In the wake of President Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement (a global initiative to help fight the disastrous effects of climate change), 68 United States mayors have banded together to affirm their commitment to holding up the terms of the Paris Agreement in their cities.
They are publicly acknowledging the reality of climate change caused by global warming, and taking steps to reduce greenhouse emissions, to encourage community involvement to support the environment, and to ensure environmental justice. They released the following statement in response to Trump’s statement of intent to withdraw from the agreement:
“As 68 mayors representing 38 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.
We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the president wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks.
The world cannot wait — and neither will we.”
While the news of the withdrawal from the agreement is unwelcome, it’s also been made clear that the withdrawal will not be immediate, and is likely to be a political battleground for the midterm elections in 2018. But while the politicians choose sides, our own role in saving the environment is clear.
We can take immediate action in the following ways:
>> Find out if our mayors are participating in this group. If not, we can write to our mayors to encourage them to participate in the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda.
>> We can make sure that we are reducing our own carbon footprints by reducing, reusing, recycling, and even upcycling the items we use to reduce waste.
>> We can properly recycle batteries, ink cartridges, and electronics.
>> We can buy from green companies that use packaging that is environmentally friendly and recyclable.
>> We can participate in crowdfunding for inventions that will help reduce our impact on the environment.
>> We can carpool, walk, or bike to reduce carbon emissions.
>> We can purchase groceries from local co-ops and farmers’ markets.
>> We can pick up litter from our streets and beaches, and encourage others to do the same.
>> We can use our votes in upcoming elections to choose representatives who will protect the environment.
We may feel helpless in light of the news from the White House, but these mayors are showing us the power that individuals have to create change. While the country may pull out of the Paris Agreement, cities are able to voluntarily follow the guidelines of the agreement—not out of financial interest, but out of a sincere concern for the environment that provides the air we breathe and the water we drink. The environment is our quality of life and the quality of life for future generations, and these mayors are stepping up their game in spite of the president’s refusal to believe the truth that is climate change.
As citizens, we can equally take a stand by being conscious consumers and by taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment. We can speak out for climate change and confront climate change deniers. We can be informed voters rather than voting along party lines.
We’re not helpless, and the cause is far from hopeless. We need to applaud the efforts of these mayors and join them in the initiative to save our planet—regardless of what news may come out of the White House.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Michael Vadon/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
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