In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather tackles the question of what does a just transition off fossil fuels look like. She is joined by Jocelyn Sawyer from Food and Water Watch and Alison Arne of New Jersey Organizing Project. They talk about what happens to workers, as well as the communities and people most impacted by climate catastrophe. The rising seas are going to impact so much more than you can imagine and without strong justice policies millions of lives will be disrupted and damaged.
Jocelyn Sawyer 0:00
Intro Music You know, the hard reality is that as we’re facing climate crisis, there will be workers who are displaced. And we’re already seeing workers who’ve been displaced. As you know, people are displaced from homes as a result of extreme weather or in the agricultural sector. People are going to continue to lose jobs as the climate crisis intensifies. And so, you know, we need a plan that does take care of workers who you know, will be displaced from industries that were that are just need to shut down. And we need those workers to have pension guarantee. We need people to be able to access early retirement if they’re not able to transition into a whole new field of work. And we definitely need job training programs and there are so many jobs that are going to roles that will need to be filled in this energy transition in terms of producing new energy working on energy efficiency. We need training and we need to prioritize people who will be displaced out of industries and also from communities that have born the disproportionate brunt of dirty energy.
Heather Warburton 1:09
This is Wine, Women, and Revolution with your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey Revolution Radio.
Hi and welcome to Wine, Women, and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey Revolution Radio. You can find us online www.njrevolutionradio.com, get us wherever you get your podcasts and follow us on all the social medias. Today we’re talking about something that you’ve heard me talk about a lot before about how we need to get entirely off of fossil fuels in the next, I guess, like 10 years now, or we may not have a future for humanity. But there’s a lot of discussion that isn’t getting had about what exactly does that look like? What does that look like from a justice standpoint, from a racial justice standpoint, from justice for workers who may be losing their jobs or being displaced. So today I have two awesome activists, I think they… Have you been on the show before Alison?
Alison Arne 2:08
No this is my first time.
Heather Warburton 2:10
Okay, so I have Jocelyn Sawyer from Food and Water Watch who’s been on the show a number of times. Welcome back, Jocelyn.
Jocelyn Sawyer 2:17
Thanks for having me back, Heather
Heather Warburton 2:19
And my newbie for the show. Allison from the New Jersey Organizing Project.
Alison Arne 2:24
Thank you. I’m so glad to be here today.
Heather Warburton 2:27
So I think actually was Allison who suggested this show of “What does this socially just transition look like”? So I wanted to give you kind of the first word of the lead in of what was it that sparked you to start thinking about this and then we can move into a discussion of what does it look like?
Alison Arne 2:45
Right. Well, New Jersey Organizing Project for those don’t know was founded by nine Sandy survivors five years ago on the second anniversary of Sandy. Just in the basement of a library, really, because people were not getting home. They were broke because of mass justice through a privately and a lot of people don’t know the National Flood Insurance Program is actually run by private insurance companies. So that’s another section another layer of injustice that we see as we move into climate chaos. And then in the midst of trying to get people home, we’re realizing that the water levels are rising right. You don’t have to believe that climate change is man made to see that the coastline is moving in, to see that we’re not just having flooding during torrential rainstorms, but having flooding on a sunny day just a new moon in high tide will do it. And not just on the coast, but we see it inland.
So as New Jersey started talking about moving into how are we going to diversify and move into renewable energy. The discussion of offshore wind came up and that was one area that we really wanted to get into because as shore residents and shore point residents, that’s like our baby, right, that’s our backyard. So how are we going to do this in a way that we are at the table making decisions and making sure those opportunities are coming to our neighborhoods? And not just the job opportunities. Because that’s one aspect we always talk about. But how are we making sure that we are mitigating and making sure that we have socially just adaptation as well? So it really became like a pull of how do we get in there? And how do we get the changes that we want to see? So we started with this first round of bidding. And then we’ve got two more rounds of bidding going. So we’re hoping to just keep that momentum going.
