Dear Representative Ocasio-Cortez:
My wife and I do attempt to live sustainably as decent citizens in our ecological community. Nevertheless, I am never satisfied, especially with my/our progress in transforming what Bill McKibben calls the Eaarth of the Anthropocene to a neo-Earth of quality life for all for as long as possible.
You, Representative Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Sanders, in particular, are good leaders of amazing energy, intelligence and integrity in the political arena and in attempts to move us toward sustainability, i.e., social justice, humaneness, and ecological sanity — or what I call Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology (PEACE). Moreover, I very much appreciate the Green New Deal resolutions you and Senator Edward Markey submitted in February of this year!
The most important component of your resolutions was the statement that a Green New Deal will require “providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable [ecological] communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.”
However, there are two glaring problems with your resolutions.
1. There is entirely too much emphasis on technological fixes through so-called “renewable energy.” Renewable energy is diffuse and generally of low quality and takes inputs of transformed (fossil?) energy to be realized as useful, and there is relatively little to no energy returned on investment in the process.
2. Moreover, within your resolutions are a subtle (false hope) suggestion that “renewable energy” will allow us to continue to sustain high input, high throughput artificial systems, and even growth in these systems, while maintaining quality life here on Earth (or Eaarth). This is even though this would continue our processes of overshoot; and drawdown of the natural resource base of topsoil and quality air, quality water, and biodiversity and dynamic homeostatic symbioses, or “nature” (and severe exploitation of humans who are relatively powerless and disenfranchised). — Herman Daly’s and H.T. Odum’s steady-state is a must.
My personal mantra, which I wish were the mantra of all people and peoples, is:
• “Live Sabiamente*, Simply, Smally, Slowly, Steadfastly, Sharingly, Sustainably” (i.e., “Live the 7 Ss”). [*Wisely]
In keeping with that mantra and a goal of quality life for all, including other species, we must level off human population growth, and reduce consumption and power of the haves by perhaps as much as two-thirds while sharing that power with the have-nots, including other species. I depict this process with this symbol: “VV->^^”.
Therefore, some major points you must seriously consider in further development of Real Green New Deals are:
1. “Renewable” energy is of low quality and requires much embodied energy in order to be “usefully” transformed. It is important but is definitely not close to being the ultimate answer!
2. High input/high throughput systems are destructive of our social fabric and dynamic homeostatic symbioses. Sufficiency is much more important than efficiency.
3. We desperately need to educate toward positively ethical applied community ecology through continuing education using ecological curricula across and integrated into the campuses of all human organizational entities.
I am certain that you agree with Ms. Naomi Klein when she says (in “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal”) that “The bottom line is that an ecological crisis that has its roots in overconsumption of natural resources must be addressed not just by improving the efficiency of our economies, but also by reducing the amount of material stuff that the wealthiest 20% of people on the planet consume.”
And when Ms. Klein quotes Vandana Shiva that “the roots of our crisis lie ‘in an economy which fails to respect ecological and ethical limits.’”
Representative Ocasio-Cortez, I do wholeheartedly support your efforts. … But I also do hope you will continue to seriously consider what I have touched upon herein concerning ecology across the curricula & campuses, limits and dramatically reducing our ecological footprints, and “so-called” renewable energy.