In September, the Living New Deal NYC held “From the Original New Deal to the Green New Deal,” a webinar featuring a diverse group of panelists that attracted 400 registrants. Keynote speaker Robert Kuttner—distinguished economist, author and editor of The American Prospect—laid out an ambitious agenda for a Green New Deal he likened to World War II in scale. Deborah Gardner, historian and curator of Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, described the original New Deal using a wealth of images.
Julian Brave Noisecat, activist and vice president for policy for Data for Progress, discussed the art of coalition building needed to fight climate change and role of young activists, such as the Sunrise Movement, in garnering Congressional support. New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver stressed the growing importance of green space for America’s cities, and green architect Elisa Iturbe spoke to the need for a new design paradigm based on a just transition to decarbonization.
Billy Fleming, head of the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, countered the myth of the New Deal as a top-down phenomenon, describing FDR’s role as “experimenter-in-chief.” Fleming named “jobs, justice and carbon” the three pillars of a Green New Deal. Author and historian Kevin Baker moderated the panel with his characteristic verve and historical knowledge.
Our thanks to Peggy Crane for organizing this lively and educational forum. We plan to host other timely webinars on New Deal-inspired topics in 2021.