Civilian Climate Corps

[NOTE: I’m glad someone called me out on referring to economic concentration camps and apologize for writing that.]

I have written a lot about economic injustice in our society. Many who would like to work cannot find jobs. Many of the jobs that are available pay poverty level wages, and are very unfulfilling. Our economic system worked pretty well at times of nearly full employment and good wages. But jobs have long been disappearing because of either automation or moving jobs to other countries for cheap labor.

I’ve been frustrated for years that something like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) wasn’t created for these times of unemployment and crumbling infrastructure. And that was before the pandemic and its economic impact made millions more unemployed.

I had written to my congressional representatives, suggesting the creation of a modern day Civilian Conservation Corps, the highly successful public work program of the 1930’s.  But didn’t get any response.

So I’m delighted to learn that part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad includes the development of a Civilian Climate Corps.

One of the most popular programs from the New Deal is making a comeback, nearly 90 years later.

President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order to create a Civilian Climate Corps. The initiative, he wrote, will provide “good jobs” for young people and train them for environmentally friendly careers, putting them to work restoring public lands and waters, planting trees, improving access to parks, and of course, tackling climate change.

It’s inspired by the original Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signature New Deal programs launched to take on the Great Depression.
Climate advocates celebrated Biden’s move. Naomi Klein, the activist and author of This Changes Everything, said Biden’s announcement was a “hard won victory.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York had reportedly sold Secretary of State John Kerry on the idea of a climate corps. The resemblance to the New Deal program — it even has the same acronym, CCC — may explain why the proposal sounds like part of a Green New Deal.

“The Green New Deal is all about a jobs and justice approach to climate policies, so I think that the new climate corps proposal really encapsulates that,” said Danielle Deiseroth, a climate analyst at Data for Progress, a progressive think tank. Not that you’ll hear Biden saying much about a Green New Deal, since commentators on Fox News have turned the slogan into a synonym for “socialist plot that’ll take away your hamburgers.”

Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps comes straight out of the New Deal by  Kate Yoder , Grist, Feb 8, 2021

The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis.  We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.  Domestic action must go hand in hand with United States international leadership, aimed at significantly enhancing global action.  Together, we must listen to science and meet the moment.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:


Sec. 214.  Policy.  It is the policy of my Administration to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters.  The Federal Government must protect America’s natural treasures, increase reforestation, improve access to recreation, and increase resilience to wildfires and storms, while creating well-paying union jobs for more Americans, including more opportunities for women and people of color in occupations where they are underrepresented.  America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.  Coastal communities have an essential role to play in mitigating climate change and strengthening resilience by protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands, seagrasses, coral and oyster reefs, and mangrove and kelp forests, to protect vulnerable coastlines, sequester carbon, and support biodiversity and fisheries.

Sec. 215.  Civilian Climate Corps.In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 214 of this order, the Secretary of the Interior, in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture and the heads of other relevant agencies, shall submit a strategy to the Task Force within 90 days of the date of this order for creating a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative, within existing appropriations, to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs.  The initiative shall aim to conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate.

The following is from the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy website that has a great deal of information about the Civilian Conservation Corp.

“Enrollees of the CCC planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America; constructed trails, lodges, and related facilities in more than 800 parks nationwide; and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.” 

America was in the grip of the Great Depression when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in March of 1933.  More than twenty-five percent of the population was unemployed, hungry and without hope.  The New Deal programs instituted bold changes in the federal government that energized the economy and created an equilibrium that helped to bolster the needs of citizens.  

 Out of the economic chaos emerged the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  The goal was two-fold:  conservation of our natural resources and the salvage of our young men.  The CCC is recognized as the single greatest conservation program in America and it served as a catalyst to develop the very tenets of modern conservation.  The work of America’s young men dramatically changed the future and today we still enjoy a legacy of natural resource treasures that dot the American landscape.

The predominantly recognized accomplishments of the CCC are vast.  

  • Nearly Three Billion trees were planted to help reforest America 
  • Modern tenets of conservation are an outgrowth of the conservation work begun by the CCC.
  • Forest fire fighting methods were developed under the CCC program to meet the needs of controlling wild fires that kept the land from healing and naturally restoring the watersheds.  
  • The modern service corps movement in America today is founded on the  Corps concept of the CCC.  Nurtured by CCC alumni and their supporters, modern conservation corps are expanding and contributing to American youth and culture. 
  • Constructed public roadways and buildings. Today citizens still drive on roadways built by the men of the CCC.  Vast expanses of public land are connected through scenic byways and fire trails.  Lodges, cabins, picnic pavilions, and many other recreational structures still stand as a testament to the craftsmanship and design of the CCC program.  One of the most recognizable examples of a scenic road in the central eastern United States is the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park. 
  • Soil conservation was taught to private citizen as well as implemented on government land. The dust bowl of the Great Plains hampered agricultural output for many years.
  • The development of the infrastructure of the outdoor recreational system is attributed to the CCC program.  Most state park systems we started through the CCC program with an estimated 800 parks constructed across the nation.  The National Parks and the National Forest systems received great benefit and still proclaim the vast legacy of CCC labor.  
  • Built and operated fish hatcheries which replenished the species killed by unfavorable conservation practices.
  • Reintroduced wildlife to depleted area. In many areas wildlife was hard hit due to the devastation of their habitat.  Some camps we involved in  research and many more were tasked with the reintroduction and monitoring of wildlife.
  • Military style camp life developed citizens that supported the WWII manpower effort.
  • The boys supported their families by earning $30 monthly through the distribution of a $25 financial allotment to home.
  • Advanced the standard of living in surrounding communities due to the infusion of revenue amounting to as much as $5,000 a month.

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