Selfish and ignorant. Those were my first thoughts when I found out the USA has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord.
The agreement was not perfect, but what on a such a massive scale could ever be deemed perfect? It was inspiring to see the world come together with goals to help our planet. 195 countries, to be exact.
We all share this planet, after all. We all breathe this air, and we all drink this water. We all seek shelter from storms.
Supporters of the President will say the agreement was economically unfair to the USA and now the USA can be free to pursue it’s own goals.
But now, we join Syria and Nicaragua as the countries who are the outsiders on this issue.
We have willingly turned our back on diplomacy.
If worst comes to worst, we may have turned our back on the basic health and security of our children and grandchildren.
If worst comes to worst, this will be the defining moment when we have decided to condemn the entire world to higher temperatures, bigger droughts, rising seas, severe storms, migration, conflict, disease and starvation.
The USA is currently the #2 polluter in the world. If our industries become unregulated, our levels of pollution likely rise in the name of short term profit while creating great long term harm.
Even if the US impact is small, it can push the most vulnerable countries underwater – such as the Maldives (population 325,000), Seychelles (87,000), Kiribati (102,000), and the Solomon Islands (585,000).
We must hope that despite not being part of the agreement, our industries will continue to invest in new technologies and try to find cleaner and safer ways to create energy.
We must speak out and support those who do what is good and right for the environment and criticize and hold accountable those that do not.
We must support science.
We must support one another. This is our planet. We share it with billions of humans, animals, and plants.
So here we are. What we do matters. How we vote matters.
Walk with grace, leave small footprints, but keep your eyes open and use your voice.
(Photo taken at local March for Science)