Hopefully, you have arrived at this website because you have an interest in the Green New Deal (GND). Whether you know practically nothing about the GND and are looking for a basic introduction, or you know quite a lot but want help keeping up to date on developments around the world, I hope this site will be a useful tool for you.
When I first heard about the GND back in 2008, it gave me hope. At that point, my hope was primarily based on the “return of Keynes”, which to me seemed to offer an unprecedented opportunity for a massive public investment in renewable energy and other “green infrastructure”. I was also excited by the way that the UK-based Green New Deal Group linked problems with the global financial system with overconsumption, debt and environmental degradation.
I spent several years studying the “green” investments that Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the US made in response to the GFC. This research took a lot of the wind out of my sails: I found a lot of greenwashing and wasted funds (e.g. on carbon capture and storage). There were some bright spots – housing retrofits programs were generally successful – but it was not the great transformation I had been hoping for.
By the time my research was published as a book in the spring of 2018, the GND had mostly fallen out of environmental policy discourse. It seemed that the GND had failed to capture the imagination of others in the way that it had captured mine.
Or not! Of course, the GND would not just return, but would be more popular than ever before. Part of the reason for its increased popularity, I believe, is that it had evolved, just as many of us in the environmental movement had, to take a stronger position on equity. Like many, I had always cared about inequality and social justice, but it took me a long time to understand that these were not just ‘other’ interests, but core to addressing the ecological crisis.
Although the Sunrise Movement, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and numerous American academics and journalists (featured throughout this site) deserve much of the credit for bringing the GND back to the forefront of policy discussions, the GND movement is – and must be – global. I hope on this site to highlight some of the most important GND initiatives around the world, beginning with a handful of countries (Canada, UK, South Korea) and the EU. I am well aware that there are many other countries that should be included, and I will add more when I can! I also want to highlight how the GND connects to my other area of work on trade and investment agreements and make the case for a global green new deal.
A few final points:
First, this website is not about self-promotion. I am co-editing a book on the GND and I do want to showcase the work of the incredible contributors to that project. But I also want to highlight the work of everyone else who is working on the GND – whether they be academics, activists, or policy makers. If you are one of those people – please send me your papers/events etc. – you can reach out through the contact form.
Second, this website is very much a work in progress, and I hope to update it often. However, I will inevitably miss some things and the omission of a particular work or event should not be construed as criticism of that work or group. Equally, while the resources provided are curated to a large extent, this doesn’t mean that I am endorsing the materials/groups that I provide links to. While I often do pro-bono work for non-profit organizations, I have no financial relationships with any of them. I am also not a member of any political party. I receive funding from the Government of Canada through the Canada Research Chairs program, but my research is completely independent.
Finally, this website, in many ways, blurs the line between research and advocacy. I don’t shy away from important criticisms of the GND (see Basics), but I do tend to ignore the silly ones. At the end of the day, I can’t be completely neutral – I have a stake in all of this. I am a mother, and I would like to one day be a grandmother. And I’m a human being who cares about the suffering of other humans as well as the other species that we share this planet with. I strongly believe that scholars have a moral obligation to engage broadly – with policy makers and the public – about their areas of expertise. I have spent over a decade advocating against trade deals that provide multinational corporations with the ability to sue states when they regulate to protect the environment. With this website, I am aiming to do something different – I am advocating for something. I don’t think that makes me biased or undermines my credibility as a researcher. And on that point, I am increasingly comforted by the fact that many of my peers feel the same way.