Dede’s Green Scene: “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” by Dede Tabak, June 06 2019, 7 Comments


When Senator Edward Markey, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats shared their Green New Deal proposal, it received a lot of reactions. There were those that applauded the initiative and praised lawmakers for finally taking the issue of climate change seriously. And then there were others who thought the proposal was ridiculous, extreme and impractical.

The Green New Deal is an overhaul plan for the U.S. to transition to 100% renewable, zero emissions energy sources by 2030. The idea is to transform our old economy into a new sustainable economy that will address climate change and also economic inequality. 

The impetus for the Green New Deal was the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Report. In the report, the world’s leading climate scientists provide us with a stark warning that the people on our planet have only 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions in order to limit the devastating effects of climate change.

The Future

Sadly, the Green New Deal, or anything resembling it, did not pass yet. But what if it did? What would that future look like? What would it be like to grow up in a world where the policies from the Green New Deal were implemented into a sustainable future?

This was the inspiration for the video, “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Katie Aronoff’s article in the Intercept, which shows us a world where the Green New Deal passed, inspired the creation of the video. It imagines a fictional character, Gina, living in the year 2043 in the United States. She is training to become a high-level engineer at a solar panel manufacturer and takes the high speed zero-carbon rail to see her friends—something that could easily become a common reality if we let it. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez narrates and co-wrote the “From the Future” video with Avi Lewis. They create a fictionalized future where the passing of the Green New Deal ushers in a decade of sustainable, climate change-focused policies. They show this “new” world through artist Molly Crabapple’s drawings, but instead of Gina, the video follows a girl named Ileana. The video showcases the different opportunities for Ileana, thanks to these green policies. After college, she starts working for Americore Climate, along with oil workers who are making a transition to new jobs. They all work with indigenous communities to rebuild the ecosystems destroyed by digging for fossil fuels. Later, Ileana works as a solar plant engineer and eventually, she runs and wins the same seat in the House of Representatives held by Ocasio-Cortez back in 2018. The video shows what it could be like growing up as a child of the Green New Deal and the future we could all have.

Lewis and Crabapple have a unique filmmaking style sharing strong and bold ideas. Both previously worked on a video titled “A History of the War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush,” in which Jay-Z narrates over Crabapple’s illustrations. It's about the policies and perceptions created during the war on drugs era that targeted black and Latino people over the last few decades. Their distinctive storytelling style captures the attention of the viewer and communicates the urgency of the situations. 

Art is a powerful tool and hopefully, this seven-and-a-half-minute video on the Green New Deal can persuade the minds of skeptics. This Deal may scare critics who call the idea too idealistic, but the other option is to do nothing and wait as millions of people face food and water shortages, poverty and even death from the impacts of climate change. We owe it to all of us and our children to try to address it.

“This beautiful film helps us imagine a different version of ourselves and a future in which we decided to come together in the face of crisis, rather than surrender and fall apart,” said director Naomi Klein.

As Ocasio-Cortez says in the video, “The first big step was just closing our eyes and imagining it. We can be whatever we have the courage to see."