On Thursday, President Trump delivered a stunning blow to the fight against climate change by announcing he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. The deal, signed by every country except Syria and Nicaragua, was designed to commit the global community to fighting Earth's rising temperatures by reducing carbon emissions.
And even though the president doesn't think the accord is good for the U.S., most voters disagree with him: A 2016 national poll by the Yale Program on Climate Communication found that 69% of registered voters supported U.S. participation in the deal. Only 13% said the country should not be involved.
As of now, the United States is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. committed to reduce carbon emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025. However, these terms were not set in stone. Countries under the treaty could change their goals and wouldn't be punished if they missed their targets.
Trump said that even though the U.S. is leaving the agreement, he's willing to open negotiations to possibly re-enter. But in a joint statement, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this is not possible.
If, unlike President Trump, you don't believe global warming is a "hoax," you can still support the Paris climate accord and join the fight against climate change. Below, we list what you can do, starting today.
Contact your representatives at all levels
More than 180 mayors from cities across the U.S. and from both sides of the aisle have committed to uphold the goals in the Paris climate deal. And at least 10 governors have said their states will also continue to support the agreement. In Congress, Democrats and several Republicans condemned Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord.
So, it's time to pick up the phone and call your elected officials to let them know that the president's choice doesn't mean we can't do anything to fight climate change.
Urge your local representatives to establish climate goals for your city and make legislative efforts to meet said targets. And when you call your state legislators and governor's offices, tell them to push forward legislation that can make it easier to develop a clean energy economy in order to help the environment and create jobs. The same goes for members of Congress, who you can also tell to enact legislation to curb and regulate carbon emissions.
Learn which businesses agreed/disagreed with the deal
Several large U.S. companies condemned Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal and said they were going to continue their environmental efforts. Research these companies and the steps they are taking to help the environment, and decide whether or not you want to give them your business.
The reverse also works: If an organization urged the president to leave the accord, consider not supporting them. Make a statement with your wallet.
Volunteer or donate to environmental organizations
And if you're interested in doing more than donating and are able to do so, you can always volunteer with these organizations or look for one-off opportunities. The website VolunteerMatch.org is a good place to check out if you don't know where to start.
Speak up on social media and IRL
If you're passionate about the environment, this is the time to speak up. Share accurate, credible information about climate change and the Paris agreement. (Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid sharing fake news.) If your friends and family have questions, try to answer them.
Climate change is an issue that affects every single of one of us — no matter your gender, race, nationality, socioeconomic class, or education level. However, certain groups like women and people of color are more likely to be deeply impacted by the effects of climate change. The best we can do is educate others so we can work together to fight it.
This story was originally published on June 2, 2017.