The SheHawk: Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ is the aggression Washington needs


Genevieve Guenther

Jimmy O'Halloran, Contributing Writer

Politicians are almost always criticized for being slow and ineffective in implementing change. In America, this stereotype is basically a running joke and has ended up ingrained in our perception of the political system.

However, since taking office on January 3rd of this year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, is blazing a trail in contrast to this image.

As the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, AOC is here to do things differently and bring a fresh perspective to the capitol. She knows that across the country, not only is change in the air, but pollution is too. With the February release of her nonbinding resolution called the “Green New Deal,” she lays out an aggressive plan that both tactically and chronologically steers the nation in an entirely new environmentally-friendly direction.

So, now that this resolution has been out for a few months, what is its significance today? Plain and simple, this is the only proposal that looks at what real environmental change looks like long-term. Some highlights this proposal mentions are to upgrade all buildings for energy efficiency; overhaul transportation systems to reduce emissions from planes and cars; work toward leaving fossil fuels behind; and provide a livable wage for all Americans.

If this sounds like a lot at once, that’s because it is. Therein lies the beauty of the Green New Deal itself and of the drive that AOC is bringing to the table. She herself has admitted that the goals of this plan are lofty, but her hope is that introducing something this bold will incite excitement in constituents about climate change, potentially building support for her future plans even if it doesn’t pass this time around.

It’s so refreshing to see something this bold that is seeking to ultimately make a positive impact on the future for billions of people. The fact that this plan is enormous actually works in its favor. In order to make any dent in the exponentially escalating danger the environment is in, there is going to have to be change that is vastly more substantial than getting rid of straws (no offense).

This isn’t to say that personal responsibility has no part in saving the Earth – it does! But the point here is to really target big business, which is where a lot of the pollution is coming from. Changes need to be implemented in a sort of “top-down” approach where corporations are leading the charge instead of trying to catch up to what consumers want in terms of sustainability. This is where electric vehicles come into play and improving mass transportation as well. These kinds of things are going to have to become mandatory at some point, and that is just the mission the Green New Deal promises.

All options weighed, it’s our responsibility as environmental stewards to back resolutions and the politicians behind them just like the Green New Deal. It doesn’t matter that they may not seem totally feasible at the moment. That’s the point of goal-setting, and if we don’t start somewhere with sweeping environmental protection, we may never start at all.

Hats off to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for being brave enough to promote an aggressive plan with so much potential for change. Her passion for change is an inspiration to all, and with any luck it will be just as impactful.