Heather Warburton 4:32
And Jocelyn, as far as Food and Water Watch, you’re definitely one of the more forward thinking environmental organizations, you’re actually out there talking about what does justice look like? Which some of the I want to say big green, you know, other organizations really aren’t having those discussions. So what kind of things have been coming up with Food and Water Watch?
Jocelyn Sawyer 4:52
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s been so exciting to see all of the momentum and you know, action people in streets calling for a green new deal over this past year. And I think you know, mass movement is so important. And then there’s also that piece where if you aren’t specific, you know, the phrase can mean a lot of different things. And we’re seeing that actually New Jersey, even when Governor Murphy is talking about his clean energy goals, or his carbon neutral goals. There are some fishy things that get lumped into those into that clean energy kind of portfolio that’s, you know, not really clean energy. And so, you know, for us in all of these conversations about Green New Deal, renewable future. We have been working to make sure that we actually have true clean, renewable energy that we’re not transitioning to false solutions that just keep poisoning communities and particularly communities of color, low income communities with things like trash incineration and burning bio gas. And also that we see a just transition for workers is you know, something that we’ve been very clear on you know, we need that New Jersey, we need that federally in our climate solutions.
Heather Warburton 6:06
So, I guess let’s start with the workers because you know, that’s always you know, we’re all working class people here. This is a podcast for working class people, we are not the bourgeoisie. So what do we need to put into place, either one of you can take this one, to protect workers who may be losing their jobs. What kind of solutions can we offer?
Alison Arne 6:25
Well, I think that goes back to a big overarching systemic issue, right, is that we need to make sure that one the jobs are going to be in place. So I think that’s part of what we’re seeing now is that there were jobs that were in line, and now all of a sudden, well, what happens to those? So I think, I think the figure given for the wind farms, for example, is like 15,000 jobs, just between three wind farms. So we’re seeing that the opportunities are there to transition. It’s just how are we getting communities to align with that and understand that. And we see it, you know, across the aisle, we’ve worked with so many different people and so many different decision makers over the years. How do we get them to come together and talk about what the problems are with the solutions that we see? And then how does that transition into economic opportunity? So I think the biggest thing is making sure that we can put together plans that are going to not just work but are going to be community based, community lead, and that current workers are at the table helping make those decisions, because if we’re not inviting them in, there’s no way for them to have their say, right.
Heather Warburton 7:34
Did you have anything Jocelyn?
Jocelyn Sawyer 7:37
Yeah, absolutely for I mean, to really everything Alison is saying. I mean, you know, the hard reality is that as we’re facing climate crisis, there will be workers who are displaced and we were already seeing workers who’ve been displaced. As you know, people are displaced from homes as a result of extreme weather or in the agricultural sector, people are going to continue to lose jobs as the climate crisis intensifies. And so, you know, we need a plan that does take care of workers who you know will be displaced from industries that were that are just need to shut down. And we need those workers to have pension guarantee. We need people to be able to access early retirement if they’re not able to transition into a whole, you know, new field of work. And we definitely need job training programs. And there are so many jobs that are going to new roles that will need to be filled in this energy transition in terms of producing new energy working on energy efficiency. We need training and we need to prioritize people who will be displaced out of industries and also from communities that form the disproportionate brunt of dirty energy for so long.
Heather Warburton 8:46
Yeah, I think there needs to be a massive investment in education and re education for workers that no matter what’s causing them to lose their jobs. And that can’t be an individual responsibility sort of thing. That’s got to be at least state based, if not federally based, that there’s just no other way around doing that massive of retraining program for how many people are going to be displaced. One thing now, I know I may be the radical in the room here. But have either one of your organization’s been talking about public ownership of these new technologies, wind technology or solar technology, basically nationalizing the energy system.
Alison Arne 9:30
Jocelyn, I’m gonna let you take that first. Because we have been really centered on centered on offshore wind being that regionally that is our baby, so to speak. Whereas any community can talk about solar, you know, coastal communities really, that’s their niche is the offshore wind.
