Photo Credit: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Facebook page
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez --lots of noise

We hear much about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal.” It purports to be the saving grace for the United States, curing everything from corporate pollution to bad breath. In reality, it’s nothing more than a thinly-veiled socialist blueprint to redistribute wealth to those deemed most “deserving.”

A since-deleted FAQ released by Ocasio-Cortez’s office claims her Green New Deal stands for:

  • A job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security
  • High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools
  • Clean air and water and access to nature
  • Healthy food
  • High-quality health care
  • Safe, affordable, adequate housing
  • Economic environment free of monopolies
  • Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work

I love the promise of economic security for those unwilling to work, but let’s leave that aside. What is very clear from this list is that almost no item on it has anything to do with the environment. It’s just the same old “peace and justice” babble we have been hearing for decades now.

The unfortunate fact is that the green movement is not about the environment. It’s about introducing far-left ideals into the mainstream disguised as environmental concerns. If you want to see a real green deal – a Green ‘Old’ Deal, if you will – look no further than the Torah:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe… Command the Children of Israel that they shall give to the Levites… cities for dwelling and open space for the cities all around them… The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their open space shall be for their animals, for their wealth, and for all their beasts” (Bamidbar 35:1-3).

Rashi (Sotah 27b) explains that the required open space must be “a space, clear of seeds and houses and trees, to beautify the city, to give it air.”

Torah environmentalism seeks to preserve the beautiful nature Hashem created. Torah environmentalism allows for eating animals but forbids cruelty to them. Torah environmentalism has a holiday specifically for trees on the 15th of Shevat. Torah environmentalism forbids the destruction of fruit trees during war and possibly at all times. Torah environmentalism forbids wasting resources (bal tashchit).

The Gemara includes fines and payments for smoke damage, damage to public spaces, and even noise pollution! I am sure I am missing other examples, but my point is that true environmentalism according to the Torah seeks to preserve and protect G-d’s creations and could not be farther from the classic socialism that is regurgitated as “green” policy nowadays.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk would be well-served looking at their unused, dusty Bibles (if they own one) to learn what “green” is all about.

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Jay Lakritz is a recently-retired former vice president of BMO Harris Bank in Milwaukee, WI.