Teaching About the Green New Deal

Introduction

The Green New Deal is a set of proposals that call on the federal government to address climate change while also reducing inequality. Some of the main goals of the plan are to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide all people of the United States with access to quality health care, financial security, safe and adequate housing, clean water, and healthy food. The plan aims to reduce carbon emissions in 10 years, but there are no concrete methods in place at the moment. Teaching about the Green New Deal is important because climate change is one of the greatest challenges that our world faces today! Through learning about this topic, students will be able to understand that climate change does not impact communities equally but in fact disproportionately affects people of color and those in low income communities, which is why the Green New Deal includes ideas for providing all people with more access to the resources they need to fulfill basic needs. The Green New Deal or other methods to combat climate change will not be implemented without people who recognize the significance of the climate crisis and understand the changes that need to be made to tackle it! 

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching about the Green New Deal and climate change, in general. The 14-page Green New Deal resolution may be a great place to start before moving onto the lesson plans, articles, and informational sites below. For educators who want to share more resources with their students about climate change, U4SC has a topic resource on Teaching About Climate Change.

Lesson Plans

  1. Green New Deal – Seeds of Change: Academy 4SC has a video on the Green New Deal as a part of their Environment Series. The five-minute video explains what the Green New Deal is and what it says while also discussing the opposition and defense of the proposals. In the topic’s lesson plan, teachers have access to resources like worksheets, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more!
  2. What is the Green New Deal?: The Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility has put together a lesson on the Green New Deal in which students will compare the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with President Roosevelt’s original New Deal. Students will also evaluate the benefits and challenges of the Green New Deal. The lesson includes an opening, matching quiz, Green New Deal reading, discussion questions, and closing. For educators who want their students to make connections between the Green New Deal and New Deal, this lesson is perfect!
  3. Learning With: ‘Nine Key Questions About the Green New Deal’: The New York Times offers an article that guides educators who are interested in teaching their students about the Green New Deal using the article “Nine Key Questions About the Green New Deal” which has since been renamed to “What is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained.” The article provides background information on the Green New Deal, the two-minute video “How Politicians Are Reacting to a Green New Deal” and follow-up questions, the aforementioned article and follow-up questions, and discussion questions. In addition, related New York Times coverage is located at the bottom of the piece.
  4. Is a Green New Deal a Good Idea?: Scholastic has published an article debating whether or not the Green New Deal is a good idea. The article is split into two parts, one in which Senator Bernie Sanders argues for and one in which Senator John Carrasso argues against the Green New Deal. Once students finish reading, there is a worksheet that has students analyze the authors’ claims and ultimately evaluate both sides of the argument.

Articles

  1. The Green New Deal and Our Schools: The Zinn Education Project provides an article on the Green New Deal and our schools. The article discusses the logistics of the Green New Deal before talking about the responsibility of educators to teach an effective climate justice curriculum. Several different stories about what the curricular rethinking required by the Green New Deal looks like at all grade levels are linked in the text. Ultimately, the article will give educators advice on how to incorporate climate justice education into their classrooms!
  2. What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained: The New York Times has published an article that explains the Green New Deal. The article specifically explains whether there will be a vote on the Green New Deal, what problem it addresses, its main provisions, what it doesn’t say, where the name comes from, its costs, how it will shape the debate in the future, and more.
  3. The Green New Deal’s Supporters Should Take a Crucial Lesson From FDR’s Original New Deal: Time offers an article that explains why the Green New Deal’s supporters should take a crucial lesson from FDR’s original New Deal, which reinforced racism through the economic system and racial discrimination in housing. Therefore, the Green New Deal must be broad and inclusive so as to not reinforce racial inequality and address race in order to create an economy and environment in which all families can thrive.
  4. The ‘Green New Deal’: Six Things to Know: Yale Climate Connections provides six things about the Green New Deal people should consider about the platform. Some of these fast facts include that the Green New Deal is a platform, not a policy, and addresses the “three Es”: environment, economy, and equality. For educators who want their students to learn the basics about the Green New Deal, this resource will be very helpful!

Informational Articles

  1. What Is a Green New Deal?: The Sierra Club has put together information on the Green New Deal. The resource explains what the Green Deal is, what it would achieve, what policies are part of the Green New Deal, and whether or not it is hypothetical.
  2. Here’s What the Green New Deal Actually Says: CNN provides passages that stuck out in the Green New Deal resolution and explains what they might mean for the country. The resource covers renewable energy, smart grid, energy efficiency, transportation, low-tech solutions, cows and climate change, labor laws, public ownership, and more.
  3. What is the ‘Green New Deal,’ and How Would It Work?: NBC News published a piece prior to the 2020 election which explains the Green New Deal and how it would work. Readers are able to see what the candidate positions were on the Green New Deal, why supporters want it, what critics say, and more!
  4. ProCon.org – Should the U.S. Implement a Green New Deal: ProCon.org provides a list of pros and cons regarding whether or not the United States should implement a Green New Deal. From this resource, students will be given the opportunity to understand both sides of the Green New Deal argument. 

Conclusion

Teaching about the Green New Deal is important because young people need to be informed about the dangers of climate change and understand why it is essential that we implement some sort of legislation in the future to combat the crisis. To teach this topic effectively, educators may want to start off by using resources to explain the components of the Green New Deal before having a class discussion about the possible benefits and drawbacks of the plan. The resources above will help educators to do just that!

 

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