The Green New Deal

Democrats Are Fighting For A New Era Of Clean Energy And Job Security In The U.S., But It Might Be A Bit Idealistic

Only time will tell whether this enthusiasm by our fresh crop of Democrats will be rewarded.

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This past week, the cohort of the Democratic Party referred to as "Liberal Democrats" unveiled a revolutionary "Green New Deal" resolution highlighted by a sweeping resolution intended to eliminate additional emissions of carbon from the United States by 2030. The campaign, spearheaded by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, calls for such prospective measures as a 10-year commitment to convert 100% of the power demand in the United States to clean, renewable, zero-emission energy sources in sectors as varied as electricity generation, transportation and agriculture.

Such a strategy also prioritizes the creation of jobs in order to boost the economy, whilst also paying attention to marginalized communities (such as lower-income Americans and minority communities) that might be disproportionately affected by the economic transitions inherent in the Green New Deal.

The ultimate goal of the bill, as stated by Ocasio-Cortez's front office, is to completely eliminate the usage of fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. Some initiatives intended to combat our current utilization include the upgrading of all existing architecture for maximum energy efficiency, working with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions whilst not compromising agricultural income, expanding transportation via increased investment in electric car manufacturing and the production of a high-speed rail to render air travel irrelevant in order to reduce emissions.

In addition, the proposition calls for a guaranteed job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security for every American, and high-quality health care across the United States.

Predictably, these goals have come across as highly ambitious aims set about by an overly idealistic sect of the Democratic Party, such that even the current Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has no plan to bring it to the floor for a vote (despite the number of major Democratic presidential candidates that have signed off on it). While the initiative was introduced as a set of nonbinding resolutions in the House and Senate, it has been criticized as having near-impossible goals.

Postdoctoral environmental fellow Jesse Jenkins of Harvard's Kennedy School claimed that the idea of being carbon-neutral within a decade is potentially unreachable, and urged a more conservative approach to a net zero carbon economy by 2050, which would still require vast resources to reduce carbon emissions. Among the Republican Party, the Green New Deal has garnered significant opposition from Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who claimed it to be "a Washington takeover of our nation's energy system" by the "far-left-wing," and the conservative Club for Growth branded it as a "job-killing, socialist wish list."

While the goals outlined in the Green New deal are certainly ambitious by all metrics, they reflect a growing desire of the progressive movement to work towards financial stability for all citizens and a higher form of efficient energy utilization that is both environmentally friendly and produces far better results than current sources. Only time will tell whether this enthusiasm by our fresh crop of Democrats will be rewarded with the fruits of clean energy and job security for the United States.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pete Buttigieg Is On Everybody's Radar Now, But Can Mayor Pete Really Become President Pete?

Charisma, polyglot and success in reviving a Midwestern city make him a viable candidate for president. But will this hold?

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At the time of writing this, at least 18 people are vying for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Donald Trump during the Presidential election in 2020. This includes some heavyweights, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. There are also fringe candidates, like Andrew Yang. Then there are the formerly fringe candidates. One person fits that bill: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg has erupted as a potential candidate for the Presidency. He recently took 9% of a recent poll in Iowa, the state that begins the general election season. The question is this: why has he gained so much traction? There are several potential reasons.

First, Mayor Pete has, at least compared to Trump, significant governmental experience as the mayor of South Bend. He has been mayor since 2011. He began his time in office at the age of 29 and has since been re-elected with 80% of the vote in 2015. His success in the city has shown: the city experienced significant growth following a population decline between 2000-2010.

The Mayor has also spearheaded some rebirth projects in the city, including converting the old Studebaker plant in town into a tech hub, conversion of the city streets downtown, and millions of dollars of private investment into the city. As a result, Mayor Pete can tout his success here as examples of why he could be president.

Other supporters claim that he is immensely talented and intelligent (though I do not like this reasoning). Mayor Pete was a Rhodes Scholar after attending Harvard. He knows myriad languages, including Norwegian. He is well-acquainted with various philosophies, including that of well-known intellectual Antonio Gramsci, whom his father has written on.

Though this line of thinking is flawed (I mean, Julian Castro attended Stanford, Cory Booker was also a Rhodes Scholar and Elizabeth Warren lectured at Harvard Law School), it is easy to see WHY he resonates: when compared to the President, Pete is levels above him.

Finally, a lot of what he says resonates with people. He speaks about his faith with fervor and honesty, something I appreciate greatly. He talks about the virtues of progressive politics and supporting policies like universal healthcare, labor unionism, combating climate change among other policies. His youth ideals combined are valued by many.

However, Pete still has his critics. Concerns about the gentrification of the city, wiretapping, and targeting of vacant properties that led to accusations of targeting of minorities in the city are what concerns many people. There were also previous issues with the police chief in the town, who recorded conversations, and who he demoted, which raised concerns for racial bias.

Whether or not this affects the primary at all is anyone's guess. However, he has momentum. Maybe Mayor Pete will become President Pete someday.

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