In this episode, I speak with Jasper Bernes, Managing Editor of Commune Magazine. We discuss his recent article ‘Between the Devil and the Green New Deal,’ featured in the second issue of Commune Magazine.
In this interview, I ask Jasper to explain the details of the Green New Deal, as has been proposed by the more progressive wing of the United States political establishment, and most famously by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Democratic Party. What is the Green New Deal, and what is materially required for it to be successfully implemented? As Jasper explains, its main objective would be to convert the US economy to (net) zero carbon emissions with renewable power by 2030 — an undertaking that would require a massive overhaul of the energy infrastructure towards solar, wind, and biofuels as the primary source of energy production. While that all sounds rather nice, what are the (not-so) hidden costs of developing these so-called sustainable technologies, especially on the scale demanded for in the Green New Deal? As Jasper points out, “nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper,” (http://bit.ly/DevilGND) all of which require extensive mining (most often in the less “developed” regions of the world), which is highly environmentally destructive and relies almost completely on the exploitation of human labor and fossil fuel use. As we frame it in this interview, to maintain an infinite growth economic model (capitalism) while trying to mitigate the worst impacts of global climate change and environmental degradation through “sustainable” technologies is not only unfeasible, but entirely impossible. Jasper and I go over the details of this subject in more depth in this episode.
Jasper Bernes is the Managing Editor of Commune Magazine and Founding Editor of Commune Editions. He is the author of ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization’ and two books of poetry: ‘We Are Nothing and So Can You,’ and ‘Starsdown.’ He lives in Berkeley with his family.
- Read Jasper’s article ‘Between the Devil and the Green New Deal’ at Commune: http://bit.ly/DevilGND
- Learn more Jasper and his work: https://jasperbernes.net
- Follow Jasper on Twitter: https://twitter.com/outsidadgitator
- Read more from Commune and subscribe to the print edition: https://communemag.com
- The song featured in this episode is “First & Last” by sndwn. & Skullkid from the album Sounds From Above Vol. 1. (http://bit.ly/2W9QPOG)