What will the future of our planet look like with a climate-change denier in office? Environmental thought leaders weigh in with some inspiring thoughts…
Millions of people were surprised by the election results last month. Whether they should have been or not is not the question; the question is, where do we go from here?
How do we continue moving towards a sustainable future with someone who has no concern for sustainability (or the health of our planet, for that matter) as the leader of the free world?
As I always say on the health blog and elsewhere – it’s up to us.
As we move into an uncertain future, it is more important than ever that we stand up for our rights as people, our health, and our precious planet that we live on.
I was happy to stumble across this article with a number of inspiring quotes from environmental thought leaders in response to the election of our future president.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Earthjustice VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities
As someone who has worked with the most amazing leaders and community groups on environmental justice — an issue that is never mainstream, seldom popular, and mostly absent from the political discourse of our country — I often look, and always find, hope in those leaders to keep fighting for the healthier environment we all deserve. In the wake of an election that brings an administration eager to neglect climate change efforts, sustainability, and environmental justice, I now feel emboldened by the community activists who have been relentlessly fighting to protect public health in communities overburdened by pollution.
While it’s true we may be facing an unfriendly administration, this only means that now more than ever we have to support communities and activists across the country who are in the trenches, fighting for change. We have to make sure we are there — shoulder to shoulder, mano a mano — to fight with them. We need to raise our voices in the coming months and years so that political leaders understand that our communities will not tolerate attacks to their health or their environment.
U.S. Senator from Rhode Island
Well, we had horrible election results for climate change, but even in light of the election I think there is room to go forward. We’ll have to do a couple of things.
The first thing we’ll all have to do is mobilize. Nobody can count on President Obama to get this done for us. We’ll have to join environmental groups, make sure our voices are heard, and get involved.
Second, I can tell you a dirty little secret from my position in the Senate, and that is: The good corporate actors on climate don’t bring that message to Congress. There is almost no positive corporate lobbying about climate change in Congress. That leaves the field entirely to the fossil fuel industry. So we need to put pressure on the corporations who signed the President’s Paris pledge to get to work in Congress and make their voices heard, as well.
The last thing I’ll say is: I think we need to change the narrative a little bit and make sure that Americans are aware of this phony baloney climate denial apparatus that the fossil fuel industry has set up. It shouldn’t be allowed to work in the dark. We should call it out, and we should honor and cite the work of scientists who are examining it. What makes me excited and gives me determination is that we need to get this done to make sure our country keeps a leading role in the world. And everywhere I go — Republican or Democrat, west, east, north, south, urban, rural — young people get this. So we need to pull together and get this done. We can and we will.
Sierra Club Executive Director
I think this time around we have different assets at our disposal. The biggest one is that when it comes to climate and clean energy, there is an alliance between the market and our movement that we never had before. Clean energy now is cheaper than coal and gas in most parts of the country and it creates more jobs than fossil fuels, and investors are increasingly moving away at least from coal — investors and corporate leaders that we didn’t have in the Bush administration.
There’s an alliance between the market and the climate movement that we haven’t seen before that is more powerful and more diverse than it has been. We can achieve change at the local and state level and private sector — even if we have deniers running our federal government.
Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group Director
A Trump administration spells a grim future for climate governance in the U.S. Yet, like climate change itself, the rest of the world marches on. There are tens of thousands of examples we can point to where non-state (i.e. business) and sub-national entities (i.e. states and cities) are acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and protect people from the impacts of climate change.
Among the organizations committing to do something about climate change, some major emitters are stepping up to the plate. Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, recently announced that by 2025 it will generate half the energy consumed by its operations from renewable sources. Even fossil fuel companies, including BP, Chevron, and Exxon, are making efforts to reduce operational emissions… Our analysis includes 1,500 companies representing $32.5 trillion in revenue — more than one-third of the global economy — that have pledged some form of climate action.
And share your own message of hope in the comments! What makes you hopeful about the future of our planet in today’s climate?