Jocelyn Sawyer 9:47
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we at Food and Water Action , we definitely don’t see the billionaire class of being the solution to the problem. And certainly socializing our energy systems, certainly direction I think we need to be moving into, we need to see more things like community solar, and also the local regional energy democracy where people actually, you know, have the power and control and the ownership over their local generated renewable energy services. And we definitely need to, you know, keep important programs public. I’m thinking specifically about drinking water when I say that that’s kind of a whole other part of Food and Water Action’s work and a whole other can of worms. But I think, you know, public water is going to be so important going into the climate crisis, public energy should follow that. And yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s definitely needs to be something that comes, you know, from the public sector. That was something that was so successful about, you know, the original New Deal. We just need to right some of the mistakes of that original plan to make sure that it’s truly inclusive.
Heather Warburton 10:59
Right, there were some racial issues with the original new deal that we need to make sure we don’t make those same mistakes again. And there was a pilot program in New Jersey for some community owned solar. And I have not heard anything about it. And even Atlantic City was one of the communities that was selected for this pilot program. And then nothing like it’s been crickets ever since I heard about that. So neither one of you, I’m assuming have any updates on that either?
Jocelyn Sawyer 11:28
Yeah, actually. So the deadline just passed earlier this month for getting people to enroll in that program. My impression is that I think, you know, there was a certain amount of developer interest and I think I had, you know, heard some from some folks in in communities who were interested, but I spoke with some folks in Camden, who were very excited about that program. I think, you know, to really make it a success. For the next round of this community solar pilot program, there needs to be a much bigger emphasis on outreach and education on the ground. And, you know, really making sure that people are aware that this program exists. But yeah, the aims of the community solar program are, you know, to make solar energy, something that’s, that’s accessible for people who are renters or for low income people who might not be able to, you know, finance putting solar panels on your own roof, but to actually share in that system, get clean energy and get lower energy costs. So I hope that we’re going to see good things come out of the results of the pilot program once it gets underway.
Heather Warburton 12:30
Yeah, I had heard about, for example, if you’re familiar with Atlantic City, that they might be able to power like Stanley homes, which is the it’s a older, an older apartment complex. And that since, you know, you can’t have solar unless you own property and owning property is becoming less and less viable for most people in the United States today. So you know, it’s a great theory and I do hope that something comes out of that for sure. The next thing I definitely want to talk about is racial justice. And how can this new technology help, you know, repair some of the damage that’s been done historically? Like, for example, and this one I wanted to address to Alison, you know, there’s going to be these wind farms off of Atlantic City. And there was originally some discussion about, well, what part of can we guarantee some of these jobs go to residents of Atlantic City? And then it seemed like that conversation kind of got pushed to the side or left behind? And did you see some of that playing out to?
Alison Arne 13:35
Well, let me kind of take it back to the beginning, when we first started getting involved with offshore wind, one of the things that I noticed was that it was a more transparent process than we’ve typically seen. Compared to just about anything happening in New Jersey, so and that was one of the like hooks that was brought in, like the economic opportunities. And this winter and summer we actually did a canvas in Atlantic City, in Ventnor, in a couple of towns in Monmouth and Ocean County. And it was crazy to me because we had done a lot of outreach. And I’d seen a lot of press about the wind, wind farms coming. And even after the announcement of the bid came, it was like no one we talked to knew they were coming. It was just an overwhelming deal. On the flip side, which was really neat to see it was like if 70% of the people that we talked to didn’t know that we were getting offshore wind, 80% of the people we talked to, we’re excited to hear about offshore wind, and their biggest reasons for being excited about it. We’re cleaner air and water, as well as the economic opportunities.
So as we’re going through like the open houses and the guides, there are opportunities, but how are we going to make sure that everybody knows that the apprenticeship program has just completely been opened up so that we can have more people getting in there from everywhere from manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance of the turbines. So that’s one of the biggest things is how are we opening up to the public? And how are we connecting with each other? So our thing was, once we had the canvas going, we started having community meetings. And people were really excited and like, mostly because they’ve been living with water for so long now. So it was like, how do we start talking to our neighbors? How do we start talking to our family members, and that’s going to be the biggest thing is keeping communication open with each other, especially in a state like New Jersey, where we kind of get in and we have the nine to five grind and it gets easy to like, stay in our bubbles. We really need to be out there communicating with each other about what is going on.
