While the nation either celebrates or mourns the results of the general election, many of us, especially in the outdoor world, are focused on how the results will affect the environment. This is especially critical for anyone who works in the outdoor industry, as everything from global warming initiatives to the possible deconstruction of nationally protected parks and wildlife areas are at stake.
In an election cycle that mostly ignored climate change and environmental issues, many are left asking, what now? Trump’s position on climate change is not promising. Following years of record droughts, record high temperatures, rising sea levels and low snowpack, our new Commander-in-Chief has called climate change a hoax and has talked about defunding the EPA. He’s also claiming that he will make America energy independent. But his dream for independence is based more on environmentally-devastating fossil fuels than renewable energy.
For any environmentalist or even outdoor enthusiast, Trump’s antiquated mindset on environmental issues is alarming, to say the least. However, even in the wake of his election, there are some things we can do to safeguard the environment and help assure that the progress that has been made is not lost forever. Here are five steps you can take right now to make your voice heard, even if it currently feels lost in the chaos.
Call For Executive Action From the Obama Administration
With a few months left in his presidency, there are still actions that Obama and his administration can take before he leaves office. Many are taking this time to sign petitions and write their elected leaders encouraging them to use all of the executive powers available to safeguard the environment. One of the many growing issues is access to clean drinking water, as we have seen unfold with the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Indian Tribe is calling for President Obama to withhold pipeline permits, helping to assure that they retain access to clean drinking water.
One of the petitions calling for Obama to take action can be found here.
Vote With Your Dollar
One of the most significant ways you can help offset the potential disaster of what’s taking place is by supporting pro-environment companies. You’re voting every time you spend a dollar, and in the United States where the almighty dollar is king, your choices as a consumer grants you power. This might take some digging but everything from the food you eat to the clothes you wear has an impact on the environment, and being an educated consumer is essential in this fight.
Start Educating Yourself Now on Your Local Midterm Elections
While many people are starting rally cries for the 2020 general election, it’s essential to remember the next elections are actually in 2018. We can make a huge difference by helping government officials gain office who are pro-environment in the midterms. Many of us are also complacent in non-election years, but now is the time to start educating yourself about what’s going to take place in 2018. Start campaigning for, and donating to, candidates who’re willing to make environmental issues a priority.
Eat Less Meat and Cheese
This could also fall under step two, but industrial farming is one of the biggest issues facing our environment. Before everyone flies off the handle, as it’s a hot-button issue, it’s important to understand that there’s a huge difference between large scale, industrial farming and a having a few free-roaming cattle on a small scale farm. From my POV, Americans eat far too much meat and dairy: heart disease is the leading killer of us Yanks’ and many types of cancer have been linked to diet. So maybe try not eating meat and cheese two days a week. It’s a small and easy step that will not only be beneficial for the environment, but will probably make you feel better as well.
Donate To Environmental Causes and Organizations
There is no better time to be fiscally involved with agencies and organizations that work diligently to protect our environment. Yes, signing petitions is an important step and can help spread awareness, but many environmental nonprofits struggle to find funding every year (subsequently, the ACLU has received a record $7.2 million in donations since the election). Whether it’s Surfrider or American Rivers or an organization like National Resources Defense Council, which works on climate change initiatives, financially supporting the organizations that are fighting for the preservation of our environment is essential.