A Green New Deal
We support an Ecosocialist Green New Deal, which puts people and the planet before profits. As per DSA’s Ecosocialist Green New Deal, “We must warn all politicians that we will not accept a watered-down Green New Deal that they exploit as a mere electoral slogan. They will either fight for the radical Green New Deal that emerges from our coalition or be exposed as collaborators with the ecocidal elite who have no concern for our future.”
Breaking our Reliance on Carbon and Petrochemicals
Our addiction to automobiles is no accident, nor is it the fault of the average American. It is the result of decades of federal spending at the behest of auto companies and oil companies who profit mightily when everyone must own a car in order to get around. Each automobile—on average—drains the family budget of $8,000 per year. Our city, state and federal governments can easily change our transportation future by redirecting transportation funding to trains and buses, which shall be free at the point of service, so as to maximize ridership.
This is not limited to human transportation: The average bite of food travels 1500 miles before it reaches our plates. This system is designed for cheap production and long shelf life but is bad for our health. It is profitable for food monopolies but bad for our carbon output, our water quality and our pollinators. Currently less than 1% of our food is grown locally. And yet we are surrounded by the country’s most fertile ground, and abundant rainfall. We should make it easy for local farmers to grow tasty, nutritious food and sell it locally. We should connect aspiring farmers with mentors and markets. We should make it easy for aspiring farmers to access usable land. The city owns an abundance of usable land but gaining access is elusive and complicated. A well funded land trust could serve to streamline access to city-owned land.
Capitalist advertising and commercialism have trained people to buy mowers, weed eaters and lawn chemicals to create the “perfect” lawn. Cities and neighborhood associations pressure people into conformity. Mowing is a high carbon, high pollution activity that is bad for water quality and wildlife, including pollinators and birds. The city should eliminate ordinances that require indiscriminate mowing and the needless elimination of “weeds” (aka, wildflowers and tree seedlings). The city and state spend millions of dollars on mowing every year. This money would be better spent on less expensive, more ecological approaches that employ selective weeding but allow native wildflowers and trees to grow. This would provide habitat for bees, butterflies and birds while absorbing carbon and enhancing the quality of our air and water.
Trees, bushes and wildflowers provide a cooling effect to counteract Louisville’s rapidly growing urban heat island. An urban heat island occurs when pavement and concrete in the city absorb and retain heat far in excess of the surrounding countryside. The urban heat island contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular disease in humans, impacting longevity, quality of life and healthcare costs, especially in poorer neighborhoods. We support and applaud neighborhood tree planting efforts, but we also support meaningful restrictions on deforestation at the hands of developers for construction of roads, buildings, pipelines and utility easements, and stronger public efforts to protect and expand our urban tree canopy.
We must also confront the issue directly. Individual changes in lifestyle are not enough to forestall the coming ecological catastrophe. Nearly all pollution is the fault of large corporations and militaries, and solutions to climate change must focus on systemic changes to our economic and political systems. We demand that Kentucky politicians take on the coal barons and energy companies that stifle efforts for better environmental policy. Fracking for oil and natural gas is an unmitigated disaster for climate, for air quality, for water quality and for human health. We should immediately ban fracking at the state and local level, awaiting a federal ban. The City of Louisville, which obtains its drinking water from the Ohio River, should demand a federal ban on fracking in the entire Ohio River Valley.
We should bring the industry of coal mining to an end, with a just economic transition for impacted workers and communities. We oppose the expansion of the petrochemical industry in Kentucky. The Appalachian Storage Hub (ASH) is a planned $400 billion petrochemical complex that promises to turn the Ohio River Valley into “Cancer Valley” just as parts of Louisiana and Texas became known as Cancer Alley. Our Metro Council should pass a resolution demanding an immediate halt to this project.
Ecosocialist Policies Must Favor the Working Class
We support a just transition for Kentucky’s coal miners and related workers. We support a federal jobs guarantee for all workers, including former coal, oil and gas workers. We also support free public college and trade school for all workers. An Ecosocialist Green New Deal would also include an abundance of socially beneficial jobs, including energy efficiency retrofitting for buildings and homes, construction of train systems, organic farming and ecological forestry, to name a few.
The Ecosocialist Green New Deal calls for us to “democratize control over major energy systems and resources.” Therefore we call on the city and state to convert Louisville Gas & Electric into a publicly owned utility. Currently, LG&E is owned and controlled by international finance capital (Vanguard Funds) and persistently undermines the public interest by aggressively promoting new pipelines and denying fair treatment for residential rooftop solar.
An End to Conspicuous Consumption
Consumer culture needs us to each own a separate power drill, Monopoly game and Lego set. And yet we typically use these items for a few hours per year, if that. Tool and toy libraries would ease the family budget and the ecological impact of these items while creating a whole new relationship with our tools, our toys and our neighbors; these resources can be administered through our public library system. An Ecosocialist Green New Deal calls for thriving—and well-funded—collective spaces like these.
Our limitless consumption demands more and more resource extraction and manufacture that must be limited as public policy. No timber harvesting on public lands. No mining on public lands. Reinvent our communities and economy to serve the people and the planet, upend production for profit and institute production for use. Human ingenuity and industrial production should be promoted at the benefit for all those within our society. That all new infrastructure, works projects and facilities be built with the intent of advancing the wellbeing of the working class and for future generations. Provide a just transition for workers, through a federal jobs program guarantee, out of ecologically harmful industries into well paid union jobs that would serve to build our communities and protect the environment.
Survival Is Not for Sale
The Ecosocialist Green New Deal calls for us to “decommodify survival by guaranteeing living wages, healthcare, childcare, housing, food, water, energy, public transit, a healthy environment, and other necessities for all.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. urged us to provide for these necessities because people contribute the most to society, not when they work as slaves, but when they are freed from the daily struggle for survival. Our ecological crisis requires the best from everyone. People can’t be at their best when they are constantly struggling to survive. We will do our best work when we are freed from economic necessity, free to pursue our passions, free to choose our work and free to choose our relationships.
We Can Pay for It
Politicians and pundits balk at the price tag of a Green New Deal, but the accumulated wealth of the ruling class is more than sufficient for these priorities when properly taxed and redistributed. The United States government seems to have unlimited funds to spend, as adherents to Modern Monetary Theory would argue; we saw this in the 2009 bank bailout and the 2020 CARES Act, which showered trillions of dollars upon the world’s richest capitalists. We see this same lavish abundance when politicians want to spend money on war, surveillance and policing. It is only when the government is called upon to invest in people or the planet that scarcity is invoked. The government has the money. It’s just a question of whether they will invest it in the needs of the many or squander it on the whims of a few.