Heather Warburton 15:49
Did you have anything for that one, Jocelyn?
Jocelyn Sawyer 15:52
Yeah, I mean, you know, I had mentioned and you mentioned as well, Heather, you know the original Green Deal, had some some really problematic aspects and you know went a long ways towards just cementing the housing discrimination that we’re still seeing today, redlining, people cut out of jobs. I mean, as as we are transitioning to renewable energy, we need to do the opposite. And we need to actually, you know, actively invest in jobs training for people who’ve been disproportionately burdened by fossil fuel pollution. And the health impacts of fossil fuels largely low income communities and people of color. And you know, I also was talking about some of those not so clean energy sources again, you know, named is clean energy. I mean, a big one in New Jersey is we often see legislators lumping trash incineration in with clean energy. You know, label trash incineration is I mean, just a huge environmental justice issue impacting I mean, many people unfortunate living in Camden and Newark know all too well. I mean, trash incinerators get cited in Black and Brown communities it’s just it’s such blatant environmental racism. I mean, the very first step is absolutely just stop pretending that things like trash incineration, burning bio gas are clean energy. And just and yeah, really actively, you know, paying attention to following the leadership of communities of environmental justice activists when it comes to those job training programs.
Alison Arne 17:22
Right,and I think to build on that and not just the job training, but as we’re going forward in the process, and as like solar panels and wind turbines are decommissioned. How are we taking care of those in a way that we are not dumping in the same communities that have been facing, you know, this historical oppression for centuries?
Heather Warburton 17:43
I wanted to go back to your trash incineration. There was recently in Murphy passed some sort of bill about trash incineration, right, or there was a state backed bill about trash incineration, like taking trash from communities and the state getting money for the trash incineration, right? Does that sound familiar? ( Assembly Bill 3726 )
Jocelyn Sawyer 18:03
Um, yeah, I’m not sure specifically about the bill that you’re referring to. But it’s there’s been an unfortunate kind of pattern in New Jersey where like, you know, maybe 10-15 years ago trash incineration was being touted as this very clean kind of like, you know, we can take the trash and then we can reuse it and create energy and you know, when you burn garbage it does produce methane. And that can be used for energy. You know, unfortunately, methane is one of the most dangerous and deadly greenhouse gases out there. And burning trash also creates dioxin and other kinds of really dangerous toxins. And yeah, I mean, trash incineration is considered a clean energy source legally in New Jersey. And so yeah, the
Heather Warburton 18:52
Yeah, and it’s not even 10-15 years ago, I was at a Freeholder meeting this year, where they were upset that the state wanted take their trash and burn it because they make a lot of money here in Atlantic county from burning trash (The bill they were discussing was Assembly Bill 3726 about food waste energy generation, which also classified it as a renewable). That’s a revenue generating source and they’re like, we don’t want to lose the money from trash burning right here in Atlantic County. Why should we send our trash to be burned elsewhere? We want to contaminate and pollute right here in Atlantic County. That wasn’t exactly how they phrased that, they were talking about the money aspects, but essentially they were fighting to keep the pollution here in Pleasantville, which is a marginalized community. (The ACUA burns methane gas released from the decomposition of trash, not direct trash incineration)
Jocelyn Sawyer 19:33
Yeah, yeah. I mean, trash incineration is a part of Governor Murphy’s energy master plan that was just released as well in his plan for getting to what he is calling now carbon neutral and not actually, you know, hundred percent renewable but yeah, trash incineration was a part of that plan and it can’t be a part of a truly clean energy future.
Heather Warburton 19:55
And certainly not a just one either, because as you said, they’re always in marginalized and depleted communities. They’re not putting a trash incineration facility in Cherry Hill. You know, that’s just not going to happen. And we all know exactly where they’re going to put these. What other justice aspects should we talk about as far as a green new deal and what it needs to look like to really serve people?
