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Reimagined CCC:Youth Programs to Combat Climate Change

Big Meadows CCC camp, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Front row, left to right: Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, CCC Director Robert Fechner, FDR, Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace.

Time for a 21st Century CCC

by Gray Brechin

Franklin Roosevelt was, among many other things, a knowledgeable forester. He frequently described himself as a “grower of trees.”

Long before his entrance on the political scene, he spent years reforesting his Hudson River estate at Hyde Park.

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From the New Deal to the Green New Deal

by Richard A Walker
Abstract:  A Green New Deal is the best way to deal with climate change, economic crisis and social-political disintegration in one sweep. The original New Deal offers the best model for a Green New Deal because it faced similar challenges of conservation, economic collapse, immiseration and political reaction in the 1930s and was successful in overcoming them. Indeed, like the New Deal, the United States today needs nothing less than a program of national reconstruction and renewal that is more than the sum of carbon reduction, infrastructure investment, more jobs and better wages.
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CCC boys at Marsh Field, San Diego, Calif.
Photo taken at Marsh Field barracks shows that some CCC camps were racially integrated.

The CCC and Race Revisited

by Richard A Walker
Originally published in Jacobin

The Civilian Conservation Corps, FDR’s original Green New Deal, cared for the environment and gave jobs to the unemployed. And though its record on racial equality was imperfect, it helped undermine key parts of Jim Crow.

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Photo taken at Marsh Field barracks shows that some CCC camps were racially integrated.

The CCC: Conserving Land and Youth, Again

by Gray Brechin

As remarkable a feat as the full-scale mobilization for war less than nine years later, the CCC saved the lives of millions of young men and their families. It provides a lesson by which we could once again save the land, water, and people whom we treat today as if we are rich enough to squander them en masse.

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In the 1930s the CCC employed millions of young men. They planted a billion trees, fought wildfires, restored cropland, and were on the scene following hurricanes and floods.

Ten Lessons for a Green New Deal

by Richard Walker

FDR and the New Dealers were idealists, but their genius lay in a hard-nosed pragmatism and a willingness to experiment. The Green New Deal is still mostly a set of potential policies and hoped-for outcomes.  To succeed, it needs to take seriously ten lessons from the first New Deal.

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Popular Science Magazine, 1934
Black line on this map shows the location of the 800-mile fire break then being built to create the man-made barrier, which will be known as Ponderosa Way.

A Firebreak Runs Through It

by Gray Brechin

In the wake of the most catastrophic wildfires in California’s history, Donald Trump accused state officials of shoddy forest management and recommended that the state’s dying forests should be raked. “Very important,” he said, to take care of the forest floor. Oddly enough, the New Deal’s enemies accused WPA workers of raking the forest as a synonym for boondoggling the taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.

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Living New Deal. Still Working for America.

And the Winners are . . .

FDR delivering one of his fireside chats.

The 2023 New Deal Book Award

The winning titles and authors have been announced. The 2023 Award, with a prize of $1,000, will be presented at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library June 22, 2024.