How to get back at Trump for pulling us out of Paris Climate Agreement

Flooding in Miami Beach, Florida

As many people feared, Donald Trump yesterday withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that was signed by 195 nations. Trump has added America to an extremely short list of outliers, including only Syria and Nicaragua. However, all is not doom and gloom as a result of Trump’s bad decision. First, plenty of state officials and companies will continue their commitment to fight climate change, for example, by deploying more clean energy such as solar and wind power. Second, there are many efforts each of us can make to bridge the climate change gap that Donald Trump is creating:

Lower our own carbon footprint. This can include, for example, being more efficient with our driving trips, looking at hybrid or electric cars next time around, eating less red meat (which improves our health too), exploring home use of solar energy, and simply turning off those lights and appliances when they’re not needed. For more tips about what you can do in your household, a quick search online will yield numerous resources.

Contact our state and local representatives. Whether at the state or local level, officials where you live may be facing big decisions related to climate change. These can involve, for example, the Clean Power Plan, instituted under President Obama to reduce carbon emissions from power plants but stopped by Donald Trump. State officials, however, can take these and other steps voluntarily, and should be persuaded to do so. Similarly, your local officials may be contemplating putting away funds literally for a rainy day, as they try to plan for future climate change consequences such as massive flooding.

Obviously, officials from some states, such as California, Washington and New York, will be more receptive to our climate change suggestions than others. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to keep the pressure up no matter where you live. For example, Republican-run Florida is heavily dependent on tourism to provide jobs and income to businesses and the state treasury. Much of Florida’s tourism depends on clean air and water, lovely beaches, natural lands and thriving wildlife. State officials should hear from residents and would-be tourists about fighting climate change, including promoting solar energy, so that there are beautiful places to visit and spend those dollars.

Join organizations and efforts to fight climate change. There are a huge number of these, from the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and Greenpeace, to your local chapters of Meetup and #Resist. Once you sign up with some of these groups, you will receive notices of upcoming events, and you’ll probably receive contacts from similar groups as well.

Use social media to spread the message. Again, there are many possibilities in this area. You can set up your Twitter and Facebook networks to follow great organizations like the ones mentioned above, as well as individuals who battle climate change. You can trade and share tips, both for individual efforts and for activism opportunities.

Vote at the voting booth. Too often, especially in “off-year” elections where the presidency is not at stake, Democrats stay home on Election Day. Since tackling climate change is a key indicator of a Democratic voter, not voting virtually ensures that there will be more climate change deniers elected. We cannot wait four years for the next presidential election to become engaged to vote. By then it will be too late. There are Congressional and many other elections in 2018, and perhaps even local elections in your area this year. If we want to have a chance to attack climate change, we must vote whenever the opportunity arises.

Vote with our wallets. Thanks to Republican Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, companies can direct plenty of cash to political causes. So it pays to do some research to find out which companies have committed to fighting climate change. For example, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla , SolarCity and SpaceX, and Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, have announced that they are leaving Trump’s White House business advisory councils, due to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord. Likewise, companies including Salesforce, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet (a/k/a Google), Microsoft and others took out ads denouncing Trump’s decision to pull America out of the Paris agreement, and reaffirming their commitment to fighting climate change. Many company websites also specify steps they may be taking in this area. We should reward good companies and punish bad ones with our dollars.

The key is to feel empowered and to take positive action. We’re not going to sit around for the rest of Donald Trump’s (hopefully abbreviated) term and just complain. We can and we must overcome the deadly handicap he’s placing on America and the world.

Photo by maxstrz, used under Creative Commons license.

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