Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Colonial’ Cauliflower in Community Gardens Makes Minorities Avoid Environmentalism

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a rally a
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared on Sunday that the Green New Deal will reverse purported “colonial” attitudes associated with growing vegetables in community gardens.

“What I love too is growing plants that are culturally familiar to the community. It’s so important,” the 29-year-old freshman congresswoman said while filming herself strolling through a community garden in the Bronx.

“That’s really how you do it right,” the self-described Democratic- socialist continued in a follow-up video. That is such a core component of the Green New Deal is having all of these projects make sense in a cultural context, and it’s an area that we get the most pushback on because people say, ‘Why do you need to do that? That’s too hard.'”

Ocasio-Cortez then said that growing cauliflower in community gardens represents a “colonial approach,” turning off people of color from embracing environmentalism.

“But when you really think about it — when someone says that it’s ‘too hard’ to do a green space that grows Yucca instead of, I don’t know, cauliflower or something — what you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism, and that is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements because they come with the colonial lens on them,” she argued.

Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled the Green New Deal in February, a plan to “transform” the U.S. economy with a “10-year national mobilization” to shift away from fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy sources.

An outline and FAQ for the proposal detailed goals like replacing or upgrading every building in the country over ten years, the eventual elimination of “necessary” air travel, and “economic security to citizens unable or unwilling to work.” Ocasio-Cortez has claimed that the FAQ, which was given to NPR and other media outlets, is separate from the Green New Deal’s actual objectives.

Several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), have expressed support for the Green New Deal. Campaigning in Iowa days after the plan was unveiled, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), another White House hopeful, compared it to fighting Nazis to World Word II. “We have to deal with this. Our planet is in peril, and we need to be bold. It’s one of the reasons I signed on to the resolution. I co-sponsored the resolution for the Green New Deal,” he said. “There’s a lot of people blowing back on the Green New Deal. They’re going, ‘Oh, it’s impractical, oh it’s too expensive, oh it’s all of this.’ If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the moon.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s latest head-scratching remarks come after walking back her infamous prediction that the world will end in 12 years due to climate change. In a May 12th tweet, the progressive lawmaker suggested that Republicans too often “fact check” her jokes, accusing them of taking her quips too literally. “[Y]ou’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal,” said of her January remark in which she said the world will end in 12 years if we do not solve global warming climate change.

“But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office, so who knows,” she concluded.


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