The youth activists leading the Sunrise Movement are expanding the scope of a planned nationwide tour into a wider initiative to ensure the Green New Deal is a major focus of the 2020 election.
The Road to a Green New Deal tour will now include more than 100 town hall meetings in cities and towns across the country. Organizers like Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Parkash will not only educate communities about the wide-ranging climate action and jobs proposal, but also give Americans an opportunity to hear from their neighbors how the Green New Deal would change their lives for the better.
The momentum gathered at the town halls will ideally help to “transform the 2020 election into a referendum on climate action,” the Sunrise Movement wrote in a call to action to its supporters.
“We put the Green New Deal on the map by taking action in Washington, D.C.,” Prakash told the Huffington Post. “But we know the fight will be won or lost in the hearts and minds of the American people and the resolve we show to making the Green New Deal a reality. That’s what this tour is about.”
“The oil and gas lobby will always have more money than us for PR stunts and bogus studies. But they will never be able to move people by the millions to secure a just and equitable future for all.” —Sunrise MovementIn addition to the smaller town halls, which the group is urging Americans to sign up to host in their own communities, the organization is planning major events in cities including Boston; Los Angeles; the heart of coal country in Richmond, Kentucky; and Paradise, California, the town that was decimated last year by the state’s historically destructive wildfires.
The group has already succeeded in convincing 89 House Democrats and 11 senators to co-sponsor Green New Deal legislation and turning public opinion in favor of the proposal. More than 80 percent of Americans and majorities of both major political parties, polling shows, now support the Green New Deal.
Sunrise and their allies are hoping to keep that momentum going as they combat right-wing and corporate opposition to the proposal.
The Koch brothers, the conservative think tank American Action Forum, and Republicans in Congress have circulated the claim that the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion—a number which Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who sponsored the legislation in the Senate has called “completely made up.”
The Sunrise Movement warned its supporters that the Koch brothers and their allies are “desperate to erode the incredible, bipartisan support that poll after poll shows for the Green New Deal” and have put their powerful public relations machine to work, hoping to convince the public that the 10 million green jobs the proposal is expected to create over its first decade are not what the nation needs to ensure a sustainable economy for all Americans.
“The oil and gas lobby will always have more money than us for PR stunts and bogus studies,” wrote the group on social media. “But they will never be able to move people by the millions to secure a just and equitable future for all.”
A report on the plan by progressive think tank Data for Progress showed that in addition to shifting the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, the program would guarantee access to affordable drinking water, upgrade water infrastructure, expand green public spaces, and provide Americans with a green job guarantee.
As Democratic candidates move towards their first debates of the 2020 presidential election, the Sunrise Movement is focused on showing the U.S. public how the Green New Deal will strengthen their communities and urging voters to only support candidates committed to bold climate action.
“These next few months will be crucial to combat [Republican] lies by getting the word out about how the Green New Deal will protect communities across the country from the worsening impacts of climate change, and boost our economy,” the group said.
“What will win this fight is thousands of people stepping up to go out and take their message directly to their neighbors and communities, even if that’s not something we’ve ever done before,” the Sunrise Movement added. “That’s what catapulted the Green New Deal to top of the national agenda in just a few months, even when pundits said there was no way we could do it.”