With Donald Trump preparing to become the next President of the U.S., many environmentalists are bracing themselves for the worst. Among their many concerns are that the President-Elect has said he thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, he has threatened to dismantle the EPA and take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and he has promised to “put our [coal] miners back to work” in the mines. While environmentalists have good reason to be worried, they also recently received a message of hope.
That message came in the form of a letter addressed to Donald Trump and signed by 37 mayors from cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. The letter asks Mr. Trump, as a father and a businessman, to put politics aside, consider the scientific and economic data showing the high costs of inaction, and join them in taking action to address climate change.
In one of the most heartening parts of the letter, the mayors discuss the initiatives approved by voters in the last election to make their cities less dependent on fossil fuels. One of these initiatives was the city of Los Angeles overwhelmingly approving a $120 billion commitment to public transit. The city of Seattle approved a similar measure that will involve transit improvements totaling $54 billion. Finally, the city of Austin also approved a mobility bond that would include more accommodations for bicycles and more walking paths.
Strong support for measures like these shows that citizens across the country desire a healthier environment, and that they are making those desires known to their leaders. Reacting to this pressure from their constituents, the leaders of these cities are also choosing to commit themselves to networks, such as C40, that facilitate the collaboration of city leaders from all over the world to improve the sustainability of cities.
What we are seeing are citizens demanding to live in better environments and the leaders of their cities listening. As people continue to make these strong pushes on the local level, politicians on the national level may be forced to listen. At the least, progress will be made. For this reason, we must see that there is still hope for some strong environmental action in the U.S. during the next four years.
By: Daniel Klein