The Dirty Business of America’s New Energy

In the early hours of the morning on November 9th, 2016, a heavy grey sky lay over Baton Rouge, Louisiana, not unlike other cities across the United States.

burning-coal-carbonDonald Trump–a man who plans to defund the Obama Administration’s efforts with the Environmental Protection Agency, remove the United States from the Paris Climate Treaty, and actively denies global warming–will soon hold the highest position of political power in the United States.

Investments in coal, oil, and other emissive energy markets soared after the results of the election came in.

While news media outlets focused their attention on the immediate aftermath of the election results, the earth herself let out a soft cry. Donald Trump’s goal for energy use, according to his campaign website, reads, “Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.”

The site focusses heavily on the creation of jobs, and much less so on the sustainability of energy consumption. Donald Trump’s campaign offers no platform for solar energy, quite possibly the most obvious, effective, and steadily-growing sustainable energy industry in the market today.

The candidate’s recently confirmed support for the Dakota Access Pipeline–a crude oil which every day further invades the treaty-protected land of Standing Rock, South Dakota–serves as a perfect testament to the realities of his campaign; these new policies not only further degrade relations with the native people themselves, but damage the land they live on as well.

All of this is to say–Donald Trump’s energy policy is one not of the future, but one of the past. It is one which holds money over ethics; over growth; over long-term improvement; over life.

It seems as though there is not much of anything to be done. With a republican-controlled House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate under a republican-controlled president, it is understandable why some feel this way.

However, what must also be understood is that we as individuals hold a great power to change how we–as individuals–affect the environment.

While politicians and corporations and money try to enact policies that damage the air, water, and land, we can combat such changes with more efforts in our personal lives to recycle, eat less meat, consume fewer plastic goods, grow our own food, and buy from more local businesses.

Action can always take place. The earth calls us to understand this. And the voice is urgent. 

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