As climate change becomes a more pressing issue, it’s easy to feel hopeless as some brush off evidence of this reality. But even though the future sometimes looks grim, there are many people leading the way on the climate crisis. One of them is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, along with Sen. Ed Markey, introduced the Green New Deal, an ambitious resolution that intends to address climate change, without overlooking the most marginalized communities. Generation Z is also at the front lines of this fight. So when AOC was asked to envision a future where the Green New Deal passed, she pictured one that showed how the next generation made her idea their own.
Teaming up with The Intercept, AOC helped bring “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” to life. The project – which was co-written by AOC and Avi Lewis, illustrated by Molly Crabapple, and co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt – is a mix of “fact, fiction, and visual art.”
The video, which AOC also narrates, opens with an older Alexandria reminiscing about how taking a bullet train from New York to DC reminded her of her first year in Congress. But before looking at the future, she took us to the past, where she broke down how companies like Exxon accelerated the effects of climate change – while enriching themselves – and how they successfully got politicians to cast doubt on global warming. By 2018, leading climate scientists warned that we had 12 years to cut emissions by half or more people would face water and food shortages.
“12 years to change everything – how we got around, how we fed ourselves, how we made our stuff, how we lived and worked. Everything,” she said. “The only way to do it was to transform our economy, which we already knew was broken since the vast majority of wealth was going to just a small handful of people, and most folks were falling further and further behind. Lots of people gave up. They said we were doomed. But some of us remembered that as a nation, we’d been in peril before. The Great Depression, World War II. We knew from our history how to pull together to overcome impossible odds. And at the very least, we owed it to our children to try.”
From there, AOC looked at the decade of the Green New Deal, which saw a “flurry of legislation that kicked off our social and ecological transformation to save the planet.” She introduced a young woman from the Bronx named Ileana, who was part of the first group of professionals living in a country that made big moves to ensure the future of the planet.
With much about climate change focusing on the negative aspects – i.e. making us feel as though we’ve basically arrived at a post-apocalyptic world – AOC’s story gives us hope and shows us a possible future where everything and everyone is thriving.
Check out the video below.