Big news! The Civilian Conservation Corps that was once so popular during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s time as a president is rising up from the ashes again under a slightly altered name.
Under a newly signed executive order from the White House, a new Civilian Climate Corps is being established to provide “good jobs” for young people and train them for environmentally friendly careers. In addition, young people who join the Civilian Climate Corps will work to restore public lands and waters, plant trees, improve access to parks, and tackle climate change.
The original Civilian Conservation Corps came into being in 1933 as a part of a string of New Deal programs designed to help lift America out of the Great Depression. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had included the creation of a climate corps as a part of the Green New Deal, and although that didn’t pass, the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps is certainly taken out of the Green New Deal playbook. The use of the same acronym, CCC, is also a nod to the original CCC.
“The Green New Deal is all about a jobs and justice approach to climate policies, so I think that the new climate corps proposal really encapsulates that,” said Danielle Deiseroth, a climate analyst at the progressive think tank Data for Progress.
From 1933 to 1942, the CCC employed 3 million men who worked on buildings, trails, and hiking shelters in state parks and national parks all across the country. If you visit any of these parks, you’ll surely see remnants of their work.
Today, the newly formed CCC is intended to help America climb out of a situation of mass-unemployment while addressing the issue of climate change in America—a top priority for the new White House administration.
The original CCC did have its issues with segregation, and only men were allowed to join. The newly established CCC, however, is set to be much different. Neil Maher, the author of Nature’s New Deal and a history professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, says the re-envisioned version of the CCC will “obviously have to be open to all people, regardless of age, gender, skin color, sexual orientation, and all that.”
Maher also envisions the CCC going beyond conservation by building green stormwater management systems, installing solar panels on homes, cleaning up toxic waste sites, and developing urban gardens.
It may take a couple of years to get the new CCC up and running, but those of us at The Optimist Daily are beyond excited about what kind of green-minded impact it will have in the US.