Climate Activist: Just 11 Years Left to ‘Radically Transform’ U.S. Economy, Society

Lauren Maunus of the Sunrise Movement, a leftist youth group that believes only a decade or so remains to save the planet from climate change, said at a press conference on Thursday at the Capitol that time is short to “radically transform every sector of our economy and society.”

Maunus introduced herself as 21 and the political and legislative coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, a leftist environmental group that endorses the Green New Deal, including eliminating fossil fuels and air travel.

Maunus spoke along with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) at the lawmakers joined presidential hopeful and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in introducing the “Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act.”

Maunus said she joined the news conference to speak to the importance of this bill as a critical stepping stone as we work towards a federal jobs guarantee as a core component of the Green New Deal.”

Maunus said her generation is coming of age during “unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty” and face a lower standard of living than their parents, student debt, “skyrocketing inequality” and “rampant depression.”

She also bemoaned that the “wealthy among us continue to get wealthier.”

But all of this pales in comparison to the threat of climate change, Maunus said.

“We’re facing a crisis unlike anything else we’ve ever faced before. UN scientists tell us we have just 11 years to radically transform every sector of our economy and society if we have even a chance to prevent irreversible climate catastrophe,” Maunus said.

She described the Sunrise Movement as “a movement all across the country led by young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.”

“A crisis of this proportion requires bold solutions,” Omar said at the press conference. “Not only would this bill create a pilot program to guarantee jobs in 15 communities across this country, but they would be good jobs.”

“All of these jobs would pay a living wage and provide benefits, like health insurance, paid sick leave and paid family leave,” Omar said. “This bill would also prioritize green energy jobs.”

“And I view this bill as a key component of the Green New Deal,” Omar said, referring to the resolution Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced that calls from transforming the economy and infrastructure in numerous ways, including curbing meat production, gas-powered transportation, and fossil fuel production.

A letter to colleagues to recruit support for the bill said the jobs it would create “will include a minimum wage phasing into $15/hour, paid family and sick leave, and health coverage like that enjoyed by Members of Congress.”

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