastics spewed throughout our planet must be deployed in concert with a restructuring and ultimate phase-out of plastics production in a way to create maximum energy recapture and jobs production.

  15. American agriculture must transition from toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers into organics that will sustain a food supply that’s cleaner, cheaper, more reliable, and more abundant than today’s chemical-based disaster.

  16. The original New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps planted some 32 million trees; climate scientists have proposed planting six billion to serve as our best carbon sink, creating countless jobs along the way.

  17. Small-scale family/community-based farming must be encouraged to the greatest extent possible in place of environmentally destructive agribusiness.

  18. A national health system – “Medicare for All” – must be installed to guarantee all Americans adequate health care coverage.

  19. Such a program will create jobs while saving American society trillions in terms of reduced delivery costs, improved health, lowered anxiety, extended lifespans, reduced bankruptcies, and much more.

  20. A national program to reduce and ultimately eliminate residual medical debt must be enacted.

  21. A national program to rebuild and reboot our educational system must include hiring at least a million new teachers to reduce class sizes as much and as soon as possible.

  22. Our schools must be upgraded, removing lead pipes and asbestos while installing efficient lighting, insulation, and rooftop solar panels, saving billions annually.

  23. All community college tuition must be immediately eliminated, followed by all tuition at all other federal- and state-run institutions of higher learning.

  24. A national program to reduce and ultimately eliminate residual student debt must be enacted.

  25. Cannabis in all forms, including industrial hemp, must be wholly legalized.

  26. All citizens incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses must be immediately released and their records expunged.

  27. All private prisons must be taken over by the community, with an end to internal violence, involuntary servitude, sexual abuse, and administrative corruption.

  28. All homelessness must end with sufficient affordable (eco-friendly) housing, social and psychiatric counseling, general health care, and other necessary programs for the mental, physical, and other health issues causing millions of Americans (many of them veterans) to be without decent shelter.

  29. All Americans who retire or who face special challenges should receive a minimum of $3,500/month through Social Security, SSDI, or unemployment payments.

  30. A Federal Unemployment Insurance Fund at the Department of Labor will strengthen support and retraining programs for those losing their jobs in the transition to the Solartopian economy.

  31. A “Federal Resiliency/Adaptation Fund” will work through FEMA to help communities devastated by global climate change.

  32. All US troops must come home. Our overseas bases must be sold and the empire dissolved. US military and covert agencies must refrain from further invasions of foreign countries and manipulations of their elections and other governmental operations – except in cases of mass murder and eco-destruction when joined by other forces in conjunction with a legitimate vote of the United Nations General Assembly.

  33. Funds thus saved will provide all Americans with the basics for a decent life, i.e., food, housing, clothing, medical care, transportation, and education.

  34. All US elections will use hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots.

  35. Open-source electronic machines may be used to print ballots on demand at designated precincts, creating a digital image of all such ballots which can be electronically counted and recounted while preserving the original ballots for recounts, which shall be conducted freely and openly.

  36. All Congressional, state, and local legislative districts shall be drawn by independent, nonpartisan commissions.

  37. As per the Tillman Act of 1907, no corporation may contribute funds directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to any candidate running for public office.

  38. Individual contributions, in cash or in kind to any candidate for public office must be limited to $27.

  39. All discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference, religion, different abling, or any other diverse aspect of the human panoply must end.

  40. The Progressive Caucus of Congress will establish a “Brain Trust” to engineer the Green Marshall Plan, Green Trust Fund, Green Labor Transition Trust Fund, and other agencies needed to administer the above.

  41. The Green Marshall Plan will pay for the upfront costs of building energy-efficient and solar-powered affordable housing and buildings to address the U.S. homeless and affordable housing crisis. We need to build about 7 million units of affordable housing, built by non-profit developers, or by the City entities such as Housing Authorities or other City housing agencies.

  42. The dedicated Green Trust Fund will have an ironclad revenue stream like the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds to fund the Green Marshall Plan and Green New Deal, reverse the death tax (reinstate taxes on wealthy estates upon death – we lost hundreds of billions of dollars), reverse the Trump, George W. Bush, and Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy, tax millionaires and billionaires, levy a federal tax on e-cigarettes, end corporate welfare and off-shore bank accounts, levy a luxury tax on foreign automobiles such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, and yachts.

  43. The Green Labor Transition Fund of the Department of Labor will pay the salaries, housing, and benefits, for up to two years, for workers from the fossil fuel industry who will be trained and rehired in the new green economy.

  44. The Great Clean Renewable Energy Transition Plan will become a federal bill, accompanied by Hill briefings, town hall meetings, floor statements, and one-minutes on the House Floor. We need 170 co-sponsors by June 1, 2019, and a hearing and mark-up on the bill by June 1, 2019. We want the bill passed in the next two years.

  45. Getting this radical, transformative Green New Deal bill through Congress will demand a WWII-scale mobilization with a politically and strategically coordinated united front, inside and outside of Congress, and an unprecedented level of solidarity. A “critical mass” and “grand strategy” to defeat the fossil/nuke industry, Wall Street, the big banks, and “elected” officials owned by these corporate behemoths is a heavy lift. But there are more of us than them! And we have no choice.

