Young environmental activists speak out for Green New Deal
In this image from video provided by Morissa Zuckerman, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks with a group of students who wanted to discuss the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to shift the U.S. economy from fossil fuels and to renewable sources such as wind and solar power, at her office in San Francisco. | Morissa Zuckerman via AP

Should the richest country on earth invest to keep the planet we all share inhabitable? We believe the answer is yes—and fast. Unfortunately, not all lawmakers seem to agree.

Last month, our group, Youth Vs. Apocalypse, asked California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to support the Green New Deal. She declined. The video of the encounter went viral.

Viral videos come and go. But this cause can’t become yesterday’s leftovers, because this issue will determine everyone’s tomorrow. We know that this moment is pivotal for the survival of the human race.

To put it simply, if we don’t act now, we’ll leave the next generation a dead and an uninhabitable planet. Science says human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change—we are the reason the Earth is dying—and we have barely a decade left to stop it.

Since we created this problem, we must find the solution. The Green New Deal is the first step.

The Green New Deal, a resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, addresses the related crises of climate change, inequality, and declining life expectancy in the United States. It aims not only to address our climate crisis, but to include communities, like many of ours, that have historically been left out of the conversation.

It’s a 10-year mobilization that will bring our country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, provide millions of family-sustaining jobs, invest in sustainable infrastructure and industry, build community resilience, and boost the economy.

That’s important. It’s not just our planet, but our people that need a Green New Deal.

It’s no secret that one job is no longer enough to support a family in this country. We need this investment in jobs with sustainable wages and fair benefits. We need to stop the transfer of jobs overseas. And we need a safety net for those whose income is dependent on the fossil fuel industry.

Not to mention we need clean air, clean water, housing, education, and adequate health care. It saddens us to say that a significant portion of the population goes without these things everyday.

Some might say that the Green New Deal is too costly. It would be even more costly not to enact it.

The longer we wait to take action, the costlier and devastating the crisis becomes. By 2050, wildfires will increase greatly, taking out whole communities and neighborhoods. Hurricanes will become more intense and frequent, leaving mass destruction behind.

By not acting, we risk $1,000,000,000,000—that’s $1 trillion—worth of damage to public infrastructure and real estate on our coasts alone.

Beyond that, how can we put a price tag on life? How can we not afford to take care of our own people? How we can deny clean air and water to our own neighbors? Life is not a luxury that can be bought. Life is priceless.

It’s hard to understand the effects of a changing climate and even harder to understand how to combat it. But we cannot let people become ignorant to this issue. Not when we’re risking so much.

Half the battle is understanding the problem—the other half is taking action.

We believe that our activism will decide whether or not we live—and we want to live. So tell your own representatives to support the Green New Deal. Tell them it’s for your brothers and sisters, your nieces and nephews, your kids. And for you.

Fight with us for our future.

Institute for Policy Studies


Hannah Estrada
Hannah Estrada

Hannah Estrada is a member of the youth-led climate justice group Youth Vs Apocalypse

Michael Estrada
Michael Estrada

Michael Estrada is a member of the youth-led climate justice group Youth Vs Apocalypse.