By Mo Schriner
with contributions by e-news editor Jerry Striegel

The Green New Deal keeps showing up in news headlines, to the point the proposal now has a newsworthy acronym (GND), a well-established hashtag (#GreenNewDeal), and a nationwide tour hosted by the Sunrise youth climate activist movement that now has roots in Minnesota.

As the GND continues to stir up controversy, it is also prompting conversations, which is a good starting point for change.

You can join those conversations by joining the MN350 movement – we need you. Sign up here.

One of the scientific sources of climate conversations is the national climate change advisory group disbanded by President Trump in August 2017. The former Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment has been resurrected at the invite of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, reports The Guardian. The panel is now being financially supported by Columbia University and the American Meteorological Society (the professional association for scientifically trained weather forecasters) and has been renamed the Science to Climate Action Network. SCAN’s report, the fourth National Climate Assessment, draws on the work of 13 US government agencies.

“We were concerned that the federal government is missing an opportunity to get better information into the hands of those who prepare for what we have already unleashed,” said Richard Moss of SCAN. “We’re only just starting to see the effects of climate change, and its’ only going to get much worse. But we haven’t yet arranged our daily affairs to adapt to science we have.”

The U.S. isn’t the only country with fierce debates about the climate. In Canada, oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell are trying to position a “low-carbon economy” as the solution, rather than a “zero-carbon economy,” writes Donald Gutstein in The Tyee magazine in B.C. The difference between “low” and “zero,” explains Gutstein, is “survival.”

The GND proposes new jobs policies, just as FDR did with the original New Deal in the 1930s. This Washington Post story explains why the “climate + justice” connection is needed by describing the local impact of two coal plants shut down in Ohio in 2019. The plants were located in one of the most economically poor counties in Ohio and were the largest employers in the area. The hundreds of jobs lost with the plant closures haven’t been replaced.

Can the U.S. take on the challenges spelled out in the GND? Think Norway is showing the way with its transition to non-carbon energy sources? The CFO and VP of Oklahoma City oil company Anadarko Minerals, Ole Andraeassen, opined in this commentary, only if Americans adopt the Nordic value of “We’re all in this together.”  

Andraeassen is also an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Tromso in Norway.

The GND is examined from the viewpoint of a political grassroots movement in this episode of Today Explained, hosted by Sean Rameswaram, and featuring reporting by producer Noam Hassenfeld. The Sunrise Movement keeps landing GND on the literal doorstep of Washington, DC, politicians. Hassenfeld provides the contrast of the “practical” position and “crisis” position on GND.

The podcast episode closes with the echoes of an anthem written and sung by Sunrise Movement youth activists, “Does it weigh on you?” repeating the haunting refrain, “Which side are you on?” (Lyrics posted below). This YouTube video of the Sunrise Movement singers offers an insightful view of the diversity of youth activists – a montage of the mosaic that represents America.  You can join the Sunrise Movement on its “Road to a Green New Deal” national tour. Youth activists held an event on the Macalester campus on April 25, 2019.

Stay connected and stay active year-round in supporting clean energy through MN350’s Policy Action Team, working with leaders at every level to make preventing damage to our climate a priority. To get more info and sign up to volunteer:  

Join the MN350 Policy Action Team


By the Sunrise Movement

Which side are you on now?

Which side are you on? (x 4)

Storms Surge and fires burn

but you don’t hear the call

‘cause fossil fuels keep paying you

Does it weigh on you at all?

Does it weigh on you at all? (x 4)

When Exxon and the Koch brothers

came to pay you off

You took ___(400,000)___dollars

Does it weigh on you at all?

Does it weigh on you at all? (x 4)