Unless you have been living under a rock, it is apparent that climate change is a reality. Unfortunately, there are so many issues that impact the Black community that some really important ones are given scant attention. Climate change is one of these issues.
President Donald Trump recently vowed to pull out of the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In November and December of 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC COP21) took place in Paris. The result was an international environmental agreement on climate change, of which there are 195 States Parties, including the UK. The ultimate goal is that of reducing near zero net emissions in the second half of the century, along with supporting a transition to a clean economy and low carbon society.
President Donald Trump, not a fan of the agreement, recently made the announcement that the U.S. will withdraw support from the accord. Some observers opine that Trump was honoring his commitment to coal miners and others regarding his promises to be an advocate for them. Coal is a fossil fuel that can have a deleterious effect on life on this planet. Though it is an effective energy source, its use also contributes to global warming. It is an in dustry that is arguably on its way out because of its deficits, but those who work in coal mining are more interested in keeping their jobs than in trying to protect the planet. This is short sighted, because if they are concerned about their progeny, they should be thinking long-term about future energy possibilities.
Currently, you don’t hear a groundswell among the Black masses about the future of the planet as it relates to climate change. There is more concern about police violence and skin tone issues, Black-on-Black crime, poverty and more. And though these issues are of extreme importance, they won’t mean anything at all if the planet is no longer livable. Climate change stands to destroy the lives of a major portion of humanity if we continue on the current path.
There is a chorus of climate change deniers behind Donald Trump, and this may be why he is so willing to pull out of the Paris agreement. Climate change deniers tend to say that the Earth is just going through a cycle that has repeated multiple times or that climate change is not the result of human activity. On the extreme fringes, some say that climate is not changing at all in spite of evidence to the contrary like rising sea levels, increasingly violent storms, the calving of glaciers and an overall rise in average global temperatures.
As we all know, life in the United States has not been an easy road for African Americans. The racial vitriol is ingrained so deeply that many are convinced that Trump was anxious to pull out of the Paris agreement because of the need to overturn as much as possible those initiatives supported by former president Barack Obama. It is no wonder therefore, that African Americans would find it difficult to ignore the pain of racist America and to focus on other, seemingly more immediate issues. This is a mistake, however. Just because racist bigots don’t realize the fact that we are all on this planet together, doesn’t mean that we should ignore the obvious. People tend to go in the direction in which focus is given; if Black people focus on arguably lesser issues, the really big ones can take control. Let’s face it; the world is filled with racist bigots, but it is also populated by those people who are not of this persuasion. In this regard, Black people should land squarely on the side of those who demand that we help save the planet with cost-effective, eco-friendly strategies. Serious advocacy is needed in this arena, because history has shown that profits mean more than energy innovation to those at the top of the economic chain. The great scientist Nikola Tesla found this out when he developed a way to make clean energy available free of charge to everyone on the planet. His backer, when discovering this, pulled his support from the project (Wardenclyffe Tower), and the rest is history. With this said, all Black people have a stake in what happens to our global home, and should, therefore, vow to do something about it. A luta continua.