The Original 1996 Green New Deal

Andy Caffrey & Alden Bryant at Berkeley, CA Earth Regeneration Society/Climate Action NOW! office. This is where Andy edited & published at the Climate Action NOW! website the 1996 Green New Deal he originally authored in 1991. Rick Childs photo.

U.S. Citizens Mandate for Climate Stabilization and Community Well Being

PREAMBLE: Because we are loving and compassionate creatures, and because the best science available to use at this time suggests the need to reduce U.S. fossil-fuel emissions 80% in the next five to ten years in concert with similar, relatively-scaled programs in the rest of the industrialized world, in order to prevent the likelihood of catastrophic climate changes that would destroy the conditions necessary to produce our food, clothing and shelter, and which would create monstrous storm and flood conditions that would destroy our coastal and river communities, and create weather extremes of snow and drought never before experienced by civilized humans, we call upon our elected and appointed government servants to declare a national emergency and uphold their sworn oaths to protect the security and well being of their fellow citizens by immediately enacting the following emergency program for national security, this Citizens Mandate for Climate Stabilization and Community Well Being

  1. Divert the U.S. Military Budget into the funding of a true program for national, community and personal security; a program which funds the reconstruction of strong, ecologically benign local economies in which no American community is dependent upon the export economy or the destruction of natural systems to meet the needs of its people. It should include

    a) A Community Reconstruction and Revitalization Jobs Program to convert the infrastructures of all American communities away from a fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy based, consumerist economic foundation and toward a zero-waste economic structure which does not degrade the ability of the earth’s natural systems to provide a high quality of life for all future generations as long as they maintain the wisdom to live in balance with these precious systems.

    b) A Natural Systems Restoration Program: the most important and wisest investment in our children’s future that we could possibly make, and the most fundamental source of our social security is a program which removes the toxins with which we have overburdened our natural environment for far too long; a program which rebuilds all of the essential structures of our soils, fields and forests, which reintroduces extirpated species, where possible, in an effort to restore the natural species relationships in the oceans and upon the continents as close as we possibly can to the original blueprint, the one we never succeeded in surpassing.

    We must commence extensive, bioregionally-based, carrying capacity assessments in order to truly know how much change is essential to restore the balanced involvement of humanity with the rest of nature, and to establish genuinely sustainable communities. Climate stability and long-horizon, community self-sufficiency are inextricably dependent upon our success in this endeavor.

    c) A Personal Security Program which includes:

    * The rapid implementation of a 20-hour workweek, with a livable wage, in order to eliminate the need for jobs in the production of superfluous, ecologically-destructive, consumer items, wasteful promotion-oriented packaging, and to immediately reduce the need to burn fossil fuels to get people to work.

    * A substantial guaranteed income available to all citizens who might lose their jobs or be unable to find private-sector work as we shut down the destructive sectors of the economy. This income would, for the most part, be linked to involvement in community-controlled conversion and restoration projects. Social Security benefits guaranteed as a birthright.

    * Free, convenient and safe public transportation.

    * Free education of any kind, to advance the intellect, the spirit, the body, or the community.

    * Low-cost health care designed around a system of localized neighborhood health clinics to meet most primary care needs at a modest cost.

    * Free neighborhood-based daycare, and other programs to meet the needs and desires of people by involving the elderly and all other civically-minded people who would now have an abundance of free time to get reinvolved in their community, rebuilding the personal bonds and investments in the welfare of their neighbors that truely generate social security and stability, and create the conditions for happiness to flourish.

    * Extensive government funding for the arts to rejuvenate our spirits and compensate for the rapid reduction of our personal acquisitional powers once we have to pay something approaching the real costs of consumer goods. It is time to celebrate and restore the meaning of “Cultured Society”. It is time for a new Rennaisance.
  2. Establish a Zero-Loss Environmental Accounting System, with resource and energy replacement costs inclusive. No net degradation to the ecological foundations of our human economy. We must eliminate our unconscionable practice of “externalizing” costs and dumping their burdens on poorer countries, future generations, and other species. Externalities hide from consumers the true costs of producing consumer goods, reduce their prices to consumers, thus allowing us to voraciously consume murderous quantities of crap, and accelerate the need for landfills and toxic waste incinerators.
  3. Implement a Carbon Tax to discourage production and consumption of fossil fuels, and rebalance the false economics that allows nonrenewable energy sources to outcompete renewables in the marketplace.
  4. Rescind the GATT and NAFTA agreements and reverse the direction of America’s expanding globalization of the economy. Shift, with a war-effort intensity, toward the redevelopment of strong, ecologically-balanced, bioregionally-based, community economies.
  5. To restrict the corporate control of the economy, eliminate the virtual personhood of corporations, and reestablish community control of corporate charters.
  6. Establish public financing of federal and state elections. Prohibit the purchasing of deceptive, manipulative, mass-media election propaganda.
  7. Establish a National Citizen Initiative and Referendum Process. Right now our democratic process is limited to the state initiative process which exists in only a few states.
  8. Enforce an immediate, absolute ban on any further industrialized or mechanized intrusions in wildland regions, especially the construction of new roads.
  9. Decriminalize hemp, to develop fiber sources for paper production and other essential uses which could substitute for industrialized logging production, and thus, prevent any further degradation of forests. Eliminate prison sentences for marijuana-related crimes, and allow the development of a regulated, legalized, marijuana economy. This will allow the elimination of tens of thousands of taxpayer-financed, makework jobs, and reduce a tremendous burden on our prison system, and it will allow us to acknowledge that because so many Americans accepted monstrous government lies, we allowed a system of institutionalized violence to terrorize so many of our friends and neighbors. Jail the real drug dealers, the nation’s automobile and oil industry executives and their public relations consultants. We can not create a humane and decent culture in an environment of sanctioned lies.
  10. All military funding (except pension and healthcare funding for past and present members of the armed forces) should be raised solely from voluntary military defense contributions. No mandatory taxes to support the armed forces. Only bake sales and panhandling should be allowed. If America is threatened, Americans will eagerly finance their defense. But we will no longer finance the systematic, genocidal, demolition of nationalized third world economies, traditional indigenous cultures, and the murdering of millions of innocent people in order to dominate foreign economies so that multinational corporate profits stay high, resource and foreign labor costs remain low, and American jobs, wages, communities, and so many of our fellow citizens disintegrate.

    This we CAN DO. We CAN become lovers of life, and each other, once again.

Copyright (c) 1996 Climate Action Now

Originally published and still up at

This document was prepared in the context of the original 1996 Climate Action NOW! organizing project which is now the #ClimateCrisis #YearOfoutrage organizing project. Please read the Climate Action NOW! Mission Statement also published in 1996, during the Clinton/Gore presidency (it was a response to it) and the OJ trial!


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