The Little Town That Would Transform the World
On this episode of Living Downstream, we take you to a little city with big plans for changing the world. While we’re there, we ask what role local governments can play in the movement for climate justice — that’s where climate activism and the fight for social justice meet. Ithaca, New York sees itself as a living laboratory for climate justice. Climate justice is based on the recognition that the people whose lives are most disrupted by climate change — the people who tend to die in the storms and heat waves, or to lose their homes in the fires and floods — are generally the people with the least money, the most precarious jobs, the least access to health care, the shabbiest housing, and the least reliable transportation. So if you want to do something about the climate emergency, the thinking goes, you can’t just focus on things like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for disasters. You need to address long-standing social and economic inequities at the same time. Climate justice is the big idea behind the Green New Deal — the resolution that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first introduced with Senator Ed Markey in 2019 and re-introduced in April of 2021. Congress hasn’t formally adopted the Green New Deal, but many local governments around the country have gone ahead and passed their own versions. Ithaca is one of them. And it’s brought in a man with a global vision to lead the charge. Veteran public radio reporter — and long-time Ithaca resident — Jonathan Miller takes us there. Click the icon below to listen.