As a region dependent on imported water and imported energy, the need for a San Diego regional Green New Deal is clear. Regardless of whether GND legislation is passed at the federal level, these issues must be tackled at our local level.
The GND calls for upgrading our buildings to conserve water and energy. This recent winter’s rains have been a nice respite, but even so, we import water even in the the rainiest years. As the western US shifts towards a pattern of more frequent and more intense droughts, San Diego needs to use water more efficiently, and start using recycled water for all outdoor irrigation.
The GND calls for 100 percent renewable energy. The San Diego region has an abundance of solar and wind energy, it only needs to be harvested. Why should we continue to export money for electricity when we could instead enrich our region by harvesting local power?
The GND calls for decoupling industry and pollution. If we set the rulebook so that locally produced, clean products are favored over imported ones, the market will respond accordingly. Right now we export our dirty industries, along with the jobs that go with them.
The GND calls for zero emission transportation. San Diego’s Climate Action Plan has so far failed with regards to transportation. It has not had a meaningful impact on public transportation infrastructure, nor has it reigned in urban sprawl or created meaningful in-fill development. Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan is not strong enough to accomplish this goal without the support of more comprehensive changes.
Best of all, the GND calls for us to do things we would want to do anyway. Even setting aside environmental concerns for a moment, wasting water and energy is expensive! Treating asthma and other diseases caused by air pollution is expensive. Yes, the GND will cost some money, but we are already spending that money. The Green New Deal is just common sense.
Dave Gladson works in Point Loma and lives in Serra Mesa.