Editorial: The US needs a new Civilian Conservation Corps, and could put it to good use in NPs
David Baake, a Democratic primary candidate for Congress in New Mexico’s Second District, issued a call in July for a new CCC, a “Climate Conservation Corps.” Modeled on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, Baake proposed putting Americans to work installing energy-efficient technology, retrofitting homes in low-income communities, and taking on “other projects that contribute meaningfully to the fight against climate change, like…reforestation and wetland restoration.”
It is not the first time that a liberal politician has evoked memories of the CCC. The New Deal CCC was wildly popular throughout its nine-year existence, and its artifacts, from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Pacific Coast Trail, are beloved today. It revived broad sections of America’s natural landscape and enriched the lives of millions of young enrollees. Rexford Tugwell, adviser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, asserted that the CCC “quickly became too popular for criticism.” The CCC disbanded in 1942, overwhelmed by national defense needs and the US entry into World War II. But ever since, policymakers periodically revive the idea of reestablishing it—or at least portions of it.