Climate change has risen to become the top issue for voters ahead of the next elections, in large part due to the demands of the young generation across the world, and heard loudly here in Minnesota.
Hundreds of youth have rallied at the State Capitol and in their own communities over the past year calling on elected officials to take action, specifically for a Green New Deal. This vision for an equitable and sustainable future goes beyond carbon counting to address climate change, invest in good jobs, and fight racial and social disparities. The name recalls the widespread federal actions after the Great Depression, when the federal government invested in broad jobs programs that put millions of people to work and redefined our landscape nationwide that still stands today, across infrastructure, park systems, agriculture, and other programs.
Nearly one hundred years later, we sit at a crossroads with an opportunity to redefine our landscape again to invest in communities through good jobs that build resilient communities and to change the trajectory of climate change.
Minnesota is already feeling the impacts of climate change across rural and urban communities alike, and is home to some of the nation’s worst racial disparities in health, income, education, and housing. We are obligated to lead on solutions that address climate change, centering those most impacted across these intersections.
High school leaders worked with partners and legislators to craft a bill and gather sponsors for the Minnesota Green New Deal that invests in communities and promotes a new vision for our future where all Minnesotans can survive and thrive. Students incorporated feedback from diverse communities across Minnesota to adapt the national model for the issues most pressing in Minnesota. The bill proposes a transition to 100% renewable energy, a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure and divestment of state resources from fossil fuels, while investing in a just transition to a green economy, directing the state to develop plans to address climate across all agencies under leadership of a community panel.
Solutions must end harm that has been done to communities polluted and disinvested in over generations, honor Indigenous sovereignty, and support those most impacted by the fossil fuel economy to build sustainable and equitable community solutions.
The Green New Deal calls for widespread change, and Minnesota is well prepared to rise to the challenge.
Minnesota has surpassed its bipartisan Next Generation Energy goals eight years ahead of schedule, and renewable energy jobs are the fastest growing in the country. We are led by powerful youth voices who tell us that Minnesota Can’t Wait for bold solutions, and push us to go farther, faster, to imagine a future where we all can thrive in a changing climate and nobody is left behind.
Young leaders from Albert Lea to Grand Rapids have gathered to call for action in St. Paul, and you can follow their lead in your own communities building a Green New Deal across Minnesota.