  46. A massive new Green Arts Fund will sponsor a rebirth of public creativity, funding murals, plays, music, films, books, radio, TV, and internet works to echo the PWA, WPA and other public arts programs of the original New Deal, with enhanced funding for NPR, PBS, and other public news, information, and creative arts endeavors.

There is much more. We look forward to your Green New Solartopian suggestions at

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Joel Segal is National Coordinator of the Justice Action Mobilization Network and former Senior Congressional Staffer for Rep. John Conyers. Harvey Wasserman’s Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at; California Solartopia is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica, 90.7 fm, Los Angeles. His Life & Death Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to Trump to Solartopia will soon be at

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+22 # librarian1984 2019-01-31 20:14
We must expend our conception of 'rights'.

47. Animal welfare, including the protection of migration routes, should be considered in decision making. This planet is not just ours.

48. Water deserves rights, including specific waterways like rivers.

49. Distribute profits to workers and organizations that serve the people, not just kleptocrats and corporations.

50. Design elections so they choose for wisdom, intelligence and empathy, not greed and corruption.

51. Legislate to rescind Citizens United and the notion of corporate personhood.

52. Rescind the Telecommunicati ons Act and restore the Fairness Doctrine.

53. Tax Wall Street.

54. Restore net neutrality.

For starters. I can think of lots more.
+8 # Observer 47 2019-02-01 13:49
Animal rights!! Near and dear to my heart. If we don't take care of the non-human creatures, we're doomed.
+25 # librarian1984 2019-01-31 20:26
53. Establish a national Green Bank.
+7 # economagic 2019-01-31 21:09
Great aspirations, Joel and Sluggo, and a great starting point for my own version of a GND. With a lot of "blood, toil, tears, and sweat, and a mountain or two of luck, we may just be able to pull it off while pulling ourselves out.
0 # Yadayada 2019-02-01 12:29
All good except for nuclear:

Nuclear does not increase global warming beyond the CO2 emissions required for extraction and transport of fuel (this could be electrical therefore nuclear) plus construction of the plants - just as for wind and other renewables.

Nuclear entails some risks but they are widely exagerated. For instance while the Fukushima catastrophe is still ongoing and was mismanaged to the hilt, where are the thousands of tyroid cancers that were expected? How many people were killed by the nuclear accident proper (answer: about a hundred, all due to the evacuation).

Compared to that, how many people are killed by fine particules released by coal-fired power plants every year? (Include lung cancers, radioactive particules released in the smoke and all.)
Or by the corresponding global warming?

Nuclear is not perfect, far from it, but thinking we can wean our economy of carbon-based fuels without using nuclear is a recipe for not achieving anything.

While we might get to a fully renewable energy system, nuclear is a necessary evil pro tempore.

And no, I have no money in nuclear.
+6 # economagic 2019-02-01 16:56
Nuclear does indeed have problems, including construction costs growing by the year, and the ever-present lack of regulation and enforcement and just plain human error. I would suggest that fully renewable energy should be our goal, and that reducing the global energy budget should be a part of that and will inevitably be an aspect of the other changes that reduction of resource throughput will necessitate in order to stabilize all the other parts of the ecosphere, with new types of nuclear reactions a last resort.
+3 # economagic 2019-02-01 21:39
One additional point against nuclear, which I of all people should have remembered. It has two parts:

1) It now costs less to generate electrical power using wind and solar than it does to generate it using fossil fuels, which is still generally cheaper than nuclear even ignoring the externalities.

2) The price of industrial scale batteries is also plummeting, and the latest technologies such as zinc-air are much greener and more reliable than were the technologies of just a decade ago. It cannot be said that the "storage problem," ostensibly the Achilles heel of renewable energy, has been definitively solved, but recent advances point strongly in that direction.
+10 # agit8ortom 2019-02-01 12:32
Some additions that are central:

1. Enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. As long as monopolies are ignored, powerful conglomerates will continue to lobby and distort our political system to their advantage and to the disadvantage of the people and small businesses.

2. We must repeal the National Labor Relations Act of 1947 (also known as the Taft-Hartley Act). During the 1930's there were strikes, lock-outs and sit-ins The instability was finally stabilized with the 1935 National Labor relations Act (or the Wagner Act). The conservatives hated the union movement, because it gave workers dignity and power. They created numerous strictures to reduce union power by passing the National Labor Relations Act of 1947 (also known as the Taft-Hartley Act). Unionism worked well for the dozen years of the Wagner Act and the conservative restrictions messed it up. It is time this restrictive legislation be rescinded.
+7 # 2019-02-01 12:38
Whoa! That's what I'm talking about! And I think there are millions more who are coalescing around a similar vision. Lets make this happen. Great job Harvey and Joel.
+6 # dandevries 2019-02-01 17:45
The remarkable thing about that list is that is all can be done. Not, of course, that it necessarily will be. But definitely worth advocating for.

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