A screen shot of the San Diego New Green Deal Alliance launch via Zoom.

A coalition of social justice, environmental, labor, faith-based and small business organizations Monday announced the beginning of a campaign championing a regional Green New Deal.

The “San Diego Green New Deal Alliance” announced its goal of creating a Zero Carbon region “that creates clean air, good jobs and more just communities” at a virtual event Monday featuring elected officials and community leaders.

“The climate crisis, ever-growing income disparity exacerbated by COVID, and deeply-rooted systemic racism are all tied,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at the event. “In order to meaningfully address these issues, we must champion a bold plan that recognizes how interconnected these problems are and how interconnected the solutions must be.”

The group will be focusing its initial efforts for a Zero Carbon future during several upcoming Climate Action Plan updates — for San Diego and San Diego County of San Diego as well as the San Diego Association of Governments’ regional transportation plan. It will also conduct workshops and research to implement a San Diego Green New Deal.

San Diego Councilwoman Monica Montgomery expressed her optimism that the alliance can help reverse the impacts of environmental racism.

“This is a way that we can address the intersectionality of injustice,” she said. “The communities that I represent are suffering some of the highest rates of unemployment, some of the highest rates of COVID-19 positive tests, some of the highest rates of pollution. It is time for us to build power and put it back in the hands of the people, where it belongs.”

The San Diego Green New Deal Alliance has the backing of 40 organizations, according to its chair, Maleeka Marsden of Climate Action Campaign.

Other community leaders spoke to the potential to jumpstart the economy with good, green jobs, as well as the challenge of ensuring a just transition for workers displaced by a clean energy economy.

“Those who insist that there is a conflict between the fight against climate change and good economics are offering the public a false choice,” said Jim Miller, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers Guild, Local 1931 which represents faculty, classified personnel and non-academic, non- classified employees in the San Diego Community College District and the college and continuing education faculty of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

“Indeed, the fight to address catastrophic climate change is inevitably bound to our fight against our historic level of economic inequality.”

— City News Service

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