How do we move forward from this historic and unprecedented election? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I’m sure no one really does yet. I wanted Tuesday to be a dream, but it became more of a nightmare. I went to bed that night shocked, confused, frustrated and extremely disappointed. I had truly believed Hillary Clinton would become the 45th President of the United States, the first woman President and that she would ensure greater safety for our Earth.
But oh boy was I wrong.
I’ll admit it, Donald Trump is the President Elect and will become our 45th president. I’ll admit it and I’ll accept it. What I do not accept are the potential impacts that are likely to be caused by his presidency. What I do not accept is the uncertainty of my future, the country’s future and the future of future generations.
I not only voted to move our country forward, but also for the security of our Earth. I voted for the climate and as a voice for the environment. I voted to protect the more than 7.4 billion people who call Earth home from climate change and for the billions of people who are being affected by its adverse effects today.
Climate change is a threat that affects everyone, including Donald Trump and his gaudy Ireland golf course. It’s a terrifying thought, but Donald Trump will soon have the entire world in his hands. He has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax” and has even appointed a climate change denier to head his Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
Why did we elect a man, who vehemently denies climate change, to the highest office of the land, in the United States, when 97 percent of the scientific world believes in climate change?
Everything President Obama has done over the past eight years to put our nation (Clean Power Plan) and the world (Paris Climate Agreement) on the right track to combat climate change is now up in the air.
Over 100 countries, including the U.S., have joined the Paris Climate Agreement, but Trump’s mention of “canceling” it is frightening. As the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter, a retraction of our commitment could possibly unhinge the entire agreement as those countries who look up to the U.S. for strong leadership could retract their support as well. He’s also called for more oil and coal exploration, fewer regulations, and reductions in clean energy research.
The world needs aggressive action to reduce emissions and fossil fuel dependence in order to combat climate change, not actions to further the detriment that will result if nothing is done.
Just like this election, climate change is an intergenerational issue. We are responsible for our actions. How we act today will either positively or negatively impact the environment and future generations.
My love and passion for environmental protection has grown. I am more committed, determined and empowered than ever to defend the environment. We must all come together and become stewards and a voice for the environment. We must all promote a sustainable and environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Change may take longer now, but it will come.
Together, we can and will make a positive difference in the world. I have hope, I have faith and I have all of you.
Anthony Ng is a senior environmental science major and can be reached at email@example.com.