Climate Change (A post-election summary)
What could Trump’s election mean for the environment
Written by Sorcha Ní Chroidheáin
Voices - Opinion
Young people share their point of view.
So, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. Not only is this a disaster for the Black Lives Matter movement and for Muslims currently living in the States, but it is also a disaster for the world in general. The climate change page has been removed from the White House’s website and although it has just gone to the archives, because this happens every time a new president is elected, I doubt Trump will put another climate change page in its place. In fact, on the White House website, it calls the climate change movement harmful and unnecessary.
So, America is taking the whole world down with it. Interesting.
What is Climate Change?
Climate change refers to the changes that are happening to our planet due to the increase in heat on our planet. It can be used interchangeably with the term ‘global warming’ but global warming more so refers to long-term warming of our planet than the changes happening to Earth because of it.
Is it real? Is there evidence?
The short answer is: yes and yes. Global sea level rose about 17 centimetres in the past century and evidence shows that the Earth has warmed significantly since 1880. 2015 was the first year the global average temperatures were more than one Celsius above the 1880-1900 average. Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometres of ice per year between 2002 and 2006 and the same thing happened to the Antarctic. The Arctic sea ice has also been declining rapidly over the last several decades. See Nasa’s climate change website if you are still not convinced, because it is an issue that should be taken seriously.
How will Trump’s election affect this?
With Trump in power, this means that the United States may stop contributing to the world’s attempts to prevent, or slow down, climate change. As the United States are so big and have such an impact on the industry in general, them not funding the climate change movement could be drastic. He will try to pull the Clean Power Plan, which regulates emissions from electric plants which are among the biggest sources of carbon dioxide pollution.
What can I do?
You may feel like because you are not a part of a huge government organisation, there is nothing you can do. That is not the case. Here are a few things you can do:
Adopt energy saving habits: Make sure you switch off the light when you’re not in the room. Turn off the switch at the socket when you’re not using it. Replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
Change your way of transportation: Walk or ride your bicycle to school or work. Use public transportation or carpool. If you still haven’t bought a car but are going to shortly, consider buying an electric car.
Insulate your home: This means ensuring that the heat stays in or out depending on the season. Purchase windows and window covers that seal up any crack. Keep your thermostat on a low temperature during the winter and huddle with a cosy blanket or jumper. Insulate your pipes too and lower the temperature on your water heater. During the summer, use fans to circulate air or use an air conditioner.
Quick showers: Do not waste water. Turn taps off when you’re not using them, do not let water run for too long. Take a quick shower instead of a bath. Take cold showers as much as possible so you don’t waste hot water.
Veganism: Agriculture, believe it or not, plays a part in global warming. A widespread switch to veganism could cut down greenhouse gas emissions by nearly two thirds. Of course this is not an option for everyone, but cutting down on meat when possible could help the planet.
Recycle: This speaks for itself. Recycle any plastic, paper, glass that you can. Make recycling part of your daily routine.
Switch to renewable resources: Research where your power is coming from and if you can switch to solar panels, do it. Look into renewable resources and see what you can do from the environment.
Volunteer: The Green Party are one example of a group that are dedicated to protect our environment in Ireland. You can donate money to them, join them or volunteer.
Plant a tree: If you have the space, plant a tree or even a few flowers. Plants soak up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen which is a good thing and why we should stop unnecessary deforestation.
It’s time to realise that climate change isn’t just an issue that will go away on its own. Do something about it (even just speaking up would help).