All hope for the environment is not lost after Paris

The headline of a German newspaper last week read, “Earth to Trump: F**k you.” The paper is, of course, referring to Trump’s decision to unilaterally exit the Paris climate agreement, considered a milestone in global cooperation in combating global warming and pollution, and join the ranks of countries like Syria and Nicaragua, who are not part of the agreement. The move has become extremely controversial, as it should be, with even corporate giants that Trump usually seems to cater to condemning the action.

Outrage is spreading both here in the United States and abroad. Protests erupted near the White House and elsewhere in Washington, as well as in New York. States around the country are joining a climate alliance, dedicated to reaching the goals the Paris agreement set forth, started by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo. From Barcelona to Mexico City, monuments and public buildings were illuminated green in protest of the President’s decision.

The ideals of the Paris agreement are far from gone. While Trump perhaps wanted to silence the environmental debate, preferring profit over what’s best for Americans, if anything, he reinforced others’ commitments to protecting the environment. To those who are familiar with the President, this should come as no surprise. Trump has tweeted that global warming is a “hoax” and was created by the Chinese to make “US manufacturing non-competitive.” Besides this, in the first few months of being in office, he erased multiple Obama-era executive orders intended to protect the environment at the snap of his fingers.

Anyway, much of the Paris agreement is symbolic. Even if it were to collapse, nations could still move on to achieving the goals it set forth. Likewise, US cities and states can continue to protect the environment. What the President’s decision has really done is humiliated America internationally. It has brought it down to the level of Nicaragua and Syria.

Even with all of this, it’s important to remember that while it is important that our governments continue to strive for a greener planet, our everyday decisions can also have a big impact. If 2 million people decided to throw their waste into the ocean, there would be 2 million more plastic bags in the ocean. Perhaps 2 million sea creatures would be dead. So if you want to think about your commitment to the environment, and want to help, the best thing to do would be to go through your daily routine. Am I unknowingly hurting the environment every day? Am I contributing to global warming? Because if 2 million more people started caring tomorrow, we would already have a greener planet.

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