Unsurprisingly, there is still no debate that fossil fuels are devastating our Earth, that we are seriously messing this up, this being our planet’s future. What does this mean? It means that we, humans, are halting biodiversity in its tracks. This era we live in has been coined the Anthropocene, which is marked by significant man-made impacts on the climate and the environment.
Species are disappearing at alarming rates–think about the dying Great Barrier Reef—and this isn’t just from climate change. It’s from deforestation of primary rainforests–think about those orangutang orphanages in Borneo–in order to clear land for for agricultural crops and plantations, especially palm oil; it’s from overfishing, pollution, and wildlife and exotic species trades, to name a few. But above all, human greenhouse gas emissions are still the most frightening and consequential impact to Earth.
In a monumental stance for the U.S., President Obama formally entered America into the Paris Climate Agreement last fall. This means that the U.S. is buying into the concept of halting man-made climate change by committing to reduce our emissions in the next few decades in order to prevent a global temperature rise above 2 degrees C.
One of Trump’s campaign promises was to pull out of the Paris Agreement. However, the tables are turning, as key advisors to Trump suggest this is a bad decision. There are no pragmatic reasons to pull out of the agreement. We must stay in it.
There are myriad examples of why this is the case. A poignant and rather paradoxical one is the recent news about the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. In early April, it decided to switch to solar power in order to save money. You heard that. A coal mining museum realized that the future is in renewable energy and it’s already cheaper to switch its energy source to solar because it will “save at least eight to ten thousand dollars, off the energy costs on this building alone.”
On a similar note, jobs in the U.S. solar energy industry have increased so much in the past decade, they now outnumber the number of employees at Apple, Google, and Facebook, combined, according to the The Solar Foundation. The stats are clear, but we have to continue to fight fight fight in order to make Trump accept these facts.
So even though Trump has big plans to dismantle all of the climate progress our country has made, there’s a strong reason to believe we, the believers in facts and the believers in an Earth with biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, have the upper hand. Choose hybrids and electric vehicles for your next car. Or just don’t support buying a new standard gasoline-fueled car. Watch how your state representatives, governors, and city-council members vote on local emission reduction plans. Then vote for them accordingly. Even though the climate change fight is universal, it can be won locally, without the asinine executive decisions of our current President.