Sunrise Movement & the Green New Deal

by Marcela Mulholland

Two days after the 2018 midterm elections I packed up into a car with some fellow climate activists and drove from Orlando to Washington, DC. My comrades and I had just spent the past several months working to help elect climate champions and were still recovering from Florida’s dismal election results. (@RickScott) 

We were going to DC to participate in a sit-in, organized by Sunrise Movement, at Nancy Pelosi’s office. During the sit-in I was arrested alongside 51 other young people for demanding that all Democratic leaders commit to a Green New Deal that would create thousands of good jobs for working class people and transform our economy away from fossil fuels over the next decade. 

We did this because the recent UN climate report tells us we have just 12 years to address climate change. Hundreds joined our protest, millions followed us online, and we even inspired Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to join us and put forward a Resolution to create a House Select Committee on a Green New Deal. 

In the months since this sit-in, 45 other members of Congress officially pledged support for Ocasio’s proposal, hundreds of people across the country visited congressional offices as part of the Green New Deal Day of Action and over a thousand young people descended upon DC again to push for a Green New Deal.

Despite this thrilling and unstoppable momentum, Nancy Pelosi unfortunately chose to advance a watered down, largely useless Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. This committee does not have a mandate to create a plan for a Green New Deal, it does not have subpoena power, and it allows members who take fossil fuel money to sit on it.

Through her actions Pelosi has shown us once again that calling climate change a crisis and actually treating it like one are two very different things.

But, Pelosi and Corporate Democrats cannot stop us. Sunrise is spending much of the first half of 2019 taking the Green New Deal beyond the DC beltway and to the American people by launching a 15-city, star-studded GND tour. This tour will include some of the new faces of the Democratic Party, movement leaders and more to tell people about the Green New Deal and give them the tools and resources to pressure their policymakers to get behind it. 

We are also working to force a race to the tops around climate ambition for the 2020 Presidential elections. As Ocasio-Cortez said the other day — if you’re not backing a GND, are you even running for President?

The Green New Deal won’t be won in backdoor deals in Congress. It won’t be won on Twitter. It’ll be won because millions of Americans relentlessly demanded the real solutions to the greatest crisis of our lifetimes. We’re building that movement every day over the next two years. Will you join us? 


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