Hi There GreenNewDealMakers!
We hope this finds you relaxing, restoring, and staying cozy in these final hours of 2020.
For our last newsletter of the year, we’re handing the reins back over to our friend Thelma Young-Lutunatabua, an amazing writer and climate-communicator who works at 350.org and who has recently launched a new newsletter called Radical Reimagining. You might remember Thelma from her Election-week newsletter “Hope in Practice: Beyond Climate Anxiety”…She also joined us for this week’s conversation episode of the podcast (with her co-creator, Samoan climate activist Brianna Fruean!)
Finding Your Horizon
By Thelma Young-Lutunatabua
A year ago, we all likely had some sense of new pathways we wanted to chart this year. But the pandemic toppled so much certainty we held with our lives, and many things were blown off course. From the more mundane aspirations to the profound, 2020 has made looking ahead deeply difficult. Perhaps this would be the year you were supposed to travel, get that promotion, move to a new city, or spend more time with your family. Perhaps this was supposed to be the year of even bigger climate marches, and more in-depth community organizing. This pandemic is similar to climate change in that it has impacted everyone all over the world, thus creating a unique connection. While at the same time, everyone's experiences and stories are completely different. No two pandemic stories are the same, just as no two climate stories are the same.
Both a pandemic and a climate crisis make planning for the future difficult. How do we design our lives around ever-increasing hurricanes or wildfires? With climate anxiety on the rise, more and more people are struggling with the weight of blurry horizons. This year has been as if we were sailing, and a massive storm came in, cloaking the sky. How can we find the stars or other signifiers that will guide us to where we need to be? Joe Pinsker recently wrote in The Atlantic how "Not having things to look forward to is a kind of social horizonlessness."
Something I deeply appreciate about the movement for a Green New Deal is that it is so much more than just a piece of legislation, it is also a vision of a country we want to build. We know full well that we cannot return to business as usual, so where do we look to? The Green New Deal recognizes the interlocking issues of climate change, inequality, migration, and gender justice (to name a few). If you're feeling rocked by the waves of 2020, and are looking for some hope for what lies ahead, I urge you to read the proposal for a Green New Deal (if you haven't read it recently) and then find the local group you need to to help it come to life. This can be a guiding path for where we can put our energies.
Grace Lee Boggs said, "You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be, and you do choose how you want to think." We know that even if we move off fossil fuels now, we are still locked in for decades of unforeseen catastrophes. The pandemic has taught us that we must be more resilient - to sway with the change, but not to snap. We will have to keep on building those muscles because even after the vaccine is distributed, the reality is the climate crisis will ensure that each year will be different from the last. We all need to be working to find the people, practices, and beliefs that help us stay steady. In 2017, Daniel Hunter compiled a guide with 7 behaviors that we can use to "be in shape for the long haul." Whatever it is that works for you, start building a practice now to help build hope, flexibility, and care into your life.
The famed Hawaiian traditional navigator Nainoa Thompson has written and spoken about the practice of wayfinding in the Pacific. Long before Europeans invented the sextant and other tools, Pacific Islanders were using their own advanced wisdom to chart their way through the vast expanse of the Pacific. Thompson once noted how when it's cloudy and you can't see the sun, moon, or stars, then you must rely on the ocean waves. "If you can read the ocean you will never be lost," he says. To learn how to read the ocean is an advanced skill that takes a whole lifetime and deep mentoring to obtain. For me as a land dweller, I feel that the ocean I exist in here is my community. A key thing I hope we carry forward this year is our sense of care. It's been incredible to see all the local mutual aid networks that have been ignited, as well as all the traditional systems of care that have done their duty to make sure people are supported.
If there's anything I know to be true, it's that we will only survive the climate crisis if we break down our notions of individualism and lean into the importance of our communities. In Kristin Ghodsee's recent article on the enduring optimism of the famed physicist Freeman Dyson, she noted how "The key to the future, he seemed to indicate, hinged on understanding the roots of altruism." How we treat those around us will be the determinant for our future. This is what we must hold to. Ask yourself how well you are at 'reading' your community. Do you know when to drop off food, even if you aren't directly asked? Do you know when to show up to help repair something broken? Are you willing to give wholeheartedly? Do you know how to ask for assistance when you need it? It is our community who will deliver soup when we are sick, and it is our community who will help clear out our floors after a flood. Whether it's a pandemic or the climate crisis, it is those in our circles who will truly ensure we thrive.
Going into 2021, I'm under no pretense that things will suddenly become better once the clock strikes midnight. I want to honor all that has been lost and given this past year, but I also know I need to be ready for the journey ahead. So I'm grounding myself in deeply understanding the world I want to build, while also ensuring I am doing my part to nurture those around me. This is how I'll keep on sailing ahead.
For more wonderful insights from Thelma, Brianna, and their collaborators, subscribe to Radical Reimagining—which tries to look beyond the potential dystopias in our future and instead look at the ways in which a better world is possible, and find communities where it is already starting to emerge.
