By; Ojaswee Chaudhary
Just days after a woman confronted Scott Pruitt to resign, Scott Pruitt has done just that. It was not a surprise when on Thursday July 5th, former Administrator of the EPA Scott Pruitt finally declared his resignation. The politician sent an appreciative letter to Trump making his conclusion official.
In his letter, Pruitt says the reason for his stepping down were the “unrelenting attacks” made on himself and his family. However, these “attacks” were undeniably due to Pruitt’s own controversial decisions while in office: Pruitt used his political power to snag more-than-expensive hotel rooms (which were owned by coal and mining lobbyists), to buy $43,000 worth of a private phone booth in his office, and, most importantly, to conduct dozens of changes in US environmental policy that reversed the majority of Obama’s actions. (Here is an article that expands on Pruitt’s actions in his years of office.) For the entire year, we have had a climate change skeptic in “the nation’s highest environmental post”, as stated by ABC News. Climate change activists have frankly gotten tired of Pruitt’s policies that in no way protect our environment, and he himself has gotten tired of the warranted backlash.
Pruitt’s actions during his tenure were key in checking items off of Trump’s agenda. This meant that the two ended up becoming quite the team. In the President’s tweets, he applauded Pruitt: “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.” We wish we could say the same about Pruitt, but in no way are we thankful for the masses of polluted waters and the stench of coal mine prosperity in our country. Pruitt gifted the EPA with an umbrella of doubt about climate science and its effect on our planet. The former administrator cheered as Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, pulled apart vital regulations such as dumping toxic coal ash near water, and displayed leniency towards polluters.
As Trump thanks and signs off Pruitt, he goes on to commend Andrew Wheeler, our new Administrator of the EPA: “I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!”. Wheeler has had loads of experience and interaction with environmental policy and industries. In fact, he is a former coal industry lobbyist; he was a voice to help protect the coal industry. This essentially suggests that Pruitt’s role will be taken over by a man almost identical in views. One of the most daunting facts about Wheeler is that he was part of a campaign in which Bears Ears National Monument in Utah was reduced by 85%. Wheeler has also worked closely with many influential climate change skeptics including Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. Together, the two expressed loud opinions on why climate science is a scam. Along with this, Wheeler served as Vice President of the Washington Coal Club, and actively lobbied for uranium mining. Our new EPA Chief will, in fact, be another climate change skeptic, who possibly knows his way around the EPA even better that Pruitt. Read this to find out more about Wheeler.
These new changes to the US administration may pose as another confirmation that our planet is in danger, but you all still have the ability to change this. In four months, you will be able to vote, so please take up the chance to make change! Remember that we are in this fight against global warming to preserve the place, the habitat, and the population that has proven to be home to us for 7 billion years.
By: Shreeya Indap
Long time, no see to the Dandilyonn Community! It’s been a while since we’ve last checked in but we hope all of your summers are going great. We imagine many of you must be taking vacations to beautiful tropical areas such as Hawaii or the Caribbean. But consider this while you’re taking your trip: if we don’t put it any action against climate change now, we probably won’t ever get to visit these places every again. Because as much as we love our oceans and seas, we’re going to have too much of them.
You’ve most likely heard about rising sea levels because of climate change. (If you haven’t, it’s basically because melting ice sheets, along with expanding seawater caused by higher temperatures, will add more water to our oceans. Here’s a similar article we wrote about the causes of stronger storms.) So, what would happen if we continued at our current rate of carbon emissions? Global temperatures would increase around 4°C (7.2°F). And if we managed to adhere to the upper limit set by the Paris Climate Accord, we’d decrease that number to 2°C (3.6°F), although with the way our current administration deals with environmental issues, it doesn’t seem likely that the United States will reach its goals. (See our articles on the Paris Agreement’s premises and why the US pulled out.)
But, what do these numbers really mean in terms of real world impacts? You might think, “So what if the temperature goes from 60° to 64°? I can handle that.” We’d love to write essays on essays about why you’d be wrong but we’re sure many other, more qualified scholars have already done that for us. So this time, instead of telling you what will happen in the future, we’ll show you.
Let’s take the Caribbean as an example, one of the most popular vacation spots in the world. Here’s what will happen to water levels with a 2° and 4° increase in temperatures:
The next time you visit any of these amazing places, remember how easily they can go from at-risk to completely drowned. Do your part in any small way you can think of: reuse and recycle, save water, use environmentally friendly products, spread the word, donate to the cause, and most importantly, remember to vote this coming November! Just the little things you can do to join this fight against climate change.