By Sally Stovall
When 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement in December of 2015, it was an unprecedented expression of global solidarity on climate change.
The Administration's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement is a serious blow to that international accord. This is the first time in my memory that the U.S. has become almost universally viewed as a rogue nation.
The good news, however, is that U.S. cities, businesses, organizations, congregations, families and individuals are joining a committed chorus to continue a forward movement on reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by building a resilient, clean-energy economy.
At least 100U.S. businessesare part of a coalition that is pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/climate/american-cities-climate-standards.html
275 U.S. mayors representing 61 million Americans have signed on to “adopt, honor and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement,” and Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu Taleb, may well be one of the next as the topic is tentatively planned to be on the village board agenda on June 19. http://www.climate-mayors.org
States, including Illinois are moving forward with legislation that supports the development of clean energy technologies, including wind and solar. http://www.futureenergyjobsact.com/
Communities, including Oak Park and River Forest continue to move ahead on sustainability goals, including the addition of Divvy Bikes, 300 new native gardens, school gardens, the formation of a River Forest Sustainability Commission, and major water conservation and renewable energy projects spearheaded by the Park District of Oak Park. https://sevengenerationsahead.org/images/work/planit-green/PlanItGreen2016Report_Card_FINAL.pdf
I hesitate to say it out loud, but even Congress is getting in on the act: Last month, the House had already passed a bill to repeal the methane rule and the Senate was expected to follow suit. However, three senators cast deciding votes that prevented the repeal measure from moving forward. https://citizensclimatelobby.org/paris-pullout-time-gop-senators-climate-change-champs/
Effectively addressing climate change will still be the challenge of our lifetimes, but we see encouraging signs that the needed spark to light the fire of change has been lit. We can keep it going by coming together and supporting/energizing one another.