The Decade of the Green New Deal

When I look back at the work done by the Sierra Club’s staff, members, and supporters this past year, I am awed. Day after day, you demonstrated your deep commitment to your communities and the natural world that sustains us. You marched against fossil fuel infrastructure and for a Green New Deal. You called your congressional representatives, attended city council meetings, and brought more environmental justice into this world. You got outside and connected to nature’s healing power.

It’s impossible to choose the accomplishment I’m most impressed by. But there’s one that I find myself thinking about at this point in the year: our Art of the Green New Deal project.

The Sierra Club’s Green New Deal team put out a call for posters, paintings, songs, and other artworks that imagine what a Green New Deal would look like. You can see some of our favorite responses here: https://www.sierraclub.org/art-green-new-deal.

Especially during this administration, it’s easy to get caught up in the endless procession of outrageous policies and abominable behaviors. And that’s both understandable and important. Exhausting as it is, we need to stay mad about what the Trump administration is doing — and keep working to resist it.

But as the year ends, and a new decade beckons, I invite you to join me in thinking beyond resistance. Let’s also keep in mind the future that we’re fighting for. More than anger, the vision of a better future can keep us going when the struggle gets tough.

That’s one thing that art can provide. In her painting of wind turbines at night, Susan Solomon of Minnesota shows us how beautiful a clean energy future can be — made all the more beautiful by the knowledge that renewable energy infrastructure won’t poison our lands, waters, and communities. Emily Ching does something similar with her gorgeous, ingenious alternatives to single-use materials. She makes a less wasteful future seem not only necessary, but delightful.

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Plains Power. Susan Solomon, Saint Paul, MN
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The Wrapping Project. Emily Ching, Seattle, WA

Oscar Morel of the Bronx reminds us that we’re fighting for much more than conservation of pristine natural places — we’re fighting for everyone’s home. Susan Schmidt’s piece made me feel the ferociousness and joy of our movement. Her painting gave me the same exultation I feel when I see thousands of people marching for change. And Laura Fogg demonstrated the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world, as well as our responsibility to the planet we call home.

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Bodega Boyz. Oscar Morel, Bronx, NY
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Stop Denying the Evidence. Susan Schmidt, Oklahoma City, OK
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Destiny Manifested. Laura Fogg, Ukiah, CA

This holiday season, I hope you’ll rest up and do the things that make you feel your best. We’ll all need our strength for the fight ahead in 2020. And I hope you’ll take a little time to reflect on your vision of a better world and what it might take to make it a reality.

Dad, husband, executive director of the @sierraclub, writer, Jersey Shore native, Little League coach, #Yankees fan, climate hawk. Optimist. Love the Bay Area.

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