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Jedediah Purdy @JedediahSPurdy
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Thread: On why the Green New Deal of @Ocasio2018, @RoKhanna, & others is such a good platform for thinking of our economic & ecological futures together, as part of a single project.
1. Human impact is so vast that economic & ecological policy can't be separated. There's >1,000 tons of built environment for every human being. We & our livestock outweigh wild mammals in biomass by >20:1. Ecology, which we all need to live, is in effect created by the economy.
2. So when political & legal decisions shape the economy, they are also shaping the natural world. This is true whether we do it deliberately & responsibly or not, so we might as well get good at it. Economic policy is environmental policy. & in an economy that's deeply in debt..
(3) ... to the natural, environmental policy determines whether the economy will thrive or crash. The economic-ecological interdependence is total.
4. So we need an economic vision of solidarity, security, & fairness that is also an ecological vision of responsibility, sustainability, & wise, radical transformation of infrastructure & technology. Either w/o the other will fail.
5. "Green New Deal" names this goal: the economy as a thing whose value is in the good lives it makes possible; ecology as the the ideal of living in a responsible, mutual relationship to all of life.
6. You could also call a Green New Deal the platform for a "commonwealth"--a world where economic wealth serves all & serves good, non-dominating communities, institutions, & relationships--& human thriving doesn't mean extracting & degrading other life.
7. A GND is also a call to revive the great history of justice-oriented environmentalism. The modern environmental justice movement is vital & essential. Its roots run back to women activists fighting workplace toxins decades before Silent Spring...
(8) ... Wilderness Society founders calling for "socialism" & regional planning as well as conservation of public lands, & coal miners in Appalachia working to *ban* strip mining & even calling for strikes to enforce environmentally appropriate mining (in the early 70s).
9. This isn't the first time people have seen that justice & environmental thriving are two sides of the same economic-ecological equation; but it may be the first time in a while that no one will be able to ignore it.
10. Also note: environmental vision has sometimes rallied great majorities. In 1970 the Clean Air Act passed the Senate unanimously & the House 355 with one dissenting vote. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was also unanimous in the Senate & had one House dissenter.
11. This was the last great political act of American majorities who believed in the constructive power of government. Those laws, though imperfect (including in ways EJ activists have done essential work pointing out), have made the country much much safer & healthier.
12. If we're going to revive the power of politics to give democratic shape to a people's economy, it makes political & historical as well as ecological sense to tie it to vision that the Green New Deal names. /fin
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