Mother Jones Devotes Current Magazine, Online Package to Fast-Tracking Green Development

Mother Jones Devotes Current Magazine, Online Package to Fast-Tracking Green Development

Bill McKibben’s Essay Urges Environmentalists to Stop Opposing Housing, Infrastructure

As Earth Day nears and states across the country wrestle with providing affordable housing, dependable mass transit, and renewable energy, Mother Jones’ current print magazine and an online package are devoted to green development, highlighted by a 4,500-word essay by noted author and climate activist Bill McKibben, who forcefully urges environmentalists in the United States to stop opposing the construction of housing and clean energy infrastructure in their communities.

In McKibben’s essay, he notes that while environmentalists have a long history of blocking development, “we’re at a hinge moment now, when solving our biggest problems—environmental but also social—means we need to say yes to some things: solar panels and wind turbines and factories to make batteries and mines to extract lithium. And new affordable housing that will make cities denser and more efficient while cutting the ruinous price of housing.”

The cover of the May+June 2023 magazine reads “Yes in Our Backyards: It’s time for progressives to fall in love with the green building boom,” and features a photo illustration of a woman hugging earth-moving equipment. The special series consists of seven stories, spanning 26 pages, and hits newsstands April 25. The online package features additional content from media organizations partnering in the Climate Desk collaboration, which Mother Jones launched in April 2010.

“The United States is on the brink of its most consequential transformation since the New Deal—from a fossil fuel economy toward one based on renewable energy—and we want to advance the national conversation about what it takes to decarbonize, and what stands in the way,” said Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery, explaining the impetus for the special issue. “We hope to prod progressives to stop opposing development crucial to our climate goals.”

Other stories in the package include:

  • The NIMBY (“Not in My Backyard”) tactics familiar to housing advocates are hampering the shift to green energy (by Clara Jeffery)
  • How cities in California use environmental laws to kill climate-friendly development (by Chris Elmendorf)
  • Decarbonizing America will require a building spree not seen in generations (by Jesse D. Jenkins)
  • Rather than be at the mercy of a regional utility company, Latinos in Chelsea, Massachusetts, took matters into their own hands (by Lois Parshley). This story will also be translated into Spanish.
  • Microgrids are revitalizing cities, and empowering rural areas (by Michael Mechanic)
  • How utilities game the system and thwart America’s clean energy push (by David Roberts and David Pomerantz)
  • A shortage of skilled labor could derail U.S. efforts to “electrify everything” (by Emily Pontecorvo, Grist)
  • Across the nation, powerful energy interests are meddling in local affairs (by Nick Bowlin, High Country News)