Leaders of Southern organizations, including environmental advocates, have come up with a Green New Deal – with a Southern touch.
More than 160 organizations have joined forces to build on the climate proposal in Congress in ways to tackle inequality as well as climate change. The Green New Deal is a smorgasbord of ideas, from reforming labor laws and the nation’s energy grid, to healthcare and affordable housing.
Alex Easdale, executive director of the Southeast Climate & Energy Network, said because communities in the South experience more climate impacts than any other region, they ought to have a say in creating climate policy.
“A lot of times, you have well-meaning people making decisions in terms of policy that impact communities,” said Easdale. “And they don’t take consideration from the community, those communities that they’re going to impact at the design level of policies, and initiatives and programs.”
The Southern Communities for a Green New Deal platform focuses on issues facing people in the South. Republicans have rejected the Green New Deal, but are now pitching some of their own climate-related proposals.
Easdale said they want to make sure concerns from the South are front and center.
The platform features a list of policy demands emphasizing frontline communities with majority Indigenous, Black, and Latinx residents. Easdale said they’re the ones who suffer disproportionately from extreme weather events.
“We want them to include, you know, labor protections, providing displaced workers and environmental justice communities with training and resources,” said Easdale, “advancing solutions that shift governance of natural resources to communities.”
The complete policy platform – worked on by a long list of groups that include Dogwood Alliance, Kingdom Living Temple, and the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy – is online at ‘scen-us.org.’