When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, New York) and Senator Ed Markey (D, Massachusetts) introduced a Green New Deal legislative package in 2018, like so many historically visionary proposals it was branded as ambitiously naive, impractical, too far “left,” and whatever else the Congressional establishment could think of in a backlash to its threat to the status quo. In fact, the foundation of its ideas and even its name had been around for decades by then, slowly gaining traction and a presence on progressive platforms as widespread awareness has continued to grow.
Now, just two years later, politics and global meteorological instability being what they are, its core tenets have gone pretty much fully mainstream, if not always the GND brand name. For example, cities demonstrating a commitment to vital pedestrian and public transportation infrastructure, construction credits for renewable energy elements, jobs programs tied to invention and retrofitting, organic and sustainable farming, veganism, tree-planting, urban gardening, intersections with race and class, the vital role of education initiatives and direct actions, and more.
Amplifying these evolutions, a gorgeous new book from Creative Action Network, Sunrise Movement, and Workman Publishing, Posters for a Green New Deal celebrates and advances these tenets through the language of art, with the aim of furthering awareness, enthusiasm, inspiration, and way to think about these urgent issues and the dire consequences of inaction that is inclusive, empathetic, and eclectic.
The old WPA programs employed artists, photographers, and writers to chronicle and canonize the original New Deal for America’s infrastructure-based jobs and economic recovery that helped pull us out of the Great Depression; and many of the artists in the book channel a certain retro-futurist utopianism in their aesthetics which hearken back to the sleek and jaunty style of the original New Deal era.
With 50 artists’ unique voices, the full spectrum of posters ranges from the throwback to the modern day, with street art, crazy font design, landscape painting and bouncy surrealism, illustration, conceptual schematic and architectural scenes, psychedelic solutions, cribbed advertising language, upbeat almost children’s book energy and more adult and even dire sensibilities, fantasy, fable, and pure poetry. Each image is accompanied by evocative prose explaining the specific facet of the issue under consideration and an explanation of the path forward — which also makes the book a teaching tool for anyone who needs it, which is everyone.
At a hefty 11×14 inches, and with 50 removable plates, the book is a really satisfying object as well as a source of mindful decor. And don’t worry, the volume itself is as eco-friendly as its messaging; it’s Forest Stewardship Council-certified, printed on satiny, substantial paper made from responsibly sourced wood fiber, and using surprisingly luscious non-toxic, soy based ink. Because as important as the message is, it’s just as important to lead by example.
Find out more, get a copy, and get involved at creativeaction.network.