No to Trumping the Environment 

“Civilisations are born, they mature and they die,” Spengler and Toynbee in seeking to describe human civilisations, speak of them as living things. Yet, with the advancement of civilisations, comes economic development, and a strain on the climate. The challenge with this amount of human activity is balancing the two, that is, economic development and environmental protection. 

In October, Rwanda was among 200 countries that signed the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to cut down on the emission of hydrofluocarbons (HFCs) that are used in refrigerators and air conditioners and are the fasted-growing climate pollutants. Unlike the Paris Agreement, the Kigali Amendment is legally binding, which is a great milestone toward reversing the effects of climate change.

Then commences the US presidential campaigns and the election of President elect, Donald J. Trump into office. If there was only one rant I would spew out today, it would be absolutely targeted toward his narrow view of climate change. When Trump is skeptical about climate change by stating that the need for clean energy sources and climate change are a “total and very expensive hoax”, it positions him as a significant denier of climate change effects across the globe. His attempted bludgeoning of the climate change agenda simply cannot refute mainstream scientific claims and reduce them to “hot and cold weather.”

By denying climate change and calling it a hoax is a deduction of a complex environmental matter involving the survival of this planet into a simplistic solution. This attempts to erode the efforts of years and even decades of negotiations that have taken place to this date to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Statements like, ‘The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese, in order to make U.S manufacturing non-competitive” leave a lot of question marks. And when he tells people such as the Scottish who power 98% of their households with wind energy to “be focused on clean and beautiful air”, it becomes baffling. The implication is that they are unfocused in their green solution to solving a community and global problem affecting the planet.

They are severely addicted to burning fossil fuels and, are among the 41 countries that emit 84% of the world’s carbon emissions from energy alone.

We are stewards of this earth and its planetary rings, hence the resources that are available in the natural realm of the environment must be protected. This is for the good of the human race and its counterparts —plants and animals— if their habitats are to survive. This means that reducing the earth’s temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius from its current scale is vital. It is a necessary step toward reversing the effects of climate change—think extreme temperatures, flash floods, heatwaves, frequent forest fires, pollution, Ozone layer depletion, melting ice poles, fiercer hurricanes—all resulting from dumping billions of carbon emissions into the air.  

Clean energy sources such as solar and wind are readily available. Investments are worthwhile when they are made toward supplying the electrification needs of people across the globe to power their households. Moreover, what would be great is if for once, major polluting countries like the U.S, China, Russia and India, among others, would take responsibility for the damage done to the environment. They are severely addicted to burning fossil fuels and, are among the 41 countries that emit 84% of the world’s carbon emissions from energy alone. And because of this, heavily taxing their industries would greatly minimise the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This obvious evidence cannot be denied, and doing so is too simplistic that words cannot describe. 

So when clean energy is likened to “an environmental and aesthetic disaster” because wind turbines have taken the lives of flying bald eagles too soon, then we must begin to lament for science. The science community cannot afford to recede in zeal as funding toward clean energy approaches is cut back, while 40 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases annually gets dumped into the atmosphere. There is hope for more palatable solutions to the climate change challenge and silence is not one of them. We are the generation that must be the first and last to reverse the effects of climate change. 

Global civilisations will inevitably continue to evolve. We Rwandans, Africans and environment enthusiasts should continue to advance with the protection of the planet. It is our planet and all people, irrespective of whether they are children, students, workers of the public and private sector and owners of small, medium or large businesses, to live in it. It is everyone’s responsibility, Trump included to protect the planet. Otherwise, there will be no bald eagles left to fly around—and this will not be because the wind turbines have finished them, rather it will be due to a failure to reverse the effects of climate change hence the implacable death of the bald eagles.

Photo Credit by Davis McNew/Getty Images

@GloriaIribagiza

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