One person! If all it took was one person, the she, Judy Moody, could save the world!
She knew just where to start. With a banana peel.
from Judy Moody Saves the World
written by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
In 1933, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his first term as President, the country was flailing in the wake of the economic devastation Great Depression. The people were hungry, poor, and dispirited. The New Deal, Roosevelt’s US road to recovery, included many parts and addressed many facets of our society needing attention. Government jobs gave workers a (small) wage, a sense of purpose, and moved our country forward.
President Roosevelt presented the New Deal in his first 100 days of his first term as President of the United States. The New Deal came from several initiatives.
A important part of the New Deal, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), began in the spring of 1933 and lasted until WWII captured the attention and patriotism of the very same young men that the CCC had employed. They built trails, shelters, footbridges, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Now many of the recently unemployed had jobs. The projects encouraged Americans to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Local, state, and national parks across the country benefited, too.
The corps built roads and put up telephone lines. They fought fires, and prevented new fires by clearing brush. They also planted trees and built wildlife refuges. They reseeded grazing lands and implemented erosion controls.
Government Relief was provided to fine artists, graphic artists, and sculptors, too. They were hired to create murals decorating Federal buildings and to create posters publicizing exhibits, activities, theatrical productions, and health and educational programs in various state and local communities. Over 900 posters are housed in the Library of Congress. Take a look: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
In all, the CCC hired hundreds of thousands of young (mostly white) men and provided “relief to the millions of poor and unemployed. [It reformed] aspects of the economy that Roosevelt believed had caused the collapse.”
Building and repairing roads and bridges, creating informative and beautiful art, cleaning up the parks, and protecting the environment all helped individuals, towns, cities, and rural areas recover as it helped our greater society heal.
We are facing a similar, dispiriting time. Our economy is in shambles due to the measures taken to contain COVID-19. People are out of work, out of money, and out of options.
Government stimulus checks have been spent, businesses are reopening, people are beginning to regather.
Just like 1933, our economy and our environment are interconnected.
President Biden is suggesting a new CCC, Civilian Climate Corps, in the vein of FDR’s original. Jumpstarting our economy by putting people to work will help the environment while it helps individuals, cities, towns and rural areas.
Biden’s definition of infrastructure includes roads, and bridges. Also, wireless connections, internet access, and cyber security. Biden’s definition must be broader than anything Roosevelt could imagine.
And, like Roosevelt’s plan, the health of our environment is once again of prime importance. President Biden has re-launched the government’s webpage dedicated to Climate Change. It was shuttered during the last administration. This past March, Michael Regan, new head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), announced on the new page, “Combating climate change, it’s not optional, it’s essential at EPA.” Here’s a link to the new webpage on the EPA site: epa.gov/climate-change
Part of Biden’s definition of infrastructure also includes building networks of renewable energy. Factories to build solar panels in the US is a good place to begin. Staffing those factories with American workers naturally will follow. Installing those panels is important work, too. Charging stations for electric vehicles is a component of infrastructure.
Wind farms need to be built.
Protection of our wild, natural places is crucial. Biodiversity depends on the health of our so many interconnected ecosystems. Identifying and eradicating invasive species, both plants and animals, is important for biodiversity to thrive. There is room in our workforce for lots people to do these important jobs. And the government seems to want to be at the forefront of creating them.
How will people who need to work take care of their children? Biden’s answer is to make quality childcare an important piece of our recovery and a piece of his infrastructure plan.
As we take off our masks, hug our grandchildren and grandparents, re-engage in our world full of beautiful possibilities, we all deserve the ability to take a deep breath of fresh air.
Biden’s plan would hire American men and women of all colors and heritages. They would earn a living wage and live near where they work.
It is true that much needs to be done, but we are (finally) on the right track again and moving in the right direction.
New Yorker (3/7/21)
-—stay curious! (and work hard)