“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Are you one of those people crying partisan crocodile tears because President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Instead of waiting for the politicos to take action, isn’t it time black friends of the earth take matters into their own hands?
Whether you are a believer or not, the climate is changing, and black communities are on the front lines. From the New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward to the Rockaways in New York City and San Francisco’s East Bay, African-Americans are bearing climate impacts. Blacks contribute much less to the problem than others — in fact, our households emit 20 percent less greenhouse gases than do whites
Maintaining Earth as a viable environment for human civilization is a task that calls all of us to action. Each of us has to do our part. In the era of Trump, find common ground with other people of your ideological perspective to address global warming.
The Paris Agreement is within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in year 2020. Language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference in Paris and adopted on Dec. 12, 2015. As of June 2017, 195 members have signed the agreement, 148 have ratified it.
In the Paris Agreement, each country determines its own contribution to mitigate global warming. In June 2017, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement and seek a new deal. But, in a joint statement, France, Germany and Italy rejected Trump’s call to reopen climate talks.
According to a National Economic Research Associates study, the agreement imposed a goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent over a decade. The deal could have resulted in 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025.
You can’t stand on the sidelines and hope your political team wins the debate. The 80 percent reduction in U.S. emissions that will be needed to lead international actions to curb climate change won’t come cheaply. If present trends continue, the total cost of global warming will be as high as 3.6 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP).
Global damage from hurricanes, real estate losses, and energy and water costs will come with a price tag of almost $1.9 trillion annually by 2100.
Global warming is happening and there’s a distinct human fingerprint on climate change. The world needs human actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term climate change.
Climate change mitigation involves reductions in human emissions of greenhouse gases, which can be achieved by increasing cleaner air through reforestation. Mitigation policies can substantially reduce the risks associated with human-induced global warming. In 2010, parties to the UNFCCC agreed future global warming should be limited to below 2.0° C (3.6° F).
What steps are you personally taking to save the earth? At the moment, humans are currently emitting 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere yearly. The main driver of global warming is rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning.
To save the earth:
- Pay attention to how you use water and fix leaky toilets. Wash clothes in cold water.
- Leave cars at home, or combine errands in one trip.
- Walk or ride your bike everywhere you can. If you can’t walk or bike, use mass transit or carpool.
- Help reduce pollution just by recycling that puts that soda can in a different bin.
- Reduce amount of solid waste you produce to take up less landfill space.
- Compost and make natural fertilizer.
- Donate. Take stuff the family no longer uses to a Goodwill or Salvation Army.
- Recycle. Locate a trash service that offers glass, plastic and/or aluminum recycling. Curb paper products use that place serious burden on landfills.
- Grow a garden.
- Commit to self-improvement.
The challenge lies in doing the little things on a consistent basis and actually changing the world — one little step at a time.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.