Written by Kenna Kuhn, ESLLC 2016-2017
In reaction to the recent presidential election, a lot of the nation has plunged into fear (myself included). Alongside his rhetoric of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and aggression towards the liberal world, Donald Trump has denied climate science entirely.
Although many of Trump’s supporters state their clear recognition of global climate change, job loss and economic stress has led many voters to swing right in pursuit of improved economic opportunity, though in doing so they may be sacrificing much of the younger generation’s future on this planet (not to mention the rights of women, minorities, muslims, the lgbtq community, etc.). For me, this has been very, very hard to understand, for I feel climate change “trumps” all other topics, however important and personal, for climate change is an existential issue for all humanity! Though I am still struggling, hurting, confused and shocked by Tuesday’s results, I recognize that it is imperative to immediately stop crying and start taking action. Politics do not control the world, and politicians do not control us. Like a lot of people, I am realizing more than ever my personal responsibility to our planet is critical.
So here I am. Since not everyone is studying environmental issues in school or willing or able to dedicate their lives to environmentally justice here are a few things that any everyday American can do right now to help us all while reducing their carbon footprint regardless of who is President.
1. Educate yourself
Be able to defend science to climate deniers and further your understanding of this incredibly complex, important issue as much as you possibly can. As I said, you do not have to go to school to educate yourself about climate change. There are easy, accessible avenues to climate education like watching a movie. Actor Leonardo DeCaprio recently helped release National Geographic’s “Before The Flood”, a well-informed, entertaining look at modern climate change issues. “This Changes Everything”, based on Naomi Klein’s well renowned book, is also an incredibly interesting perspective on personal, industrial and global contributors to climate change.
https://www.beforetheflood.com/screenings/ (you may choose where to watch this, it is currently limited to only some of these options)
https://thefilm.thischangeseverything.org You can also read! Science isn’t for scientists only. Climate science is wide-reaching – from understanding what the “greenhouse effect” is to learning why ocean reefs are essentially dissolving to understanding what causes sea level rise (its more than just melting glaciers) – and there are plenty of easy, accessible guides for everyday citizens to learn about it. One of many, many options is the very blog you are reading now. University of Denver’s Environmental Sustainability students uphold this blog on all sorts of environmental topics most of which are written in friendly, conversational ways. I think it’s a really easy way for those of you with limited time to read about interesting, easy topics. https://duesllc.wordpress.com Another easy way is to simply install the app “Sceptical Science” on your phone and exploring its contents when bored in class…
2. Sign a petition
Undoubtedly the easiest way to support the efforts of advocates helping fight climate change is with a signature. With a time-commitment of 15-30 seconds, petitions have become some of the most forefront actions on climate policy. Over the next four years, there is no doubt environmental groups will be sending out tons of these grassroots petitions. Do not stop here, but here are a few current, very important petitions:
Do not allow Myron Ebell to head the EPA. Myron Ebell is a buyable, coal-powered climate change denier who has dedicated his (fossil fuel funded) life to creating public misunderstanding of the indisputable link between human activity and climate change. One of his many policy proposals includes dismantling the Paris Climate Agreement and reversing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Certainly not the kind of man we want leading our Environmentally Protection Agency. Sign here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/do-not-allow-myron-ebell-lead-epa-transition
Stand with Standing Rock. As the Dakota Access Pipeline continues the fossil fuel industry’s trend of displacing native, peoples protecting Standing Rock tribal land could be a pinnacle feat for both the environmental and minority rights movements. Sign and learn more here: http://rezpectourwater.com
3. Continue to reduce your own carbon footprint and help those around you do the same (drive less, turn off the lights, use less water, rethink your consumerism, stop eating beef…) and stay informed! This stuff really matters.
Here is Huffington Post’s advice on other ways to get involved in all sorts of problems a Trump presidency is going to cause us: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/if-youre-overwhelmed-by-the-election-heres-what-you-can-do-now_us_5822c7d0e4b0e80b02cdf133