AND, you can listen to this week’s #GenGND Conversation pod (the first of two-parts), with Thelma and Brianna, in conversation with oral historian, filmmaker, and invaluable #GenGND team-member Maggie Lemere. Their wonderful, inspiring, conversation touches on how Thelma and Brianna became activists, what activism looks like in the Pacific Islands, and finding hope and joy in difficult times.
Next, we want to urge you to please do the single most important thing for climate action, and advancing the agenda of the movement for a Green New Deal, over the next week…
HELP ELECT REVEREND RAPHAEL WARNOCK & JOHN OSSOF TO THE U.S. SENATE ON JANUARY 6th IN THE GEORGIA RUNOFFS!!
WATCH GenGND’s RECENT COLLAB w/ SUNRISE TO GET PUMPED!
And here’s this week’s Green New Reading List to round out 2020…
NOT JUST ANOTHER PIPELINE—by Louise Erdrich, in The New York Times
THE PRAGMATISM OF THE RADICAL CLIMATE LEFT—by Kate Aronoff, in The New Republic
DEB HAALAND’S TOUGH ROAD AHEAD AT THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT— by Nick Estes, in The Intercept
BIDEN SHOULD ESTABLISH AN OFFICE OF CLIMATE MOBILIZATION—by Varshini Prakash, in The Nation
CARBON CAPTURE IS NOT A CLIMATE SAVIOR—by Kate Aronoff, in The New Republic
JOE BIDEN’S CLIMATE TEAM ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT CLIMATE — By the New York Times Editorial Board
SOWING SEEDS OF CLIMATE ACTION IN THE GARDEN by Leah Stokes, in The Boston Globe
Finally, we’ve nearly made it through this painful and difficult year. And we realize you’re receiving a lot of end of year emails, but (since you’ve made it this far) we really wanted to share all the good stuff we’ve been able to achieve in 2020!
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating some of our accomplishments...
The Generation Green New Deal Podcast - we’ve produced 7.5 full episodes (yes, there’s a half - check it out, if you haven’t already!), and 5 additional ‘bonus’ conversation episodes with some incredible guests. We were all over the ‘Top 10’ on Apple Podcast’s ‘Government’ chart for weeks, and the show was featured in Apple’s highly selective ‘New and Noteworthy’ chart for over two months! We’re just about to pass 75,000 downloads and have been featured on several ‘Best climate change podcast’ lists! None of this would have been possible without our amazing team, our incredible Executive Producer, “The PodMother,” Amy Westervelt, and Critical Frequency for giving us a wonderful home, and you—our loyal listeners…THANK YOU FOR THE INCREDIBLE SUPPORT!
Get Out The Vote Videos - We partnered with Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, Patagonia, the Jamaal Bowman campaign and Fossil Free Media, to produce five original GOTV ads leading up to the 2020 Election--in total, they garnered hundreds of thousands of views across social media platforms in the final weeks leading up to the most critical election in modern history. (PLUS: we’ve released a few more original short videos—with more on the way—since the election!)
Black Lives Matter and racial justice videos - We produced and released several short videos focused on supporting the Movement for Black Lives. These shorts, including our Juneteenth video with Dr. Cornel West, received hundreds of thousands of views, and producing more work in support of BLM and racial justice issues will continue to be a critical part of our mission.
This newsletter - Our weekly updates have balanced original reporting and essays from our talented contributors, aggregated reading lists of posts from our favorite writers, the latest climate-news, as well as updates on the project and the movement for a Green New Deal. All together, our newsletters have received more than 15,000 views since we started back in August!
25-Minute version of our documentary - We released a short preview version of Generation Green New Deal, the documentary, which was shown to thousands of climate organizers at hundreds of events held by Sunrise Movement in Jan and Feb. It has since then been screened at numerous film festivals, educational settings, and is available to rent on Vimeo On Demand. (We can’t wait to show you the rest of the film…But first, we’ve got to make it ; )
We’re really proud of our team for creating so much relevant and timely content during such a challenging year, and we’re aiming to raise $10,000 to continue producing our short-videos, the documentary, as well as the next season of the podcast. If you’re able, please consider pitching in to help us reach our goal!
You can donate through our ActBlue account.
(Or, if you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution to our 501(c)3, please email email@example.com)
Generation Green New Deal @GenerationGNDEpisode 1 of our brand new podcast is LIVE! Listen to the backstory of the sit-in at Nancy Pelosi's office, why @aoc ended up there, and how it catapulted the #GreenNewDeal into mainstream politics. SUBSCRIBE and listen here: https://t.co/2eCVu4spFD https://t.co/RWQYWSu9NW
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! And thanks for reading, watching & listening!
With love, gratitude, & wishes for a wonderful 2021, & beyond—Team GenGND