As I write this, sources in the White House are saying that President Trump is planning on withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. That scares the hell out of me. Now don’t get me wrong, the Paris Climate Agreement does not go far enough to stop global warming, but it is a start. Climate change will affect everyone on the planet. Some sooner than others but it will affect us all.
In some places Climate Change is already visible. The Marshall Islands and countless others are already beginning to disappear. Many have connected the conflicts in Syria as a result of Climate Change. The arctic is already beginning to melt. In the near future many populated areas such as New York, London, and Miami will flood.
Climate Change is not just an environmental issue, it is a social justice issue. Currently there are no classification for environmental refugees. That means as temperatures rise because of the Western World the rest of the world will be hit hardest, and we will not even let them into our countries. Even if rising temperatures were limited to 2 degrees places like the Marshall Islands will still go under water. When we limit warming to 2 degrees we are choosing profits over the people, particularly people of colour and low income communities who will be hit earliest and hardest.
I am scared of rising sea levels. I am scared of temperatures rising and the arctic melting. As I said, the Paris Agreement did not go far enough but it was a start. If the United States backs out of it now, the second largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the world will have shown us that they do not care. With the amount of GHGs produced by the United States it will be difficult if not impossible to stop climate change. It sickens me thinking about the billions of people who will starve, lose their homes, and die in the future because of Trump’s actions.
Conclusion: The United States leaving the Paris Agreement could be catastrophic.
What can we do?
- I think that we need to take up the call from activist Naomi Klein. We need to start calling for sanctions against countries that break their pledges or back out of them. If a country like the United States does not wish to follow environmental regulations then it should be held accountable.
- Jump on board a local campaign to divest from fossil fuels or start your own. Divestments are when you intentionally take your money out of certain investments.
Protest, protest, protest:
In the past I have been asked why it is that I protest as many think that it does not make a difference. I would argue that protesting shows solidarity. While it may not directly effect policies it does show people in a community that they are not alone. I live in a pretty conservative community (Betsy DeVos’s family controls the city) and I often feel discouraged. When I see people protesting it gives me hope. The people protesting know stealing a political seat may be hard but it is one of the few ways in our community that we can make our voices heard.
Local / Personal Changes: While one person may not make a difference in the grand scheme of things grassroots changes are effective.
- Buy Local. When we buy local we take money out of the hands of corporations, keep it in our community, and cut down on transportation costs.
- Start organizations in your local community such as Soulardarity in Detroit. When the city started taking down their street lamps, members of the community put up new ones powered by solar panels. In the long run this saves the community money and ensures that they will have the lighting that they need.
- Switch to a plant based diet. Livestock are detrimental to the environment and minimizing their consumption or eliminating it entirely is one of the largest things one can do on a personal level.
None of these are exclusive. The climate movement needs to be interdisciplinary. We cannot value one approach over the other. We need to support each other and stand together.
What do you think is the most dangerous prospect of the United States leaving the Paris Climate Agreement? Would you like to hear more? Let me know and I can address them in a future post.