By reducing it to an economical competition, Trump hides the dangers of environmental issues — a matter often disregarded within political discussions,  yet fundamental to the whole existence of mankind.

After the Industrial Revolution and the posterior spread of capitalist optics worldwide, nature has turned out to be taken by men as a mere object of quantification and manipulation, being interpreted as an inexhaustible resource always available for human use.

Within this logic then, uncountable environmental atrocities were committed and are being practiced on behalf of progress and profit — such as deforestation for pasture and agriculture, contamination of water and soil by pesticides and industrial waste, along with the irresponsible use of polluting and non-renewable sources of energy. The problem is that consequences for those acts exist, and they can be harmful.

What are the consequences of global warming

According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, “each of the first six months of this year set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record”. Moreover, phenomenons like the melting of polar layers, the rising of sea levels and the acidification of the oceans are other risk factors associated with climate change, which jeopardizes the survival of various species of living beings, as well as the safety of coastal urban areas of the continents.

Well, the thing is that global warming is real, and we are the main cause of it. Humans, endowed with arrogance and ignorance towards nature, have exploited it intensely and cruelly for centuries. Modern man, subduing all other forms of life, underestimated the ability of the trees which purify his air, the rivers which give him water, and the soil which feeds him, without realizing that by destroying the environment that surrounds him, all he ends up doing is determining his own extinction.

A report by the UN Climate Change Panel in 2014 — written by more than 800 scientists from 80 countries, bringing together more than 30,000 scientific articles — states that human influence on the climate system is clear, and that the more severe climate changes are, the more irreversible the impacts tend to be, and that fortunately we have the means to limit this change and make a more sustainable future. Such indications should at least cease the voice of those who claim that climate change is a hoax.

What the US future government believes in

Nevertheless, the recently-elected United States president Donald Trump goes against the studies of the overwhelming majority of scientists, stating the opposite. According to a tweet of his, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The millionaire, believed to take up an environmental policy completely different from that adopted by Barack Obama and the world’s main leaders, threatens to impose a defeat upon a global fight against climate changes.

Trump’s election intimidated the almost 190 countries present at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP 22), concluded on last day 18h in Marrakech, Morocco, where a concrete plan to apply what was decided on the Paris Agreement — recently sealed by US and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases — was to be defined.

Opposite to Trump, China reinforced its plan to stop global warming regardless of US positioning. Furthermore, more than 100 nations already ratified the agreement, including the own US. However, there are some alternatives Trump can try to withdraw from the Paris Agreement: sending a letter exiting from the 1992 international framework accord; voiding U.S. involvement in both in a year’s time; or issuing a presidential order simply excluding the U.S. signature from the Paris accord.

Apart from that, Trump’s government could simply make it harder for the agreement’s measures to be implemented, or there could be a relaxation in the surveillance, once there are no punishments within the accord. Either way, the attention to global warming by other countries could end, since the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases today may not care for it.

Negligence is dangerous. In November 2015, the collapse of a mining dam in the city of Mariana in Brazil turned out to be one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world, causing a city to be swallowed by mud and a river to be flooded by mining waste. The incident — an avoidable catastrophe resulted of lax safety regulation in the Brazilian mining industry, as well as government and industry negligence — left 17 deaths and more than 500 people homeless, and a “sea of toxic mud” which infected both Brazil’s most important river, the Rio Doce, and the Atlantic Ocean, killing fish and aquatic life hundreds of kilometers away and making undrinkable the water hundreds of thousands of people depend on.

Our role in keeping life as it is found today

The future of the planet is in our hands, and efforts must come from various places. From simple day-to-day actions — such as preferring a bicycle to a car, planting a tree, recycling and checking the origin of products we consume so to verify whether the company complies with environmental regulations — we will be guaranteeing the quality of life for our society, and the survival of future generations without losses and hardships. Also, by demanding from our politicians a toughest positioning as for environmental preservation, we will be performing our role of a conscious citizen, and that of an animal simply endowed with rationality, which would not destroy its only home.

Once ceased by men’s imprudence and negligence, natural resources cannot be bought. We may either change our habits, or we may die. We must treat the environment around us as the natives esteem for the land that surrounds them. According to a passage from one of several versions of a letter attributed to Chief Seattle, sent in 1852 to the US president who wanted to buy the Chief’s land, the wise man says: “How can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us [natives]. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you sell them? “

We must valorize nature today before it is too late, for it is already running short of time.


Read more: Climate Change: Millennials Must Answer the Call to Action

Luiz Felipe Moraes is an Editor for Brazil in the Naked Opinion section of The Pavlovic Today. He is a Yale Young Global Scholar 2016. His interests revolve around International Relations, humanities,...

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