A Green New Deal For Cambridge
February 2022 UPDATE: The Green New Deal for Cambridge has been reintroduced, with adjustments based on feedback we received during our last attempt. More details below, including how you can help support the policy! If you have questions, please email Councillor Zondervan via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Green New Deal for Cambridge is a framework for reducing emissions from large commercial buildings and creating economic opportunities for the most vulnerable members of our community through green jobs training programs. Please sign yourself or your organization on in support, and then use the instructions below to email the council! (full language below)
Did you know that Kendall Square is the most valuable square mile of real estate on the East Coast outside of a few neighborhoods in Manhattan? The reason for this is of course the millions and millions of square feet of biotech, pharma, and commercial office space that we've built there. Concentrating all that wealth in one tiny area has created a tale of two cities, in which people of color and low/moderate income residents have been displaced, and those who remain live in the shadows of high-paying jobs and opportunity that simply isn't for them.
Large commercial buildings are also absolutely the biggest contributors to emissions in our city! They make up more than half of our emissions profile, while residential buildings account for just 8%. That's why new housing is completely exempt from the GND proposal. As climate activists, we must recognize these twin crises as interrelated: despite our adoption of lofty climate goals like "net zero by 2050", city emissions have only increased over time. And the commercial growth driving that increase has left behind our most vulnerable.
The Green New Deal proposes that we collect a fee based on ALL the emissions a new commercial building will produce over its lifetime, using the money to do energy efficiency projects and fund green jobs training programs with direct benefit to low income and minority communities. We have an opportunity to redistribute wealth in order to green our city and create economic opportunity for those closest to the pain. And in doing so, we will truly begin to break from our legal code’s historical and perpetual use as a tool of oppression.
Email the Cambridge City Council in support of the Green New Deal for Cambridge:
Be sure to copy the City Clerk and City Manager as well:
As hearings are scheduled on the proposal, there will be opportunities to speak in support at public comment as well.