Fight this Hate shows a small selection of hate crimes and/or harassment that has taken place recently in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center keeps detailed accounts of hate crimes. Colorlines tracks all manner of topics related to race and publishes them daily. The following incidents are only a small sample, and each includes a form of direct action.
On June 1, President Trump announced he will begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, thereby making good on his campaign promise, and continuing on with his “America First” policy. He did agree to abide by the Accord’s rules for withdrawal, which means this will be a four-year process. This decision is a major setback for the worldwide effort to combat global warming.
Prior to his announcement, even his own staff disagreed whether to stay in the accord or to leave it. The president’s daughter urged him to stay and eviscerate Obama-era climate rules without incurring as much damage to relations with other countries. But this was a definite win for chief strategist Steve Bannon and for Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, both of whom had argued forcefully to abandon the global agreement in favor of a clean break that would clear the way for a new environmental approach.
Here is background on the Paris Climate Accord. In December 2015, 195 countries agreed to the first global pact aimed at reducing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. It was a landmark diplomatic achievement and the pinnacle of President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda.
The idea of the Paris climate accord was that every country, rich and poor, would set goals to curb carbon emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of climate change.
Global warming is real. Every year for the past three years has set records for being the hottest ever.
The president has called climate change a “hoax.” By withdrawing, he is affirming his belief, and putting the entire world at greater danger. While US citizens make up just over four percent of the world’s population, they are responsible for almost a third of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. China emits more carbon into the atmosphere today, but as New York Times’s climate reporter Justin Gillis explains, the United States has a long head start on burning coal, oil and natural gas.
Now that President Trump has decided the United States will leave the pact, other countries — especially the poorer ones — could consider doing the same. That could reverse years of hard-won progress on climate change.
The United States joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that are not a part of the Paris agreement.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown calls on other states to step up. He suggests we can continue to combat global warming, even though we are no longer part of the Paris agreement. He states, “America, wake up. You aren’t going to get gas guzzlers no matter what Donald Trump says. You aren’t going to get coal to increase, no matter what Donald Trump says in West Virginia. We have to get with the program. And the program is renewable energy, decarbonizing, and research and development in a way that makes America more sustainable, not less.”
Brown has emerged as a leader in the fight against climate change by urging local governments throughout the world to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In all, 170 governments in 33 countries have joined the so-called “Under2 Coalition,” which sets more ambitious goals than the Paris accord. In addition, several nations, including Sweden, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom have endorsed the effort.
Here is a list of cities who have vowed to keep the Paris Accord.
Climate Change Happening Now
If everything goes wrong — if because of disaster, climate change, or nuclear war, life as we know it comes to an end, with parts of the earth rendered inhospitable with widespread environmental devastation — the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a resource that could come to our rescue.
Hidden about 400 feet inside a mountain on a remote island between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the vault stores valuable seeds from crops all over the world. It’s supposed to be protected and stay at a safe temperature to store all those seeds.
But extreme temperatures in the Arctic this winter — combined with heavy rain instead of snow — led to melting permafrost that gushed into the tunnel leading into the vault, according to a report in The Guardian, raising questions about whether the doomsday vault will survive a warming planet.
The vault is safe “for now.” The only thing we can do is to continue to participate in global efforts to save ourselves.
And remember, there are things you personally can do to help the environment. The New York Times published a helpful list in December. The list includes not wasting food, having a pet, not having a second car, becoming vegetarian, buying less stuff, wasting less stuff, and taking the bus. See the list for more, and for details.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.