This edition of the Sustainability Reads is dedicated to coping with the results of the election in the United States, what the election means for climate change, and exploring ways to have positive social and environmental impact.
What Trump can—and can’t—do all by himself on climate
We are all eager to know just how much Trump can undo in regard to climate action. Specifically, would he really pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement? Trump couldn’t completely withdraw from the agreement immediately (he could do so by 2020), but he could undermine it or pull the U.S. out of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN body where climate negotiations have taken place for the past two decades. This departure from the framework could take effect in one year and would mean that all U.S. commitments would be void. These actions would not completely kill the Paris Agreement, which negotiators had engineered to be able to withstand such a possibility. It would severely undermine it though. In regard to Obama’s Clean Power Plan, Trump and his team may find it difficult to change the plan and other regulations that have already gone through review processes. Congress could cut the EPA’s budget (something Trump stated he would do), but a Democratic filibuster in the Senate could prevent this from happening. More likely is that Trump and his team would water down any EPA regulations that are still in the works. EPA and other agency staff could fight back. What we will see is states and cities continuing to make progress and act on climate, regardless of Trump’s efforts. By Paul Voosen at Science.
How to Channel Your Post-Election Anger, Sadness, and Fear into Action
This advice from Slate helped remind us that we have the option to support the change we want to see in the world and we hope it motivates you as well.
- If you are worried about reproductive rights: Support an abortion clinic by donating money, volunteering, or escorting women to clinics.
- If you want more women in government: Support Emily’s List and other groups working to get more women and minorities into office.
- If you’re concerned about the climate: Change your eating, drinking, and energy consumption habits to live more sustainably.
- If you are a non-Muslim who’s worried about Islamophobia:
Fight misinformation by reading the Quran and learning more about Islam.
- If you’re worried about the freedom of the press: Pay for journalism.
- If you are worried about bridging cultural divides: Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- If you are worried about income inequality and our schools: Support nonprofit education programs.
- If you are concerned about immigration: Volunteer for organizations that provide these resources to immigrants
- If you care about hunger and poverty: Donate to a food bank.
- If you are worried about the future of liberal governance: Run for local office.
On another note, other good news to stay positive about is that various states and counties passed environmentally-friendly ballot initiatives in Tuesday’s elections: California became the first state to ban plastic bags; Monterey County in California stood up to Big Oil in a measure that bans fracking; voters in Alabama protected their state parks by securing their funding; Missouri voted to continue a tax that funds their state parks and soil and water conservation; Florida rejected a deceptive initiative that would have crushed solar power in the state; in conservative Brevard County, Florida, voters said yes to a 1/5 cent sales tax for cleanup of the local Indian River Lagoon; and Oregon not only passed a measure to set aside money for their Outdoor School, but also banned the sale and trafficking of 12 animals. What’s more, out of the 27 mass transit initiatives found on ballots all over the US, 19 passed, including in North Carolina, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Missouri.
We have reason to have hope and continue the fight! Are you with us??