A Blueprint for a Better Planet

  • The legislative priorities of the American Union are focused on addressing MLK’s triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.
  • While striving for these goals, the Blueprint for a Better America will indirectly address environmental pollution in specific ways.
A sea turtle trapped in plastic pollution (JORDI CHIAS / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

In November of 2020, the presidential election will be held. At this time, we the people, will show up to the voting booths to make a decision on who should run our beautiful country, the United States of America, for the next four years. It is an opportunity for members of the American Union to vote for candidates, irregardless of party affiliation, who will challenge the status quo in a way that benefits all Americans.

Members of the American Union endorse the Blueprint for a Better America, a legislative package designed to appeal to people on both sides of the aisle and enhance our already great country. Inspired by the revolutionary work of Martin Luther King, Jr., it aims to address his triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism. This legislation works towards ending mass incarceration, which has a disproportionate effect on minorities. It ends poverty by giving everyone an American Union Job, an unconditional $300 each week, and brings our soldiers home to wind down the endless wars.

In doing all of this, there will be the creation of an inherently better America, both on a societal and environmental level. Below are some less-than-pretty facts about the current state of environmental affairs in our country:

These statistics paint an incomplete picture of some of the problems facing America. Yet, there is hope. All of these problems will be reduced under the Blueprint for a Better America.

How will the Blueprint for a Better America help?

To start, the Blueprint includes universal basic income of $300 a week. Receiving an extra $1300 a month allow people to make better choices for themselves and their family. These choices will vary on an individual basis: money could be used to move out of areas with poor air quality or high levels of pollution, provide better, healthier food, and more.

Individuals who are currently living in poverty generally don’t have these options. When a person is struggling to meet their basic needs, they cannot look forward to luxuries like fresh produce or clean air. Obviously, these things should not be luxuries. As a country and society, we need to do better. By providing a universal basic income to slash rates of poverty; the American Union aims to lift people out of desperation and towards a brighter, healthier future.

The Blueprint for a Better America recognizes that along with giving people choices, the health hazards and environmental ills which causes so many societal problems need to be addressed. It aims to reduce pollution in two main ways; by reducing the size of the United States military and by implementing a fee-and-dividend program on both carbon and plastics.

As the world’s single largest producer of greenhouse gasses, the United States military produces more greenhouse gas than the entire country of Sweden or Switzerland.

Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation

To put its size into context, “The United States spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil — combined.” Since we spend so much more than other countries, it is not far-fetched to say we can afford to spend less and reduce the size of the military; the legislation requires a 10% cut for each of the next four years, trimming our military budget to 2004 levels. In doing so, we will reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted.

Along with this, the Blueprint for a Better America would implement a Carbon Fee and Dividend. This program places a fee on carbon production, starting at $15 per metric ton. The money generated from this fee is then collected, and distributed to all American citizens as part of universal basic income. By doing this, the largest polluters will compensate Americans for the negative health and environmental effects caused by pollution. This will create a financial incentive to emit less, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the first 12 years. The underlying legislation, HR763, has bipartisan cosponsors, which means it can actually create change.

These two initiatives together will create a chain reaction, in which less pollutants enter the air, and thus, less Americans die from the effects of air pollution.

The Blueprint for a Better America will also address plastic pollution, without an outright ban on plastic items as other countries have done. The average American uses five times more plastic than our European counterparts. This might not seem like a big deal, because opportunities for plastic recycling seem widespread in America. However, only 9% of plastic is recycled [PDF]; the remainder ends up in U.S. landfills and incinerators, or more likely, is shipped to countries with poor waste-management programs. These giant foreign landfills leach massive amounts of toxins and plastics into our oceans and waterways.

The plastic in the ocean never goes away! It just breaks down to smaller and smaller pieces, which become nearly impossible to get rid of. These pieces then enter the food chain.

However, a complete ban on plastic doesn’t make sense. It has many valuable uses in a variety of industries, and certain groups of people rely on plastics in their daily lives; people with disabilities, people with allergies, etc. Applying a fee will encourage more mindful consumption.

Similar to the carbon fee-and-dividend, the Blueprint for a Better America contains a 20% fee on the production of virgin plastic, which will create greater incentives for recycling. In addition, a $.05 fee per plastic item sold will discourage single-use plastics, while having a minimal impact on the cost of more durable goods, thereby encouraging a shift back to a possession mindset. The fees will be collected and distributed to American citizens as a dividend, rewarding individuals who consume less plastic than average. The result will be less plastic in landfills and the ocean, achieved by tapping into market forces instead of a complete ban.

These solutions will create a healthier planet, as well as a more people-centric society, allowing everyday Americans to make better choices for themselves and their families. They will incentivize the reduction of pollution, while also reducing the over-militarization of the United States.

The bipartisan solutions in the Blueprint for a Better America are the building blocks for a better future. These solutions will snowball to create positive change, and indirectly or directly help solve the problem of a polluted Earth and create a healthier America.

Learn more on our website: PhoenixCongress2020.com

Other articles on Medium:

A call to action around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s triple evils: The Marginalized Must Unionize in 2020

An open letter to the President with our demands; Namaste, Trump

A look at our duties as Americans and the legislation they inspire; The Blueprint for a Better America

A mass movement for a pandemic; Fasting — A Peaceful Protest for All

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