In the thick of the Coronavirus pandemic, some of the largest crises we have ever faced as a nation have reached a fever pitch: expanding economic inequality due to historic unemployment, inaction on racial injustice, and the ever-escalating climate crisis. We cannot continue with this status quo. 350NH is excited to announce that we are part of a new coalition that seeks to address the climate crisis, while creating an equitable society: Renew New England
Renew New England is a coalition of more than 50 leading racial justice organizations, labor unions, and environmental advocates dedicated to building a grassroots regional movement to address these major social, economic, and environmental challenges. It is working to elect leaders who will implement inspirational policies in each New England state and across the region.
Centered around Equity
While the specific policy proposals are still being finalized, Renew plans to start by creating good-paying, unionized jobs with a Jobs Guarantee program. The Jobs Guarantee is designed to achieve economic recovery in multiple ways–including providing jobs to build, improve, and operate regional infrastructure, increasing demand for sustainable materials, growing our region’s local industries, and ensuring that everyone’s basic needs, housing, healthcare, food, energy, transportation, clean air and water, are met. The proposal would ensure that every citizen could lead a dignified life. Isn’t this a world we want?
Affordable housing is a scarcity in New Hampshire. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, more than half of all renters and a quarter of all homeowners are cost-burdened, meaning that their housing costs exceed 30% of their gross income. Renew proposes constructing tens of thousands of new, carbon-neutral, climate-resilient affordable units, while repairing and installing green retrofits on existing units and fighting for rent stabilization policies. Additionally, Renew seeks to expand access to and the ability to pay for high-quality and preventive health care.
To ensure food needs in the region, the policy platform details plans to expand and support small and local farms in New England. Approximately 122,000 people in our state struggle with food insecurity and over 31,000 of them are children according to Feeding America. Expanding food assistance programs is also a part of the proposal. Renew wants to build a larger regional farm network and restore natural ecosystems by establishing incentives for farmers for sustainable agriculture. Renew also includes creating a New England pollution cleanup task force, composting and recycling systems, strengthening environmental standards and enforcement, and protecting indigenous sovereignty.
The Renew coalition proposes installing solar panels, turbines, and energy storage devices to ensure 100% zero-carbon electricity consumption by 2030, prohibiting new fossil fuel infrastructure, and implementing energy efficiency standards for buildings. Additionally, as stated by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the transportation sector accounts for approximately 42% of New Hampshire’s greenhouse gas emissions. To combat this, Renew proposes to build a large-scale public transit system, install electric vehicle charging stations, and subsidize electric vehicle purchases and transit.
Our Only Path to Survival
For far too long we have brushed aside scientists’ warnings of the urgent need for climate action because some see the crisis as an invisible threat. But it is not invisible. The crisis is here and continued inaction will lead to catastrophe for this region. We have 10 years to stop the climate crisis according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If we don’t act, our coastal cities and towns will be vulnerable to storms as sea level rises, shorelines erode, and storm surges become higher, destroying coastal homes, washing out highways and rail lines, and damaging essential infrastructure.
Costs of property damage in New Hampshire due to climate change could be as high as $4.4 billion dollars with a loss of 2600 acres of land, 25 miles of road and 33 critical municipal facilities. Further, these figures do not include the price of not investing in frontline and minority communities who lack cultural capital, are most vulnerable to this looming catastrophe, and already suffer the most from pollution and environmental degradation. These communities are the ones who are most affected by systemic economic and racial inequality. In other words, the “costs” of implementing ambitious policies like Renew must be contextualized by not having to pay for clean up of one natural disaster after another.
We do not see solving the climate crisis in this time frame as “too much change too fast.” We see it as paramount, and our only path to survival. We have known about this crisis for decades. Instead of acting, politicians have bolstered the fossil fuel industry. As the world burns, corporations and the politicians they support sit back and let the money roll in. The coronavirus and social unrest have shown us that what we once saw as radical has become mainstream. For example, when President Truman proposed universal healthcare in 1945, it was seen as radical. Even six months ago, it was still radical to many, but now, universal health care is seeming more important than ever before.
We need you to support Renew New England’s work and help us achieve civil, racial, economic and environmental justice. Together, we can fight for a better future.