By: Nabilah Islam
Trump said this recently “’I Don’t think science knows’ when asked about a link between climate change and California wildfires. Trump is forcing Americans to be helplessly subjected to
storms, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, which are intensifying due to climate change.
Under this President, the government is caving in to lobbying from the chemical and fossil fuel industries and pollution reduction recommendations proposed by previous administrations are being gutted at the EPA. The agency’s budget has long been in President Trump’s crosshairs. However, Democrats defeated an effort by Trump to cut its budget by 31 percent.
These regulatory wars are preventing the agency from doing what it was designed to do. Increasing numbers of Americans are at risk, not just cancer, but also fertility issues, congenital disabilities, neurodevelopmental problems, and even death. According to the American Lung Association, some 125 million Americans live in counties across the country where the air quality is deemed unhealthy. Yet, Trump continues to support coal and other “dirty” fossil fuels.
It is our frontline communities that are bearing the brunt of this perfect storm – our working people, our rural communities, as well as black, Native Americans and other people of color. And they are being hit hardest yet again, with 10 million Americans unemployed as a direct result of Trump’s disastrous mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ironically, Trump’s indifference to ordinary citizens and subservience to unaccountable corporations is uniting Americans from all walks of life, classes and backgrounds as likely victims of environmental pollution and climate disaster.
In short, the President has proven himself incapable of responding to the complex, global challenges of our time, challenges which threaten to reverse decades of progress in building a thriving and meaningful American democracy for all its citizens.
But we don’t have to remain a global pariah, doomed to slowly and pathetically collapse into internal wrangling amidst a failing economy. In the coming elections, Americans have a once in a lifetime opportunity to heal the damage done to our communities and return our country to the mantle of global leadership.
More Americans than ever from across political divides are worried for the future, alarmed by environmental degradation, concerned about the prosperity and well-being of their families and children. Yet we know what the answers are.Listen to “Why climate change is on the ballot this year” on Spreaker.
Although my state of Georgia is top 10 in the country for solar power, last year solar only accounted for a meagre 1.91% of our electricity generation – compared to a whopping 66% via polluting coal and gas imported from outside the state. But in the age of COVID-19, the economics of the polluting industries are rapidly becoming self-defeating. So there is no reason we can’t flip those numbers around, making solar energy a leading job creator and driver of sustainable growth.
Here and across the country, hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from cheap, clean locally-produced energy that won’t get us sick. Americans deserve to reap the dividends from a bold national program of twenty-first-century economic revival, based on investing in the third clean industrial revolution, creating millions of sustainable jobs, and building new green infrastructure.
Americans deserve elected officials, like Joe Biden, who instead of sowing suspicion and unrest, will work tirelessly to heal our divided nation, by restoring the legislative basis of the American republic which the Trump administration is set on destroying. Trump’s war on our lungs, and indeed our health must end.
Nabilah Islam is the Founder of The Progressive List and National Organizing Director of Matriarch, organizations that are committed to helping progressive candidates get elected. She is the daughter of working-class immigrants from Bangladesh, Nabilah ran as a Candidate for the United States House of Representatives, Georgia’s 7th District. Prior to running she served as the Finance Director for the Florida Democratic Party and Southern Regional Director at the Democratic National Committee in the 2018 cycle.