These are reflections from Brianna Johnson and Courtney Plummer, two young women who work with Global Kids. Here they share their thoughts on Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
Global Kids Alumna; Current Binghamton University Student; Attended COP21 in Paris
Trump’s announcement that the US is pulling out of the Paris agreement is disappointing and frustrating. As youth, we know to fight to get our voices heard. Yet an American system that is supposed to be “for the people, by the people” ultimately disregards millions of U.S citizens. Former President Barack Obama acknowledged that the U.S. is historically be one of the largest carbon polluters. Thus it is disappointing that the U.S. is not holding themselves accountable for their actions.
Mr. Trump claims to have pulled out of the Paris agreement to “protect America and its citizens,” yet he can’t see how the catastrophic effects from climate change are a human rights issue and how his actions influence alliances we have with other nations. However, I continue to believe that change in the world is up to the people. We must be relentless and demand the change that we wish to see.
If I could have a meeting with Trump, I would tell him that–to fulfill his claim of acting in the interests of the people–he needs to first listen to the people. I believe Trump is aware of his following, and he should use that to his advantage to encourage the right kind of change.
I believe that, even admist all the sadness and despair, hope and the desire for beneficial change only strengthen.
Current Global Kids Student; Attended COP22 in Morocco
When Trump was elected, I did not think he would pull out of the Agreement. But now, reading the news, I really want to cry. I feel like going to Morocco and attending COP22 was a waste and that it did not mean anything. I feel like the adults in our country–who can vote–failed our youth. We are the ones who will be most affected by climate change. How many more people have to be displaced and seek refuge in other parts of the world until everyone realizes that climate change is real and that we need to act now? Trump is surrounded by people like Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt who have their own agendas that include nothing about the safety and health for the people in this country.
The world is changing, and I feel like we are going backwards instead of forward. I hope that when the elections come around again we are liberated from this angst and anxiety that seems to currently seep through our nation everyday. I am sad.
Even though it feels discouraging, I think it is still important to mobilize and show that we are not going to back down. It is also important to work on the city and state level.
We, as youth, can either be really upset and discouraged or not give up. What I can do right now at this very moment is continue being a part of Global Kids and continue to fight climate change. This fall, when the Human Rights Activist Project begins, I will continue to speak to New York state and city officials about climate education as well as hearing what New York is already planning to do to combat climate change.
If I could have a meeting with Trump I would tell him that, in the world of politics, youth are often forgotten. We do not have a seat at the table. You can guarantee that the air we breath is not polluted, the water we drink is not contaminated, and our country is safe for my generation and the generations that will come after.