Trump administration has environmental health in its crosshairs

Things look grim, but there are ways you can help

Reactions have varied since the announcement that Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States, all of them strong. Many have expressed fear for their lives (and rightfully so) in the wake of a major spike in hate crimes since of the election. My intention with this article is not to undermine those fear or devalue them. If his presidency is anything like his campaign, your fear is rightly placed. But additionally, we must also fear what Trump has in store for the environment with climate change reaching critical mass.

First, Trump has openly denied climate change, calling it a “hoax.” He doesn’t even understand how his excessive hairspray affects the ozone layer (which, by the way Mr. Trump, can you breathe in your “sealed” apartment?). This is dangerous ideology  for the next POTUS. The Environmental Protection Agency has data revealing the United States is the second most responsible country for global gas emissions. Many American lifestyle choices are consuming natural resources at dangerously high and unnatural ways. Not only are energy and wood consumption rising, the abandonment of recyclable paper bags in grocery stores in preference to cheaply-produced plastic bags is affecting the environment. The United States is an influential country, and if the next presidency will not tackle environmental issues, the environment’s health is going to a dangerous place.


Second, Trump stated during his campaign he would pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. While experts have said he might not, if he does, his policies could affect China, the number one country responsible for gas emissions. In addition to this potentially disastrous situation, Trump pulling out of the international agreement could mean world leaders will undermine his interests in them. Diplomats have spoken out that they will go forward with their plans, but they warn of implementing a carbon tax or a trade war with the U.S. So, it looks like his promise will be difficult to follow through — shocker, I know.


Third, Trump’s transition team already consists of Myron Ebell, an open denier of climate change. This could not be a bigger mismatch, because “Ebell is not a scientist and has no degrees or qualifications in climate science,” according to a Business Insider story. “But he serves as director of global warming and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian advocacy group in Washington, DC.”

Thankfully, he has no power to make policies at the moment, but he is overseeing the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency which means he has influence over who will be running the agency.


Finally, the President-Elect has announced plans for his first 100 days in-office. It looks like Obama’s policies to move away from coal to clean energy will be canceled out by Trump’s. “I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs,” Trump said  in the video announcement.  “That’s what we want, that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”

Well, we have been waiting for something but I don’t think this is it. There are too many negative impacts the fossil fuel industry creates, but they are listed and explained thoroughly on the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists. You know, people who study the environment for a living. This is a huge loss for the American people, because clean energy can also bring good economic benefits.


So it is my hope that this article may leave you wondering what you can do to help, because there are lots of ways. Education is an important factor, and thankfully, the National Climate Assessment is an informative website that even has FAQs on climate change. Check out Popular Science’s article on ways you can help. Find organizations that help combat climate change, call your representatives to pressure them, volunteer at environmental aid projects, change your habits for the good of the environment–you as a individual can combat this. Do not give into silence.

University of Houston