Stories from a Green New Deal: Caroline

I was inspired to come back home and take an internship with the MN350 Green New Deal team because I wanted to get a better sense of how activism looks when politics are driven by people power, operating at a very local level.  I’m studying Environmental studies and International and Public Affairs at Brown, so I’m hoping to end up doing stuff related to climate policy. But, a lot of the research I’m doing in school revolves around these super big picture big players, where there’s a lot of money and a lot of power involved. And I was feeling a little disillusioned with that.

I’m especially keen on the idea of building a broad coalition, like they did in Portland. When you do your research about it, you find that Portland is one of the more successful examples of this kind of local environmental policy movement.  

Portland organized different advocacy groups, like labor groups, and businesses, and people advocating around racial issues and other economic interests. They really broadened the base of the movement.

Now we’re doing that here, too. During my internship I focused on establishing one on one relationships and talking with people about their values, and why they really care about this cause.

Right now, with the trajectory we’re on, damage from climate change is going to land primarily on areas and people that are the least prepared for it, and the least equipped to respond. Which is why I think having a justice emphasis in our climate action is important. That’s why I was drawn to MN350s emphasis on justice. That’s why we need to hear from so many people about what their priorities and needs are.


We need people to be willing to acknowledge that climate change is an existential threat, as are these interrelated issues of racial and economic inequity. We need people to take the plunge into committing to talking to their friends, their families, their neighbors, whether through house parties or tabling, or even just talking to people they know, one on one.

We’re getting things going here in Minneapolis that are part of a spreading movement across major US cities. We’re building a movement with real power behind it, with an emphasis on justice. I want to be part of that.


Caroline Sassan is a student at Brown University and intern with MN350.

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