The Ithaca Green New Deal was proposed by Mayor Myrick and passed by Common Council in June. Now we have to make it come true.

First, I want to acknowledge that we are here on land that was home to the Onondaga and Cayuga peoples, who were murdered or driven off the land so that white people could be here. And we have this society built by wealth created by enslaved people from Africa.

And we have the comforts and conveniences of our communities because we have been extracting resources from the earth as though we could take whatever we want and there would always be more. And we have burned fuels as though the atmosphere would harmlessly absorb whatever we put in it, even though we knew it would not.

So our culture is built on disposability. That’s how we got to where we are now. Disposability of black and brown peoples and their communities, disposability of the oceans, the soil, species, pollinators, forests ....

And now we are changing this.

For its part, the City has drafted and passed the Ithaca Green New Deal - which is a big deal - an ambitious idea about weaning our community off fossil fuels by 2030. All of our buildings - homes and businesses - will use less energy, and not use energy from fossil fuels, including natural gas. All our vehicles will be electric. And all our electricity will be supplied by renewable energy. By 2030 our community will be carbon neutral.

But this plan will not accomplish itself. To do it and do it right we need to all be listened to, all speak up, and to all challenge business-as-usual, and all get on board. If we work together as a community we can meet the challenges of our time. The building upgrades will create lots of new jobs, and we need to make sure those jobs go to local black and brown and low-income people. We can increase the production of local food, protect our lake and aquifer, guarantee affordable housing and medical care. This Green New Deal is a huge opportunity to address the climate crisis and social justice.

We can do this. We need to stay connected and mobilize each other to make it happen. No one is disposable - no people, no land, no aquifer or lake, no species. We are literally all in this together. Let’s do this! History has its eyes on you.

Anne Rhodes

Freeville, NY

 

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