The Fourth of July celebrates the American Revolution. And we're still revolting today.
In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (also known as AOC) made history when she was elected as the youngest woman to serve in Congress in U.S. history. Her quick rise to fame in the political world has come from her aggressive stance on issues ranging from taxes to health care. But what set her over the edge was a piece of legislation she laid out which seeks to transform the American way of life.
The Green New Deal sets goals for some drastic measures to cut carbon emissions across the economy, from electricity generation to transportation to agriculture. In the process, it aims to create jobs and boost the economy. Essentially, this "New Deal" evokes the same sense of rejuvenation as FDR's New Deal of the 1930s. The difference? She's a woman, she's Latina, and she's looking to save not just our economy, but the entire planet.
But this revolutionary spirit is nothing new. Before AOC and FDR, Americans were still searching to revolutionize structures, revise values, and even revolt against the powers that be. Take it from George Washington - sometimes it takes overthrowing an entire political system to create something new. Without the American spirit of revolution, we may still be walking around with English accents. Today, Americans like AOC are pushing forward to continue revolutionizing the way we live.
These three films highlight women who revolutionized the way we look at and care about the natural world. The warrior women of the Red Power Movement, filmmaker Jewell-Kemker, and environmentalist Jane Goodall all reflect the spirit of revolution that AOC is broadcasting today. Check them out:
Film: Warrior Women (2018)
In this documentary, famed Indigenous activist Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella are highlighted. Through the film, we are exposed to the indomitable spirit of native women, undeterred by age or government apathy. From the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM) to the Wounded Knee incident of 1973, and most recently the North Dakota Access Pipeline protest, Warrior Women captures the memories and long-standing legacy of the Red Power movement's fearless women.
(Christina King, USA, 2018, 86 min.)
Film: Youth Unstoppable (2018)
This second documentary highlights youth activism for action on climate change and environmental protection. But what makes this film so revolutionary is not only its subjects, but its creator. Director Slater Jewell-Kemker was only 15 years old when she started questioning her local politicians about their inability to pass laws to protect the environment. Soon she began to connect with other young activists doing their part to save the planet, and she took it upon herself to capture their efforts and the growing movement on camera. Youth Unstoppable documents a world-wide revolution from a revolutionary point of view.
(Slater Jewell-Kemker, USA, 2018, 86 min.)
Film: Jane (2017)
This last doc dives into the past and uses a trove of footage from the National Geographic archives to tell the story of Jane Goodall. Working in the male-dominated research world of the 1960s and 70s, she was able to challenge scientific consensus and revolutionize the way we understand the natural world. JANE tells the true story of a young woman whose insistence and resilience led to some of the most important wildlife studies of our time.
(Brett Morgen, USA, 2017, 90 min.)
The revolutionary spirit of AOC, and the women before her who fought and continue to fight for our planet, reminds all of us that even while greed and corruption may stagnate our progress, true power still rests with the people. And women like these are just getting started.
Happy Independence Day everyone.