Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

We’ve been talking a whole bunch about the Green New Deal on the Optimist Daily, and for good reason: it finally brings forth a feasible plan that addresses a multitude of key issues from clean energy to wealth inequality. For example, the Green New Deal includes a powerful provision to protect the indigenous people of the United States. The resolution calls for protections for many historically marginalized communities and goes the extra mile by attempting to ensure another Standing Rock-versus-Dakota Access Pipeline situation never happens again. The resolution states a goal of “obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous peoples.” This language may be rare in federal policy, but “free, prior and informed consent” is the exact language that the United Nations includes in its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For years, indigenous people around the world have been demanding such consent from states when those states are greenlighting pipeline projects or permitting the destruction of the rainforests they call home. And it’s a demand that policymakers should really begin paying attention to if they want to avoid future conflicts with tribal nations. For too long, the US government has ignored the fact that tribal nationals are technically sovereign bodies, but a Green New Deal could bring them one step closer to securing the recognition they deserve.

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