Panel Discussion – The New Deals We Need Now: Green, Red and Blue

Although the New Deal of the 1930s rescued many from poverty and laid the foundation for a social safety net, it was also deeply flawed in that it excluded Black Americans and people of color from many of its programs. As the vision for a Green New Deal to tackle the climate emergency and restructure our economy has evolved, it is imperative we avoid the errors of the past. The rising calls for a Red New Deal inclusive of Native America and a Blue New Deal for our threatened oceans and coastal communities have arisen. In this truly original and dynamic session, we learn about these emergent, interweaving movements with some of their thought leaders.

Moderated by Vien Truong, CEO of Truong & Associates. With: Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, founder of Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab; Julian Brave NoiseCat, Vice-President of Policy and Strategy at Data for Progress; Sikowis (aka Christine Nobiss), a member of the Plains Cree/Saulteaux of the George Gordon First Nation in Canada, founder of the Great Plains Action Society.

This discussion took place at the 2020 Bioneers Conference. Watch more panels, keynote addresses, and performances from the conference.


Julian Brave NoiseCat is Vice President of Policy & Strategy at Data for Progress, and Narrative Change Director for the Natural History Museum. A Fellow of the Type Media Center and NDN Collective, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and other publications. Julian grew up in Oakland, California and is a proud member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie.

Vien Truong, J.D., one of the country’s leading, award-winning experts and strategists on building an equitable green economy, has helped develop numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at state, federal and local levels and advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs, including co-leading the coalition to pass the law creating the biggest fund in history for the poorest and most polluted communities in California. Vien currently advises lawmakers, universities, foundations, and organizations on developing inclusive workforces, sustainable economies, and equitable environmental policies; directs the Climate Justice efforts for Tom Steyer PAC; and supports the climate efforts of the California Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force. Previously President/CEO of the Dream Corps and Chair of Oakland’s Planning Commission, she also serves on the boards of the California Endowment and Ceres.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a Brooklyn native marine biologist and policy expert, is founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy-consulting firm for conservation solutions, and founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank focused on coastal cities. Her mission is to build community around solutions for our climate crisis. She is co-editor of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, a brand new anthology of wisdom by women climate leaders.

Sikowis (aka Christine Nobiss), a member of the Plains Cree/Saulteaux of the George Gordon First Nation in Canada, grew up in the city of Winnipeg but has been living in Iowa City for 15 years. A dedicated activist who writes, speaks and organizes extensively on Indigenous, climate, environmental, and political issues, she founded Great Plains Action Society in 2015. Sikowis holds a Masters Degree in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa and is a mother of three.

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