To tackle climate change, we must think locally and globally, not just nationally.
The Green New Deal is gaining momentum, with Democratic presidential contenders laying out climate change plans that echo the original initiative proposed earlier by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Yet such proposals continue to focus on the national level, ignoring the need to motivate local communities and international governments in the fight against climate change.
To broaden the impact of these federal plans, Ocasio-Cortez and others should take a page from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which was already green, thoroughly grass-roots and eventually went global. As Roosevelt reminded Congress in 1937, “it is not wise to direct everything from Washington. National planning should start at the bottom.” The president also believed his agenda should have international significance.
This strategy worked by giving local communities both in the United States and abroad a vested political and economic stake in conservation. To tackle climate change, which transcends national borders, the Green New Deal proposals must similarly think both bigger and smaller to more explicitly forge links between local and global action.