This past October, Donald Trump released Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, a document outlining his plans for his first 100 days in office. Since Trump has yet to establish his views about climate change policy on his website, I decided to take a closer look at this document and what it could mean for the Earth. There are three statements, all found under the Seven actions to protect American workers section, that clearly relate to climate change:
“…I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas, and clean coal.”
“…[I will] lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.”
“…[I will] cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
There are two important points that these statements have in common:
- They all focus on money
- They all concern job creation
This Is (Maybe) Good For Us
Trump continues to demonstrate, over and over, through campaign rhetoric and promises, social media posts and interviews, that his absolute priority is the financial bottom line. He believes he can “Make America Great Again” by making America richer and increasing job availability. Even just five years ago, this might have been a problem for the typical environmentalist, but in the last year/months/few days renewable energy is proving it is more viable, in both production and cost-effectiveness. Photovoltaic solar energy has dropped in cost over 70% in the last decade. Both solar and wind have become increasingly economically competitive to install and maintain, when compared to traditional coal and natural gas.
In addition, there are a few of his stated policies that just happen to be potentially positive for the environment. He supports keeping public lands under control of the federal government, and seems quite concerned with the availability of clean water. His applicable ideas may not be the best for combating climate change, but it certainly supports the notion that he loves America and actually wants to do right by the people. It’s not perfect, but it’s hope.
This Is (Maybe) Bad For Us
Regardless of future changes of opinion, right now Trump wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement, cancel payments for climate change made to the U.N., and simply does not believe that climate change is real. He will be the president, and even in a system of checks and balances, he has Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, and that will go a very long way towards enacting his agendas. There are also a number of related executive orders, some from Obama’s administration, that can be summarily overturned.
Our Most Important Role in Advocating for Climate Change
As citizens of the United States we should be taking action. Massive letter-writing campaigns and peaceful protests are the snowflakes that can start an avalanche. By expressing to Trump, as loudly and as often as we can, that it makes financial sense to pursue renewable energy options, we may get his attention, and if we’re lucky, his interest.
As citizens of the world we should be doing everything we can to live like climate change has already been conquered. The only way we can succeed is to buy and support products and services with the least impact on the environment. If you’re looking for brands you can ethically support, start with us – we verify all of our recommended products and brands! It’s also important to keep asking questions:
- Question the brands you buy, not only how they help the environment, but also how they make positive impacts along the entire supply chain
- Question your politicians and the decisions they make. Never rely on a single news source, but instead research facts and articles presented for yourself (Have you clicked yet on any of the source links in this article?)
By using our power as consumers to affect change, we can dictate policy in a very real and tangible way.
We Are Already On Fire
The day after the election, the protests started. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen such a strong and immediate reaction to the president-elect. In the 3 weeks since, it feels like more has happened in regards to climate change, than over the last 4 years: China has been trumpeting from the highest mountain tops about the need for better climate change policies, they have called Trump out for his denial, and they may even take charge of the Paris Agreement if Trump tries to pull the US out of the deal; European diplomats have suggested an import tariff on US goods if Trump pulls out of Paris; and most recently, I came across an article about 3rd world countries bypassing coal altogether and moving straight to renewable energy sources.
Voter turnout is on the decline, especially among Democrats, implying that apathy is on the rise, and if not apathy, then frustration. I don’t see a population that votes Democrat or Republican anymore; I see people voting only for something different. The optimist in me wants to believe that this election is the impetus we need to remember our refrain,
“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
And then act on it.
Public Policy Is Not Created By The Government, It Is Reflected By It
History has shown that governments, which have to maintain a balance in representing entire populations, do not lead where public policy heads. It is not the role of government to change and grow and adapt, but rather, to accurately reflect the people as they change and grow and adapt. If we continue to live to our own highest moral standards, Trump will have no choice but to keep up.