Since President Trump took office, his climate change policies have hovered somewhere between negligent and actively detrimental. America is reeling from multiple devastating hurricanes, rampant wildfires, and brutal heatwaves. In the face of these disasters, Trump has gained a well-deserved reputation as a President unwilling or unable to address one of the greatest challenges of our time. It is this reputation that prompted a Wednesday White House meeting that Politico described as as focused on “big picture climate strategy,” where officials “discussed how to combat the public perception that the administration is out of touch with climate science.”
Here’s the problem: It’s more than a public perception, it’s reality. This administration is out of touch with climate science and the American people know it. According to polls taken before the latest spate of disasters, concern about global warming is at an all-time high. Sixty-eight percent of Americans agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change. Sixty-two percent believe the impacts of climate change have already begun. And 72 percent want the government to take aggressive climate change action. Unless the aggressive actions they’re referring to include pulling out of the Paris Agreement, dismantling the EPA from within, and eliminating regulations on the coal industry, Trump is falling short on all counts.
For all the President’s failings, he is acutely aware of and sensitive to public perception. In the public arena two very important (and accurate) ideas are rapidly gaining ground. First, that when it comes to climate policy, President Trump is weak, ignorant, and dominated by monied fossil fuel interests. Second, and perhaps more important, that this is a big deal, one that will impact Americans economically, environmentally, and in terms of their personal safety, for decades to come.
All this is to say that it is vital that climate change remain in the public eye. In the physical world, talk to your friends and family, demand answers from your elected officials, organize marches and protests. In the digital one, take part in so-called slacktivism. Engage in discussions on social media; like, retweet and share important climate change content. Though it’s admittedly my mission as a member of the YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY team to help you spread the word, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. As the President’s constant, unfiltered, and frequently bizarre presence on social media shows, he’s very much paying attention.
Photo: Michael VadonShare This