Even before President Donald Trump took office, our world faced unprecedented dangers due to climate change. Now that he is President, those dangers have intensified and taken a giant step closer. The Administration’s actions, rather than protecting us, seem designed to do the exact opposite.
Trump’s appointments include climate change deniers, many with intimate ties to the fossil fuel industry, eager to promote the most significant sources of heat-trapping carbon. Trump has pledged to withdraw from the Paris Accords, an action that undermines the entire international movement to address the climate crisis. Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, recently claimed that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming, contradicting years of established science — and he is set to slash the EPA’s budget. The Clean Power Plan is in the crosshairs. Short-term business interests are being pursued at the expense of our safety and welfare, and the stable future of the planet itself. And this is just the beginning.
The crises we face are not limited to the distant plight of polar bears or coral reefs. A new study by the National Academy of Sciences foresees a drop in Midwest farm productivity as the climate changes. The Pentagon projects that “global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability.” We have already seen destabilization around the world from massive refugee migrations due to political chaos that has been inflamed by climate change. The “biggest long-term security threat” facing the Asia Pacific region, according to the U.S. Pacific Command, is climate change. The earth’s equatorial belt is turning to desert, severe weather events are intensifying, oceans are acidifying, glaciers are melting and seas are rising. If ever there were a time to err on the side of caution, and to assume that the great body of scientific work on the climate crisis is worth trusting, surely this is it.
The question on everyone’s mind is this: What can we do to make a difference? How can we overcome the fossil-fuel industry’s stranglehold on our government and inspire our leaders to take action? History shows that when the people rise up in large groups and make their voices heard, strongly and boldly, politicians do take notice. And so here is what we can do right now: Large-scale climate marches have been planned for April 29 across the nation. The central march will be in Washington, D.C., and regional marches are planned in many other cities, including Chicago and Des Moines. If you are concerned about the frightening climate-denial policies that have been set in motion, decide now to attend one of these marches. (For more information, search the web for “People’s Climate March”.)
Come to D.C. if you possibly can. Otherwise, commit to march in Chicago or Des Moines. The climate crisis demands immediate action. It is up to ordinary citizens like ourselves to take up the call.
• Thom Krystofiak, of Fairfield, is a graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training.