During the presidential election, one of the rising concerns was the attitude that President Donald Trump had toward the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and climate change. Since being elected into office, Trump has signed an executive order that included rolling back standards from President Barack Obama’s time in office, which required the federal government to acknowledge climate change and rising sea-levels in regards to infrastructure. Trump even went as far as to call climate change a “hoax” during his presidential race. Since the repeal, Trump’s administration has done little to acknowledge the changing climate, regardless of the current environmental changes.
Throughout the past few weeks, two larger hurricanes have wreaked havoc on the southern states and the administration has said little about the issue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long and Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke both responded to interview questions from CNN by avoiding the topic of climate change, saying instead that there should be a focus on preparedness and resiliency.
Instead of working to understand what is causing such large disasters, or dwelling on facts of climate change, the current administration seems to be turning a blind eye. When pressed on what could have caused the large storms, Duke responded in a not-so-matter-of-fact way that she had no clear understanding of what the data meant, according to the CNN article.
The EPA was recently cast in a poor light by AP reporter Michael Biesecker, who claimed that the organization had done little to react to the area that had been struck by Hurricane Harvey and that there were many toxic sites underwater. The EPA statement claimed that the article was a misrepresentative term for the public, as reported by Politico, and that there were clear reasons for them not being present, such as water levels. AP chose to run a correction following their statement, but it is clear that the disaster site was not reached immediately by members of the EPA, giving way to their previous statements on focus and preparation rather than research.
Additionally, the term “climate change” is being treated as a misleading or incorrect term for what is currently happening to the planet.
There are years of scientific proof showing the continually rising temperatures, melting of ice and change in CO2 levels. The wreckage of cities at the hands of multiple hurricanes in a row should be proof enough. The hurricanes seen within weeks of each other were some of the most catastrophic hurricanes in written history. There are people whose entire life is spent tracking the changes in the climate. Their life’s work is often tossed aside by people too belligerent to take a look at the world around them.
Dr. Daniel Peppe, an associate professor and graduate program director in Baylor’s department of geosciences, is known as an expert on historical climate change, as reported on Baylor Proud. He teaches students about the ancient earth, plant and animal life and how climate change effects the current state of the world. He continues his learning through digs across the world and incorporates his knowledge of paleontology and ecology to understand his findings. His findings are shared both nationally and among students, and should be clear-cut evidence to those who have yet to acknowledge climate change.
At some point, if a person is not willing to face the facts, there is no way left to persuade them. Instead, we can encourage the continued spread of correct facts and continued support of making changes at the federal level. In order to reach higher levels of government, you must first become involved with local and regional governments. This is not easily achieved, but can start with an election booth or regular phone calls. Respond with grace and intelligence, rather than picking fights on social media streams. Instead, take time to research what is happening around you, enlighten someone every day, whether they choose to indulge in your knowledge or not. Lead by example by making the difference you can make as an individual and reach out to others in different ways.