Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ithaca Green New Deal (IGND)?
The Ithaca Green New Deal is a resolution passed by the “City of Ithaca Common Council on June 5, 2019 to address climate change, economic inequality, and racial injustice.” The resolution sets targets for a shift to renewable energy and reduced overall emissions both within the government and across the community.
Why does Ithaca need a Green New Deal?
Due to its nearness to freshwater, Ithaca is in a climate-resilient location. However, we can be pragmatic and provide support for those who could benefit from social and environmental improvements.
When will the Director of Sustainability be hired?
The City’s original goal was May 1st, 2020. Obviously, Covid-19 impacted all areas of both public and private life. While the city still intends to hire a Director of Sustainability as soon as possible, the specifics are clouded by uncertainty.
What are the biggest challenges to implementing the Ithaca Green New Deal?
Financial. Due to how municipalities function, we are dependent on property and sales tax. This makes increasing revenue without raising the cost of living very difficult, and keeping the cost of living low is important to making this transition equitable.
How will the City get feedback from marginalized residents?
Mayor Svante has stated that he wishes to center IGND around vulnerable communities first and create a plan based on their needs. Many of the community organizations will be engaging residents in discussions to ensure their voices are heard. We’ve already begun to collect some of this data, and it will be instrumental to the Director of Sustainability once hired.
How will the City balance the urgent need of certain environmental and social problems with the long-term process of inclusive outreach and engagement?
The Ithaca Green New Deal will be centered around the experience of marginalized groups, making sure that these voices are involved throughout the entire process. This first means listening and, after the needs are understood, proceeding with caution.
How do you leverage what Ithaca has to hold other larger actors accountable?
Ithaca will lead by example, using IGND to show that a municipality can do achieve carbon neutrality without leaving anyone behind.
What do students need to do to see this succeed in Ithaca and on the national scale?
Vote. Get your friends to vote. Join the Green New Deal committee. Talk to your friends. Volunteer your time or resources to local nonprofits. Historically, students have been pushing for change – keep doing it.
Aside from climate neutrality and an equitable transition, what are other goals you have for the City?
The goals have not been determined yet because the City wants the residents to decide what is most important. Examples of other goals include: zero homelessness, zero residents under the poverty line, and zero unemployment.