Alison Arne 20:22
Well, I think going back to that beginning, injustice, Sandy was really a lightning bolt of for us to know how unprepared, just how incredibly unprepared we are not just for the current flooding that we’re facing, but for future storms. And as we move into higher warming temperatures and warming sees, sea level rise. So back about five years after Sandy, New Jersey organizing project partnered with Stockton to do a study called Long Road Home, and essentially it was knocking on doors and talking to 500 Sandy survivors. Of those 500 people that were talked to 70% of them had new or worsening health conditions directly attracted to the storm. And out of that 70%, 20% of those folks had a new or worsening substance use disorder. So we are seeing how incredibly intertwined this crisis really is. And then it’s you can’t even just look at just energy or just mitigation adaptation. So we started talking to people about what was the cause of their health problems, and a lot of it was stress. So when we go back to thinking about, well, what caused people to not get home right away? And what caused the stress? Well, the biggest thing was, we have this National Flood Insurance Program that is supposed to take care of people, if there’s a flood, they were chronically underpaying. So for instance, one of our founders, she got 10% of what she should have.
Heather Warburton 21:52
Alison Arne 21:53
So how do you rebuild 10% of a house right? So then we go to find out you can’t even really take your insurance company to court to sue them, so Senator Menendez had to actually go through and create a task force. So they would reopen the claims to begin with. So then we have leaders and members going to court. And of course, no lawyer just works, very few lawyers work out of the goodness of their heart, right. And nobody did it pro bono. So you had a chunk of your settlement going to your lawyer. And then we had our leaders looking across the table. And as a policy holder and a taxpayer, they’re paying for the insurance companies lawyers too, because there’s nothing written in that bill to prevent them from hiring their legal team with funds, you know, sort of thing. So what we started to do was look at, well, how can we reform this so when there’s no underpayments and also, once people get back home, let’s make sure they’re safe for good, because a lot of these other people, they really had to fight to get elevation.
We had huge problems with Sandy money coming in, and how that was being directed to communities. Communities were not getting a say in how that money is being used. So now you’ve gotten to a place where you can rebuild your house. But you’re still in a floodplain and you can’t elevate because you cannot afford the raise. So those were some of the things that we started to look at how can we change that. And we do have a bill right now going through both the House and the Senate that hopefully we can get hold, because one is going to hold the private insurance companies accountable. It’s going to prevent people. You know, as we’re talking about Atlantic City, I have talked to so many senior citizens that are on the verge of losing their house, or they’ve already received notice, because they can’t afford their flood insurance premiums. So the banks are taking their homes. So they’ve been paying their mortgage for the last 10-20 years. And they’re about to lose everything. And now what we’re seeing is flight from communities. People are leaving, and those are the people that we need to stay to fight for the changes we need. Before we end up seeing the developers come in, and taking these homes and really changing the makeup of our communities.
Heather Warburton 23:56
Right, displacing someone from their community that they have a history iand a past with is an act of violence.
Alison Arne 24:02
It really is
Heather Warburton 24:03
It really impacts you, you know, you your community develops and you know makes who you are.
Alison Arne 24:09
It does, and especially when you’re talking about people who have been there for generations, you know, and that have a close family network in there, and you start pulling family members out of the neighborhood. And all of a sudden, it’s like, well, who is left as far as a support system goes, who is left as far as you know, my family goes. So we’ve been hearing a lot about, well, why nobody should be allowed to rebuild in a flood zone. And on paper, that looks good, right? But when you really think about like putting into practice, like I don’t know, anybody who can afford to just walk away from their home, you know, and we have no just buyout program right now at the mass level. And then even when you start seeing people leave well, towns still need the same services. So the people that are left are the ones now on the hook with higher property taxes. You can’t afford to property taxes. Either the city takes your home or you end up having to move to and now we’re just we’re seeing gentrification in different communities, communities of color and extra, you know, white, even the white working class communities, we’re starting to see a completely different makeup. So that’s something I think we need to look at in the future.
