Essay: Challenge the Trump Administration for tomorrow

A scene from the People's Climate March in 2014 in New York City. (South Bend Voice/Creative Commons)

The United States leaving the Paris Accord seemed like an end of the world decision for many, but I see it as a new day and a chance for greater innovation. I believe the best place where the environmental revolution will not be in the red-tape arena that is the federal government, but from the innovative private sector and the hardworking Americans that care about the planet. The environmental technology that is produced from the private sector will be supported and bought by the global market, which creates a cycle that will have no need for the fed.

As a director at Trillium Asset Management — a company focused on socially responsible investing — Jonas Kron stated, “…a wide variety of companies and investors have made it clear that even though the President is relinquishing America’s leadership, we will take up the challenge.”

For most Americans, the free market taking over environmental innovation is worrisome, since capitalism is one of the main reasons why the world is in the climate crisis. This might be true, but capitalism can get us out of this crisis because there is both a drive to change the world and the capital to back up the cause.

What shows the drive for a better world is the “We Are Still In” campaign that has 900+ businesses, 200 mayors, 13 states, 19 state attorneys general and 183 colleges and universities, all making a commitment to reduce their greenhouse emissions on their own. This list continues to grow — and their trillions of dollars’ worth of capital are what will create and apply all of the sustainable and green products needed reduce carbon levels to 2005 levels, the stated goal of the Paris Accord.

The people that think that the environment is dead when President Trump decided to leave the Paris Accord, I consider to be defeatist. A person does not need the federal government to recycle or use low energy light bulbs or the hundreds of other environmentally friendly acts. If an individual strongly believes about goals set in the Paris Accord then they need to go out and do something about it, instead of passively waiting for the government or another higher power to act.

Yes, the story about climate change has changed since June 1, 2017, but it is not over. Individuals, businesses, cities, and states need to step it up in order to make the environment livable for everyone, today and for years to come.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.