There were small groups of two or three students in huddles scattered across the room. They were speaking, but quietly enough for their words to evade any prying ears. Those who were not speaking with anyone appeared somber. After a few minutes of this I spoke to the people seated around me about Trump's stance on environmental issues. In time, I found that many students felt the same way I did but were afraid to speak up.
We as a nation have come to find these past few months to be laced with tension and tiptoeing around "trigger" topics: basically anything election related. This should not be the climate of our nation, let alone our campuses. That said, here are three things Mr. Trump has said and done that should concern us about the environment
1. "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
This statement was made by Mr. Trump via Twitter in 2012, and he has stuck by it since then. Many people were understandably outraged by his words, but luckily, there is only a very small percentage of the scientific community that views global warming the same way Trump does. This statement so perfectly explains the stance of Trump on environmental issues.
2. The Appointment of Myron Ebell as the head of the EPA
Mr. Ebell, who will be leading the EPA during Trump's administration, is also a climate change denier. The EPA was set up in 1970 to protect the environment as well as human health and is our government's main advocate for the environment. The EPA has done a great deal to protect our natural resources and combat climate change; however, this change in leadership will likely bring about a new agenda for the agency.
3. He Threatens to Pull the US out of Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is a formal agreement in which countries involved determine actions that they will take to lessen their impact on the climate. According to the UN, this is a binding agreement, but Trump has said he will withdraw the United States. This is meant to be a worldwide effort to slow down carbon emissions. Dirk Forrister, President of the International Emissions Trading Organization, told the New York Times “If one big country backs out it could trigger a whole wave of trade responses.”
While these issues are certainly disheartening, they are no reason to lose hope. There are actions we as students can take to advocate for the environment. Perhaps the best is to get involved in your campus' environmental clubs. This is a great way for students to come together and take action together. After all, this issue is bigger than just you or me.
Lead Image Credit: Jacqueline Waple