In 2016, we saw legends pass, terror strike, and hate win. It is easy to be pessimistic about what 2017 – and even the next four years – might bring. In the midst of all of this, the most pressing issue is that of climate change and the state of the environmental movement under the Trump administration. Having already appointed several “climate change deniers” to cabinet positions, the president-elect does not appear to be making any moves towards continuing President Obama’s efforts to combat the surmounting environmental deterioration around the globe. One might think that all hope is lost, especially because of the crucial nature of these next four years to the green movement.
This may not necessarily be the case. Some of the most revolutionary and progressive movements have seen their proudest days in reaction to most dire situations. Already, organizations like Planned Parenthood - which the party-in-power vehemently opposes - have seen a spike in financial donations and support after Donald Trump’s victory. There is certainly a possibility that the environmental movement may see a similar increase.
As campaign claims saturate the media and invade the thoughts of American citizens, the population forgets about the true nature of the republic. While President Trump will certainly have an effect on the international face of the United States, his power exists within the constraints of a democratic system. Ultimately, it is up to the American people, over the next four years, to lobby for environmental prudence – politically, financially, and otherwise. By donating to organizations which seek to make the earth habitable for future generations, becoming active in the environmental movement, and simply continuing the conversation, the population of the U.S. has the power to combat the intentions of the Trump administration.
Hope is not lost for the Earth and its inhabitants. Rather than allowing our dread over the intentions of the president-elect and his chosen political machine to consume us, it is the responsibility of the American people (and, indeed, the world at large) to use the current situation as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to capitalize on positive sentiment toward the green movement, to reverse the effects of a century of environmental apathy, and to make the voice of the people heard.
A century from now, textbooks will regard this period as a crucial point in human history. Above all, it must be remembered that we still have a chance to decide exactly what they say.