summer DC! It was 80 degrees on March 1 (26.7 degrees Celcius for our international readers), following the warmest February on record*. February is usually the month of snowmageddons, snowpocalypses, and Snowtorious B.I.G.s. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people over the past few weeks that included some variation of “Oh my goodness, this weather is AMAZING. I mean, seriously scary, but AMAZING.” Meanwhile, places like Seattle is seeing more snow than Minneapolis.
In short, the weather is bananas and climate change is real. But. BUT. Not everyone believes this!
Did you know that more than one-third of the previous Congress (many of whom were reelected) are straight-up climate change deniers? And the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Also, Scott Pruitt hates the EPA and wants to see it gone. Also thinks that clear air and water protection laws are “overreaching.”
So things are looking up for this planet, right? Right?!
So Now What?
Today’s #FiveMinutes is a Choose-Your-Own Adventure. Pick what feels most right for you:
Hold the Administration Accountable for Adhering to the Paris Agreement. Seven out of 10 Americans think we should stick to what we promised, which is “to cut emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025.” Congress can take actions that would force the Administration’s hand. Given that many states have already been feeling the very real negative impact of climate change (see: California, Florida, Louisiana, and others), this is something the two-thirds of Congress who seem to acknowledge change occurring should be working hard to achieve.
So call your Senators and your Representative. Here’s a script:
“Hi, I’m [name] from [town]. I would like to hear what [Senator NAME/Representative NAME} plans to do to hold the Trump Administration accountable for our promise in the Paris Agreement. Seven out of 10 Americans believe that we should act on our commitment in Paris. [If you live in a state impacted by climate change, this is where you should say something like, Living in STATE, and seeing THESE THINGS HAPPEN makes me particularly concerned about how climate change will continue to damage our LAND/WATER/COMMUNITY/PLANET.] [If you don’t live in such a state, you can include something personal, e.g., As a PARENT/RELATIVE/TEACHER, I want to ensure we are leaving a livable planet for our kids and their kids.]”
Support Organizations Working Hard to Protect the Environment. Good people doing good work. Support their work financially and through their campaigns.
- Sierra Club: the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.
- National Resources Defense Council: founded by law students in the 1970s, the NRDC serves as the attorneys for the environment.
- Trout Unlimited: one of the largest grassroots conservation organizations, focused specifically on North America’s waterways (particularly important right now while Trump signs EOs allowing dumping in streams)
- Grist: a nonprofit news outlet focused on environmental reporting.
Find Your Local Science March. On April 22nd (Earth Day), there will be marches in DC and around the country for science. (Tagline: “we walk out of the lab and into the streets!”) Learn more.
Make Environmental Changes in Your Own Life. Have you been meaning to recycle more? Start composting? Drive less? If there are changes you have been meaning to make to live a greener life, this is the time to start. While this page titled “What You Can Do about Climate Change” still exists on the EPA’s website, check it out for some ideas!
* When the weather started getting hot in early February, my dad called just to say tell me he heard that he heard the temperatures were rising in DC because Trump was blowing so much hot air.