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The Scene: A Model U.N. competition, circa 2010. Boston University’s team has made the finals and its members, Brittany, Ashley, Tyler, Brandon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have one hour to come up with a better plan to save the world than Fernwood College’s team.
The BU team members are working out the final details of their “Green New Deal” in an empty classroom adjacent to the auditorium where the Student General Assembly is gathered.
Believe it or not, the italicized words attributed to Ocasio-Cortez below are actual statements her office released last week. The italicized words attributed to “Brittany,” “Ashley,” “Tyler,” and “Brandon” are from the Green Party USA’s “Green New Deal,” which seems in title, tone, and vapidity to have inspired the Democrats’ more ballyhooed initiative.
Ashley: The fate of humanity is in our hands. It is not just a question of what kind of world we want, but whether we will have a world at all.
Tyler: We literally need a massive mobilization of our communities, government and the people on the scale of World War II—to transition our energy system and economy to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, including a complete phase out of fossil fuels, fracked gas, and nuclear power.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: We need to overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.
Brittany: But how do we do that and end unemployment for good, but also fight the corporate takeover of our democracy and exploitation of the poor and people of color?
Brandon: Good question. I would propose democratic control of our energy system, rather than maximizing profits for energy corporations, banks, and hedge funds.
AOC: At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.
Tyler: It will pay for itself through health savings alone, from the prevention of fossil fuel-related diseases—which kill 200,000 people every year and afflict millions more with asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and other illnesses.
AOC: When JFK said we would go to the moon by the end of the decade, people said impossible.
AOC: When FDR called on America to build 185,000 planes to fight World War II, every business leader, CEO, and general laughed at him.
Tyler: They were soooo mean to FDR. He was disabled and they laughed at him.
Brittany: He showed them, though, when he beat the Republicans and Hitler.
AOC: If implemented, this will guarantee a job with family-sustaining wages. And even economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work. There is no time to waste!
Ashley: Did you hear Demi Lovato broke up with Joe Jonas and had to go to rehab?
Brandon: No way!
Brittany: Hello, guys! We only have 20 more minutes to come up with a better plan than Fernwood College.
Tyler: I wonder what they’re doing.
Brittany: Last year, they proposed one world government to heighten our collective response to the impending environmental catastrophe. But they had flying cars and lost.
Ashley: Why? Flying cars would be good.
Brittany: I know, right? The judges said they wouldn’t be environmental. Which I think is unfair because Fernwood College said in their plan that a team of government scientists would discover cold fusion, making flying cars affordable, clean, and completely safe.
Ashley: Well, we definitely won’t have flying cars then!
Tyler: The Green New Deal will convert the decaying fossil fuel economy into a new, green economy that is environmentally sustainable, economically secure and socially just.
Brandon: The wealthy, who have most benefited from the excessive burning of fossil fuels, should pay increased taxes to help with the cost of transitioning to a green economy.
AOC: We’ll set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.
AOC: My bad. Let’s make that “gas-emitting cows.”
AOC: Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing like using fossil fuels for energy needs; we also need to start doing new things like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient. Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment.
Brandon: Let’s go take our plan to the Student General Assembly and save the planet!
Photo Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images