By Lauren Kelly, Editor-in-Chief
So, Donald Trump won. Much has been made of how terrible this news is for people of any minority group, especially due to the amount of power the Republican Party holds. This is horrifying, and I can’t imagine how people who are living through this feel. However, there’s also a much bigger picture issue that is equally terrifying.
Trump has made it clear already that his presidency will be disastrously damaging to the environment. The man he appointed to lead his transitional Environmental Protection Agency, Myron Ebell, is a fervent climate change denier who has actually claimed that the world is moving towards an Ice Age. He’s also been backed by the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil, among other giants in the industry.
Trump is also looking to back out of the Paris Agreement, which goes into effect in 2020. All 193 countries who have signed it have agreed to work to keep the global temperature under 2 degrees above the pre-industry global average, as temperatures continue to trend higher and higher. This is a monumental initiative, and one that shows true progress in fighting global warming and preserving the planet. However, the USA is a large, industrious country, and it backing out would neuter the efforts of the other countries.
Reversing course on environmental issues may look good in the short term for working class people whose livelihoods depend on the industry. It can be tough to be future-sighted when you’re suffering now. However, we need to do our best to preserve the planet for those who will come after us. It’s essential. Scientists expect more severe storms and hurricanes, lower crop output, and rising seas caused by arctic ice caps melting. We’re already experiencing the impacts of these now, but it will just continue to worsen without us actively working against it.
This isn’t something we can gamble away to appease voters, donors, or industry. This is something we have to join together on, even if it makes our lives less convenient now. We need to get to a point where global warming is no longer a right vs left issue, and instead separate from politics. I hope that the backlash against Trump’s choices, especially from scientists and other countries, is enough to convince him to reverse on the issue.