Photo: Vladimir Chuchadeev / Unsplash
The United States population hovers around 320 million people. We represent less than 5 percent of the world’s population – 7.4 billion people — yet, use roughly 25 percent of the world’s resources. We eat the most meat and fish, drive the most cars per capita and create the most greenhouse gases and solid waste. By and large, we are the biggest driver of climate change and environmental degradation.
The current head of the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt – previously sued the EPA over environmental regulations on oil and gas. The administration’s goal is to essentially get rid of the EPA, and pretty much any and all environmental regulations.
This is willful and targeted ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLIGENCE.
The administration threatens to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and ignore the threat of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, climate scientists agree that failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 will hasten the already rapidly melting polar ice caps and Greenland ice sheet, exacerbate sea-level rise and may very well risk future food and environmental security for our children and any generations beyond that.
Famine and drought already are common in the poorest regions of the world, occurring more frequently and with increased intensity. Our administration worries about war refugees; but, if they do nothing about the environment, there will be many more climate refugees.
Not only that, but every year, world population grows, and more people want to eat meat. Meat and dairy cows produce more greenhouse gas than the entire world’s transportation sector. Unfortunately, however, since people are resistant to changing their dietary habits, we need to regulate the other sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This is imperative.
Ignoring and hastening environmental problems risks the safety and security of our children into the future. We cannot wait four more years (or more) to protect the environment.
Protecting water, habitat and biological diversity are our greatest assets in preventing the worst effects of climate change. Dismissing these and allowing environmental and habitat degradation to occur with abandon, and reducing biological diversity, will reduce our resilience.
We must resist, we must demand that our senators and our representatives uphold the basic tenets of the Environmental Protection Agency – namely, to protect the environment and the future. Anything less is loading the gun, it’s only a matter of time before the trigger is pulled.
Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD is a sought-out expert, providing easily understood information to public audiences on the role that our dietary choices play in sustainability, climate change and personal health. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Planet Experts.