Green new deal: making it real

“Is the Green New Deal For Real?” Radio Open Source‘s January 2019 episode that asks question in worthy detail.

But about 19:16 minutes in, Christopher Lydon’s second guest, Naomi Oreskes, describes, almost in passing, the integrated toolkit we’re going to need to have a chance to get there. Taking a lesson from the fight against cigarettes, she says:

That is a good example of the combined power of science and political movements, because we got tobacco control in this country through both. Without the science, we would not have known that tobacco use was so dangerous, so deadly. But the science alone was not enough. It also required political movements, legal action, grass roots movements to ban smoking in public places, things like that. So I think we have the same situation with climate change. The science is crucial, remains crucial for explaining to people what is happening and how we know that all of this is related to fossil fuel use. That message continues to be essential, but it has to be linked, as [@BillMcKibben] said [earlier in the episode], to political mobilization, to political education, and to political action.

Used one at a time, the tools of activism are useless, she implies.

My own shorthand for the toolkit includes these categories of tools: bodies of knowledge, empowering attitudes, diverse and appropriate skills, sets of information and communication tools, affiliations and the skills to make, sustain, and extend them, all in the context of fairly healthy civic institutions.

Knowledge, attitudes, skills, tools, affiliations, and healthy institutions. Without the full toolkit, citizens are easy for the powerful to brush aside. Simple as that.

And that’s why Naomi Oreskes is right to say that we’re going to be needing good science linked to political movements, legal action, grass roots affiliations, political education, and more, to have a chance.

Voting is necessary but not sufficient. Oreskes has named a good portion of the toolkit we’ll be needing, oh, later today and then ongoing for years to come.