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 A ‘Green New Deal’ (GND) has been proposed in the US by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey. It has many facets, but one of the main aims of the proposal would be to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by creating millions of green jobs and investing in a new, clean-energy infrastructure. This idea would result in quite a radical reshaping of the American economy, so what do the populates think about it? Recent polling data reported by The Nation shows that millennials are more enthusiastic than older generations about radical efforts to save the planet and create jobs.

What the research shows:

‘The green-job guarantee’, which is a core component of the ‘Green New Deal’, proposes “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and disability leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all members of our society.” The poll asked voters if they would support “giving every unemployed American who wants one a job building energy-efficient infrastructure.” Sixty percent of respondents said they somewhat or strongly support the policy, compared to just 13 percent who somewhat or strongly opposed the policy. While that idea has broad support, millennials outpace other generations on the question of a green-jobs guarantee:


The age groups are defined as, Millennials 18–37, Generation X 38–53, Baby Boomers 54–72, and Silent as 72 or older.

The poll also asked:

‘Would you support or oppose a Green New Deal to end fossil fuel use in the United States and have the government create clean energy jobs? The plan would be paid for by raising taxes, including a tax on carbon emissions.’

The poll identified a generational divide on the Green New Deal, even controlling for several variables like party, ideology, and race. Millennials – people ages 18 to 37 – were more likely to support than oppose the policy by 24 percentage points. Yet the Silent Generation – people older than 72 – were 25 points more likely to oppose than support the Green New Deal.

Another key component of the Green New Deal is a focus on racial justice: The resolution includes explicit language that the GND will “promote justice and equity by preventing current and repairing historic oppression to frontline and vulnerable communities.” The polling suggests that millennials have greater levels of racial liberalism compared to those of other generations, and thus may be more receptive to this aspect of the Green New Deal as well. By a large margin, millennials scored lowest on the measure of overall racial animus. Perhaps surprisingly, they were the only distinctive generation on this measure, with Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Silent Generation voters all reporting levels of racial animus within the margin of error of one another.

Given that millennials are uniquely supportive of a green-jobs guarantee, the Green New Deal, and environmental and racial justice efforts, it’s no surprise that most activists pushing for the Green New Deal are young people. This is an interesting time in history as now Congress has a Green New Deal proposal that tackles our climate, environmental, racial justice, and economic-inequality crises.

Whatever your views on the Green New Deal, what’s relevant is that young people are finding a voice and speaking out about what matters to them. This level of problem-solving and critical thinking is what most educators have been encouraging and teaching for some time, and for that we should acknowledge a job well done. Let’s all continue to support students and young people in this way, and give them the skills they need to thrive in their own future and the planet’s.

This information is shared from The Nation, ‘Young People Really, Really Want a Green New Deal’.

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