Deciphering a(nother) bad news headline: US Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Our federal government won’t support our future. They won’t support our planet’s habitability, our economic stability, our health. Luckily, our nation isn’t just our federal government. Our nation is a conglomerate of CEOs and corporations, small business and non-profits, city governments and townships. At its core, our nation is comprised of people.

As President Trump takes America out of the Paris Climate Agreement, arguably one of the most meaningful approaches to climate change to date, the rest of America will need to step forward. Many have realized that today’s actions have taken America off its pedestal as a global leader. As the rest of the world embarks to build a better future, a stronger future, America will be taking a back seat, benefiting from and hindering the constructive actions of the global community.

However, there are two important things to note. One, is that when it comes to fighting climate change, the American government was never really driving this charge. Fields of wind turbines and renewable visibility is often associated with Germany and western Europe. Best practices for conservation are typically found in third world nations – African communities, Asia – those who depend on and interact with the world’s resources most directly (and side note, are impacted most directly by the effects of climate change).

The second note, is that while America loses touch with current progress and future generations, our businesses and communities have a unique opportunity to redefine what it means to be a global political leader. In a globalized world, local and corporate policy can make a sizable impact more than ever before. It’s not taboo to admit that our economy is contingent on our environment (along with our health, our food and water supply, the stability of our infrastructure). Smart companies know this and have acted on this. This was made evident by the 30 Fortune 50 companies that openly opposed withdrawing from the agreement just this month.

The evidence of climate change and the man-made impact on our planet is right outside our doors. Play a role in how we move forward: Advocate for sustainable strategies. Educate the next generation. Support a healthier future. Our government has never truly led this charge, and the actions of socially responsible organizations and our citizens are capable of implementing the policy that our current leadership has dismantled.

 

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