Chapter News

Climate Change, Womxn,
& the Green New Deal

Hollie Oakes-Miller
January 9, 2019

Climate change is a human-caused global crisis that according to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), must be addressed in the next decade if we are to avoid catastrophic planetary warming. The 2018 Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C by the IPCC calls for a complete transformation of our extraction based economy and global energy systems. This report is also clear that any transition we make to combat climate change must be rooted in equity since poor people and developing countries have not significantly contributed to the carbon pollution that has led to climate change. Yet those in poverty are more likely to be negatively impacted by the effects of climate change, and 70% of the world’s poor are womxn. Poor people are also more likely to live in areas that have a higher risk of experiencing climate change-driven weather disasters, such as low lying land that is subject to flooding from rivers, rising sea level, or increasingly large storm surges. Currently, about 26 million people on average, including over 18 million womxn, per year are being displaced and forced to become refugees because of climate change. It is well documented that displaced womxn and girls are more vulnerable to exploitation, violence, human- and sex-trafficking.

To address the climate crisis, incoming Representative for NY, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is also a member of DSA, has proposed creating a Select Committee to draft a Green New Deal (GND), which is a plan to radically transform our society and our economy. Not only would the GND tackle climate change but it also aims to combat income and wealth inequality; by creating a jobs programs that would provide training and guarantee a living wage job to anyone who wants one, by funding healthcare for all, and by strengthening unions, along with other strategies known to lift up the working class. Womxn, who represent the largest percentage of working poor in the US, and are less likely to be insured through their employer. Nearly 70% of uninsured womxn live in a household where one adult works full-time, so these programs will benefit womxn significantly by creating high wage, union jobs, while also providing healthcare for all womxn and their families regardless of employment status.

The current proposal for the GND, as outlined by Ocasio-Cortez, states the plan needs to, “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth.” The proposal also calls for massive federal expenditure to; create a renewable energy grid, to upgrade and decarbonize public transportation, and to modernize all residential and industrial buildings for energy efficiency, safety, and comfort. As outlined, the GND will take on most of the top issues that affect womxn every day, while also creating an environmentally sustainable world for us to live in, enjoy, and pass on to future generations.