About a dozen people gathered Friday afternoon outside Rep. Salud Carbajal’s Santa Barbara office to thank him for co-sponsoring the Green New Deal resolution that was unveiled Thursday.
Described by Mr. Carbajal’s staff as a “non-binding resolution” rather than a proposed law, the Green New Deal is a series of policies focused on creating the economic conditions, the energy infrastructure and training programs to move the country toward 100 percent renewable energy, advocates say.
“We want to live in a livable climate,” said Emily Williams, who was with the group350.org. “We want to have well-paying jobs. The Green New Deal brings all those issues together and isn’t looking at just the climate issue or just the jobs issue, but looking at how we can do this in a transformative way.”
Casey Dwire, a UCSB student, said that combating climate change should not be considered an economic versus an environmental issue.
“We’re in a state of crisis and we need to prevent that from getting any worse and this is how we need to do it,” he told the News-Press. “Through the economy and through policy and all types of direct actions.”
The rally was one of about 90 held across the country with people visiting their elected representatives to seek support for the resolution. Local chapters of such groups as 350.org, Green Peace, Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch have spent the last four months collected signatures on petitions in support of the resolution.
Sharon Broberg, of Santa Barbara, had a box of “hundreds” of petitions signed by residents in the 24th Congressional District to present to Mr. Carbajal’s staff. Mr. Carbajal was not in town and aide Wendy Motta collected the petitions and thanked the group for their efforts.
Tess Whittlesey, Mr. Carbajal’s spokeswoman, told the News-Press that Mr. Carbajal doesn’t view the deal as something that needs to be “sold” to constituents.
“The Central Coast birthed the modern environmental movement and this resolution moves the conversation forward on proposed plans to address the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change on our public health and environment,” Ms. Whittlesey said in an email. “The Congressman has long supported a transition toward renewable energy, which is in line with Central Coast values. He’s joined many legislative efforts to combat climate change impacts and has worked in a bipartisan way on the Climate Solutions Caucus to find consensus around this issue across the aisle.”
The future of the resolution is unclear, though environmental advocates say it’s a way to get the conversation started on taking action sooner than later.
“We’re in a determining decade right now in terms of inequality and climate chaos,” Ms. Williams said.
Some of the things called for in the resolution include: net zero green house gas emissions; creating millions of high wage union jobs; investing in infrastructure and industry to meet the challenges of the 21st century; securing clean air, water and climate resiliency; and promoting justice and equity for oppressed groups.
The resolution isn’t a “silver bullet,” Ms. Williams said, explaining that while it does not specifically address fossil fuels but lays out the framework for the transition.
“We’re going to be transitioning one way or another,” she said. “It could be done in a just way or it could be done in an unjust way and the Green New Deal is a blueprint for doing it the just way.”