Heather Warburton 25:17
I wanted to ask about blue acres funding.
Alison Arne 25:19
Heather Warburton 25:19
Which is the goal of you know, with you, your house gets flooded out, they give you they’ll buy you out of your house, but I know in communities like Atlantic City, your market value of your house will not purchase you a house on the mainland for that like money that you got. So what can we do to fix blue acres funding? either one of you can take this one. Okay.
Alison Arne 25:42
I was looking at Jocelyn because I feel like I’ve spent a lot
A couple of things that we have been looking at and is also in the Flood Insurance Program because another problem with blue acres which is a great program, but it’s not an individual buyout program, so you and your neighbors have to decide that you’re going to put your homes up for sale and take the buyouts. So there was an article that just came out about like no oceanfront properties. And there was a lot of criticism because no oceanfront properties have been bought. Well, one, are oceanfront communities getting together and applying to be part of this program. And two, a lot of our flooding is happening at Back Bay and river sources. So then once again, once you get into areas where property value has dropped, because you have not been able to elevate your home, and this is the vicious cycle, so it’s kind of like I keep going back to NFIP. And I think the big reason is because when my ED first suggested it, and I was like, come on, like, that’s what we’re going to talk about. But as we started talking about it more and I started me with more leaders, I realized like, that’s how my family got displaced. My landlord was not able to raise the home. He did not have the funding. So we ended up displaced and separated. But the monies put in there to elevate a home would certainly help to raise somebody’s property value in Atlantic City, or they can take a buyout, which may not be what it is to buy somewhere somewhere else. But at least its a bit more just and that’s something that we need to talk about as far as like, what are the solutions? And one of the reasons that I think NJOP got so much accomplished after Sandy was because we realized that the people closest to the problems are people close to solutions. So right now, I don’t have the answer. And we’re big on saying that, like, we don’t have all the answers, but you have the answer. And it’s looking inside communities and what can we do to get them mitigated and adapt to the rising water levels, so one they can stay, and two if they choose to leave, then there’s some sort of fair market value for their home.
Heather Warburton 27:51
And we’ve been talking a lot about coastal communities, but as waters is rising, this is going to apply to rivers like you know, no, just don’t think The Beach or the barrier islands like this could be happening along the Delaware River. No community is really safe from this. So we can’t just think about coastal communities with this.
Alison Arne 28:09
No and well as you know, the climate strike in Atlantic City. Last week we had great community members come out one is no longer an Atlantic City resident she now lives in these landing after Sandy. She could not afford to elevate her home, put it up for sale, move to Mays Landing, and she had to have a sump pump installed in her home in Mays Landing, because the Lake Lennape and the Great Egg Harbor River and then once again and we’re seeing it we’re seeing historic flooding with coast, inland communities. Last year, there were 36 nationally declared floods in 24 states and most of them were inland. So they weren’t they certainly were not coastal communities and FEMA’s maps are really out of date. They are coming out with new maps next year. And that means that we’re going to see risk pool double to 10 million properties nation wide, which is another reason why we need to make sure that the reforms are in there so that it’s affordable for people to actually keep their home.
Heather Warburton 29:08
And I wanted to give Jocelyn a little time because
Alison Arne 29:11
Heather Warburton 29:11
It’s okay and you’ve been giving great information, but I just wanted to give Jocelyn a little time to talk about any other justice aspects that you’re seeing through Food and Water Watch that need to be brought into this discussion. Or Food and Water Action. Sorry.
Jocelyn Sawyer 29:28
Yeah, Food and Water Watch / Food and Water Action. It’s two arms of the same group.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, and thank you, Alison. I’ve learned so much from Allison about just the the specific, you know, climate justice issues that coastal communities are facing and facing here in New Jersey. And yeah, I really appreciate you and your work. Yeah, I mean, so much of what you know, Allison, is describing is really it’s a disaster capitalism. Were seeing right under under climate change. I mean, it’s not just the people already losing their jobs and people are. Yeah, people are losing their homes. I mean, access to health care is something that I consider to be a climate justice issue. You know, I kind of alluded earlier to the fact that Food and Water Action does, you know, a lot of work on protecting public water and fighting water privatization. And that’s something that is, I absolutely considered to be a climate justice issue. I mean, clean, you know, fresh drinking water is going to become an even more scarce resource during, you know, the climate catastrophe.
