By Shonali Palacios July 27, 2021

We Can Build Back Better with a Civilian Climate Corps

There’s a lot to get excited about in President Biden’s bold Clean energy and Jobs Plan. One piece that definitely has my attention is the establishment of a new Civilian Climate Corps, a $10 billion investment that would put more people – particularly young people — in good-paying jobs to help protect communities around the country against the threat of climate change.

The proposal is inspired in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and 1940s. That federal program employed millions of Americans in environmental projects across the country, at a time when many were struggling to find work during the Great Depression. Those who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps laid the groundwork for thousands of miles of trails, roads, and bridges, fought wildfires, built dams, and much more.

With the country’s economy still recovering from the pandemic, many Americans are once again looking for work. President Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps would aim to employ Americans in the service of national environmental improvement and preservation, but this time with a focus on the enormous threat of climate change and its impacts. The jobs would be short-term and primarily for young people, but created with the goal of helping them pursue environment-related careers. 

But what would those jobs look like? Some members of the corps might head to coastal areas to help restore delicate habitats there. Others might work to retrofit homes to make them more energy efficient, or resistant to climate change impacts like flooding or extreme heat. Another corps group might work in forest lands to help make them more resistant to wildfires. 

It remains to be seen what, exactly, the final Civilian Climate Corps will look like, as Congress is negotiating on an infrastructure deal right now, and a number of lawmakers have introduced CCC bills detailing what they’d like to see in the eventual program. But there’s no question that nationally, the idea is popular: A poll from Data for Progress found that almost 70 percent of Americans generally are in favor of the creation of a climate-focused corps. That includes 62 percent of Republican voters participating in the poll.

What some would like to see in the program

How Can I Show My Support?

 The need for good-paying jobs that fight climate change has never been more clear. And the Civilian Climate Corps is just one piece of President Biden’s ambitious clean energy, jobs, and climate change legislation. Every voice helps and today we have a unique opportunity to help make history. 

Tell your Representative and Senators to support a bold infrastructure deal and the Climate Conservation Corps. 

Tell Congress: Build a Brighter Future for Our Communities