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Posted: 2019-02-11 21:58:01

Starting in 1933, during the heart of the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of young, unmarried men went to work for the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of several federal programs created as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. They built bridges, dams, roads, fire lookouts and other infrastructure.

They also planted trees ― 3 billion of them ― in national forests and throughout the Great Plains to protect farms from Dust Bowl storms. By the time the CCC shuttered in 1943, the wildly popular program, nicknamed “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” had employed more than 3 million people and vastly improved America’s public lands.

It’s a success story that supporters of the Green New Deal are now looking to as they push for a rapid national mobilization to stave off catastrophic climate change.  

Achieving the goals of the Green New Deal will require more than eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity and building sectors, said Evan Weber, political and policy director of the Sunrise Movement, the climate activist group that stormed Democratic leaders’ offices late last year to push the plan.

“We’ll have to help nature play a big role in making up the difference by absorbing and storing more carbon,” he said in an email.

Weber added that today’s movement can draw inspiration from the CCC and other federally backed job creation programs.

“We must create new programs and policies to protect and restore degraded and threatened ecosystems, and support landowners and farmers to invest in sustainable agricultural and land practices that can also help improve their bottom line,” Weber said.

The Green New Deal, a sweeping resolution unveiled Thursday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), already has more than 60 Democratic co-sponsors. An early set of guiding principles, it outlines lofty goals of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, building climate-resilient infrastructure and reversing income inequality by creating high-wage

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