And we can’t allow our drinking water systems to be owned and controlled by private companies. But that’s something that we see a lot of New Jersey, we’re seeing more and more. Yeah, I actually was, had just been in touch with and supporting some folks in Pleasantville, who were fighting a sewer privatization deal just last month. American Water tried to come in and buy up that sewer system, and that’s, you know, a community where just as Allison was describing, I mean, they’ve seen a lot of people have been displaced and moved. And so property taxes are rising. And so you know, the community, they don’t have the funding to keep, you know, maintaining the water system and you start to see issues. We need more federal funding for public drinking water system. And that’s a big one. And they’re just, you know, there’s so many areas where as we’re thinking about, you know, what does it really mean to live in a climate changed world? What are the needs that people are going to be having? Yeah, I think health care is a big piece of that, as well. Yeah, really, so many other things. And exactly, I mean, what you’re saying about flooding and rivers, I know folks along even the Cooper River and Camden County have been facing flooding. It’s, you know, it’s certainly not only coastal communities. Yeah, I’ll pause there.
Heather Warburton 31:50
And I think there’s like, you know, transportation issues to like roads, our infrastructure is going to be crumbling more to and what communities do you think that are going to not get funding again, it’s the marginalized communities, its roadways. You know, you drive on roadways in some towns, they’re much nicer and more well maintained already. And before, you know, and we’re just at the very beginning of this climate catastrophe. So it really does filter through, I think every aspect of your life, this climate catastrophe is going to impact us. And it’s not going to impact us well. It’s going to do nothing but impact us negatively, except for the few people who will find a way to profit off it. Which is the last thing I wanted to transition to is, you know, I say that the Green New Deal is not remotely enough, the one that’s being proposed by the Democrats, because it doesn’t really address this disaster of capitalism. How do we push that conversation forward? Because there is, I’ll readily and happily say there is no future for us under capitalism, as long as greed and profit is a motivation then we’re never going to get to address anything we’ve been talking about here. So how do we push that conversation?
Alison Arne 33:06
Well, I think we need to go back to thinking about like, no party should have the monopoly on climate change action, right. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a really, really conservative town in Texas, back in 2017. They were at 90%, clean, renewable energy, and they were aiming for 100%. And I went to go check and the town is actually at 100% renewable energy, and their driving force for that was economic reasons. Right? They saw that there was just so much cost when you talk about extractive fuel policy and going back so I think the biggest thing is we need to get real people talking, like New Jersey organizing project has not made a decision one way or another on the Green Deal, Green New Deal, mostly because it doesn’t talk about the fact that we’re already here like, you know, when shouldn’t just be talking about the future because we’re already here in the climate crisis.
But when you talk to our leaders, the things that they do like about the green new deal is the fact that we’re talking about centering people that are usually either overlooked or intentionally left out when policy is created. And I think that’s like the number one thing is that our communities needs to realize that if we’re building power together, that’s going to be our strongest option going forward. And that is the only way that we are going to be able to see the opportunities that we need here now and then also in the future. I mean, I used to love the water and I wanted my daughter to have relationship with the water. And when I was up at a climate strike. Last week, it dawned on me, that was the only the second time this year I’ve taken her to the beach and that’s because like I have Sandy really caused a lot of trauma underlying trauma for people. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately, like, when she was first born. I was like, Oh my God. She’s a really cool kid. She’s gonna leave me. She’s gonna realize she’s great one day, and she’s going to go off and do her own thing. And now my biggest fear is that she’s going to have to leave New Jersey, not by choice, but by force, either because sea level rise has done that much damage to our community, and we live 30 miles inland, or just the shrinking housing market at this point, because now, we’re, we’re already short in New Jersey as far as homes go. So I think that’s the biggest thing is that our communities needs to come together and start building power together so that we can overcome the forces that have been keeping us down for so long.
