Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. The US will join a lonely group of non-signatories: Syria, and Nicaragua, who didn’t sign because they thought the agreement wasn’t ambitious enough.
Trump is torpedoing years of work by thousands of people. He’s condemning thousands more to suffer the consequences of climate change –not in some nebulous future, but right now, in the present.
So what the crap can we do?
We have to keep fighting.
Our list of favorite organizations fighting climate change is here. It includes , , , the and . These groups are going to continue fighting to keep carbon in the ground, build up renewable energy sources, and put pressure on elected officials no matter what Trump does. Download our extension so you can give as you read about these groups.
What’s more, legally extricating the country from the Paris Agreement will take years, as President of the EU Commission Sebastian Juncker points out below.
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) May 31, 2017
We have to take it local.
State-level action is easier than at the federal level, and sometimes it’s just as effective. California’s stringent car emissions standards, for example, benefit everyone, since companies don’t want to make “California cars” and then cars for everywhere else. California and New York have climate goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 — more aggressive than national goals — and are part of emissions trading programs with other states. Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, and even New Jersey also have noteworthy state-level climate action plans.
City-level action is even more straightforward. Cities and towns set building standards, transportation planning, and education programs. Many create their own climate action plans, like these towns around Boston. Many have started pledging to switch to renewables, joining the ’s Ready for 100 Campaign.
There’s one town in England that sets the standard for local activism: Ashton Hayes, where villagers achieved a 24% reduction in emissions by changing their own behaviors. A campaign begun on a whim at pub trivia night morphed into a village-wide effort lasting decades. Their inspiring story can be a template for every neighborhood.
We can make changes in our own lives.
Switch to clean energy for your own home if you have the option. Install solar panels, if you can. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. Support the organizations on our list. Get involved in local politics. Run for office. And, for crying out loud, vote in all the elections!
image source Garry Knight