The Green New Deal – Jeremy Rifkin

These days there is a lot of talk of a “Green New Deal”, and each version is usually much different from another. We have no idea, but there are probably a 100 “Green New Deals”. So lets just say we in an attempt to at clarity would like to call the phenomena “Positive Climate Change Actions”.

Jeremy Rifkin, a renowned economic theorist has written a book titled “The Green New Deal” and is based on real life experience wrapped around a necessary amount of theory. His real time experience involves time as an advisor to China and the EU, the countries in the forefront of dealing with Climate Change, albeit China starting with the biggest problem. To us this book is a good place to start.

What Rifkin refers to as the Third Industrialization, the rethinking of our energy, infrastructure, transportation, and housing sectors along with how we live in a way to lower carbon emissions is to our way of thinking, the core Green Issue. Like other books and movements focusing on The Green New Deal, how this evolves has a many variations.

Rifkin’s view, based on his first hand experience, of how this evolves can be summed up as 1) increasing renewable energy, 2) accelerating energy efficiency, and 3) reducing the carbon footprint. In essence to make this all happen, a national architecture is needed to assemble into a grid the core local energy sources of wind and solar.

As he says in the concluding chapter, “It’s the Infrastructure Stupid”. The great paradigm changes in human history are infrastructure revolutions that change our temporal/spatial orientation, our economic models, our forms of governance, our cognition, and our very worldview.

He goes on to say, in forager/hunter societies, empathy only extended to blood ties and kinship and the sharing of a common ancestral worldview.

In the agricultural civilizations which followed, empathy extended to those who shared a common religious affiliation.

Next we saw the First Industrialization Revolution in the 19th century wherein empathy extended to figurative families based on a collectives sense of national loyalty to the motherland, a nation state identity.

In the Second Industrial Revolution in the 20th Century, empathy extended to like cosmopolitan and professional ties in an increasingly borderless world.

In the emerging Third Industrial Revolution we are seeing digital natives extending empathy in a more expansive way, as members of a threatened species on a destabilizing earth. Awareness and learning to live with all the planetary agencies is what takes us from dominion to stewardship. Heavy stuff, if we do say so.

Moving on to a later portion of the book Rifkin goes deeper into distributed local energy sources that will go hand in hand with distributed governance. What this means is that development of a smart green infrastructure will be locally driven within a national architecture. He sees what he calls peer groups of civic minded community spirit leading this decentralized energy zero-emissions infrastructure transition.

His bottom line is that the existential magnitude of the climate change crisis is of a kind humanity has never before been confronted. It requires a multigenerational form of commons governance that can continue into the indefinite future.

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