Heather Warburton 35:36
I like you, Jocelyn. Anything to add to that. I know it’s hard to follow Allison. Allison is really good.
Alison Arne 35:42
You guys. I’m really intimidated because Jocelyn’s , like, knowledge as far as energy overall and just hold water in general? Is incredible. Thank you.
Jocelyn Sawyer 35:54
Yeah, its hard to top Allison. It’s also it’s a hard question. I mean, you’re asking You know, how do we bring about
Heather Warburton 36:02
How do we bring about the socialist revolution? Go! No big deal, right?
Jocelyn Sawyer 36:08
Yeah, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you in the last, you know, few minutes of out conversation, but I will say, I mean, I just think, you know, we’ve talked so much about what needs to happen for just transition for workers. I mean, it is both an opportunity and also just a critical, you know, point that we see workers transitioning into union jobs. You know, the workers movement, strong, I think, folks who are, you know, organizing their workplaces in the labor movement, modern labor movement right now. We’re just they’re doing incredibly important work. We need to listen to the leadership and the knowledge of communities who you know, know best what they need. Absolutely. And we need to, we do need to just be thinking broader than just, you know, how can we transition our energy sources as we’ve talked about on this call so much else is included in that. And to just stop pretending that market based mechanisms like a carbon tax or cap and trade schemes are going to do anything for the climate at this point. We’re so past the point of that. Yeah.
Heather Warburton 37:14
I mean, we know there’s this thing of, you know, there’s a state i think it’s a meme that, you know, some something’s illegal but punishable with a fine, that means legal for rich people. Because those people can just if you can just buy your way and think that you somehow have bought away your climate damage. You haven’t. You just paid some money, then if you have a lot of it, that’s nothing to you. Why would you stop?
Jocelyn Sawyer 37:40
Right, of course, I mean, it’s, you know, we’re at a point where fossil fuels are killing us. And, you know, nobody is out there saying we what we really need is a tax on assault rifles, right? I mean, if something is killing you, we have to ban it. We have to stop it. And we’re at a point where, you know, we need to stop extracting fossil fuels. We just need to end it on the supply side. Yeah, just one other thing that I hadn’t gotten to yet that I do really want to mention as important, I think, of upholding indigenous rights. As you know, we’re fighting climate change worldwide, indigenous people are stewards of like 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Indigenous activists in this country been on the forefront of fighting so many fossil fuel projects from the Keystone XL pipeline and Standing Rock and the pilgrim pipeline here in New Jersey, that, you know, honoring the treaties and honoring indigenous land rights is just is something that absolutely needs to be included in, you know, I mean, our social justice work.
Heather Warburton 38:39
Alright, well, thank you guys so much for this conversation today. It’s been great. I’ve loved talking to the two of you. And I think people got some really good education and knowledge that maybe they didn’t have before. So that’s always one of my goals. And you know, both of you said people need to get organizing and become activists themselves, and that’s always my other goal here on Wine, Women and Revolution. I want everyone to become a socialist organizer. I’m not subtle about it. That is the goal, because I would like there to be a future on this planet. So, everyone, if you can hear this, hopefully you too will become a socialist organizer.
To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us here today. We would not be here if it weren’t for you. We are here to be the voice of the activist community because activists do not get covered in mainstream media. You know, do you think we’re ever going to have a conversation in mainstream media about how we get rid of capitalism and make social justice happen? No, that’s not that doesn’t sell papers that doesn’t sell advertising. So that’s why we do have to keep asking you if at all possible go on to www.njrevolutionradio.com and click on that Donate button. Even if it’s only a couple of dollars a month it really does help get us out to more activities, more actions. We’ve been covering like crazy things this past couple of weeks. Nazis, and horrible resolutions in Toms River, climate strikes. There’s so much stuff going on. We need help to get out to all those things. The future is yours to create, go out there and create it.