A roadmap for protecting the environment under a climate-change-denier-in-chief

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In the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration, Fusion is highlighting some of the issues most important to our readers and what to do to prepare for the incoming administration, which is set to assume power in just a few days. On deck for today is the environment.


What Trump has been up to:

When it comes to the environment, Trump is truly singular. Currently, he’s the only world leader who denies the science of climate change. The president-elect has famously called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese “to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” a comment he later walked back as a joke. And as if that weren’t enough to raise eyebrows, during the campaign his environmental proposals included rebuilding the Keystone Pipeline, “saving” the coal industry, and “canceling” the UN Paris Climate Agreement, which sets up a framework for countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.


Trump has also been lukewarm on alternative energy, opposing wind farming because the turbines look “like a junkyard” and “half of them are broken”—despite insisting on wind energy to power one of his Manhattan hotels back in 2010.

While Trump has voiced support for Dakota Access oil, his embrace of the fossil fuel industry—captured best by his selection of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state—suggests that Trump could bring serious environmental harm to communities far beyond Standing Rock. Trump’s unwillingness thus far to be tough with Russia, currently the largest greenhouse gas emitter not to ratify the Paris Agreement, could mean that country will have less incentive to take bold action on climate change.

Trump’s environmental stances don’t necessarily suggest the undoing of progressive environmental policy. But they should make us worry that his administration will drag its feet on an issue we cannot afford to be indecisive about.

Who’s answering the call:

Activists and advocates have been working around the clock since Trump’s election to defend the environment and push for sustainable solutions at every level of civic life. Organizations like Earthjustice focus on enacting reform through our legal system, while the Union of Concerned Scientists works to get climate policy in front of lawmakers. Then, there are environmental heavy-hitters like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club Foundation, which employ multi-pronged approaches to protect our planet.


If there’s a specific region, biosphere, or cause dear to you, there are a number of orgs you can support as well. The Global Coral Reef Alliance, for example, harnesses the work of scientists, divers, environmentalists, and others to conserve coral reefs around the world.

How you can help:

You can donate to the World Wildlife Fund, the National Resources Defense Council, or any of the organizations listed above (we also have some additional suggestions below). If there’s an org that we haven’t listed that you’re considering giving money to, search it on a site like Charity Watch, which can tell you how effectively funds are used. Once you’ve donated, follow that org’s account on Twitter to keep up-to-date on the work they’re doing.


To stay informed, subscribe to Sierra Magazine or National Geographic, or try donating to the National Geographic Society—one of the longest running environmental organizations in the world. Follow Grist for  green news that’s “gloom and doom with a sense of humor.” If you’re jonesing for more of a lit-journal take, hit up Orion Magazine. Fusion’s Project Earth also covers a wide array of stories, and frequently focuses on the intersection between politics and the environment.

Finally, let’s not forget the big impact of little habits. Whether it’s using less energy in the winter by wearing those old college sweats, supporting companies and new technologies that run off of renewable energy, or foregoing red meat a couple times a week (a big water saver!), green-ing up your everyday routine is something you ought to do no matter who is president.


Reading list/resource links:

Up next on How to Survive Trump’s America: Come back tomorrow to find out how to battle possible corruption and conflicts of interest in the Trump administration.

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