The Roosevelt Project

About the Project

The Roosevelt Project derives its name from three prominent figures in American history:

  • Theodore Roosevelt for his stewardship of the environment during his presidency, protecting over 230 million acres of public land;
  • Franklin Roosevelt for embodying a commitment to expanding the middle class in response to the Great Depression and developing America’s infrastructure in the New Deal through a variety of programs including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Works Progress Administration, and the Bonneville Power Administration, among others; and
  • Eleanor Roosevelt for her staunch support of social justice issues, through such activities as chairing the UN Commission on Human Rights and overseeing the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This project looks to combine the legacies of these three titans of American history to develop policy priorities and an action plan that will enable us to move beyond the false choice of economic growth or environmental security. 

 

Project Mission

Transitioning the United States economy toward deep decarbonization will have unequally distributed effects, positive and negative, across socio-economic groups, geographies and economic sectors. The concerns of workers and communities adversely affected by the transition must inform the discussion around decarbonization, associated policy changes and institutional development. The goal of the Roosevelt Project is to provide an analytical basis for charting a path to a low carbon economy in a way that promotes high quality job growth, minimizes worker and community dislocation, and harnesses the benefits of energy technologies for regional economic development.

The first phase of The Roosevelt Paper is the commission of 9 individual Working Papers on crosscutting topics related to this transition. They can be found here.

More nuance will follow in the next phase of the Roosevelt Project that develops implementation plans for four specific regions: the Industrial Heartland, Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Gulf Coast, and New Mexico. We will work with local partners in those communities to develop effective transition plans that are specific to those regions. That phase of the project should be complete in 2021.  

Finally, over the last couple of months, COVID-19 has swept its way across the United States, upending the economy and encouraging us to reconsider our relationship with the natural world. At the Roosevelt Project, we are developing action plans for communities to deal with substantial industrial upheaval, particularly in the context of forthcoming energy transitions. However, it is those same communities of working-class, low-income, non-college educated Americans that are in many ways bearing the economic burden of this present crisis. Though the impetus for dislocation may be different, the need to support these at-risk communities persists. Whether it is in responding to the dislocation caused by industrial transition or in managing the economic upheaval from a pandemic, the need to create opportunities for dislocated workers and communities must remain front and center.