To the IDEAS Movement,
The day Donald Trump was elected president was a dark day for the environmental movement.
Regardless of who you voted for and politics aside, the reality of our decision and the decision of the electoral college is that Mr. Donald. J. Trump – a climate change denier, pro-fracking, pro-pipeline, pro-Arctic oil driller, is now the most powerful person in the world. He has voiced his disdain for the environment and has pledged to commoditize our natural resources, even if it means dissolving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), withdrawing us from the Paris Climate Agreement, and undoing the last eight years of progress under the President Obama – the most environmentally progressive President since Teddy Roosevelt.
Call me crazy, but I don’t share the dooms-day sentiment that permeates most of our fellow environmental and sustainability-based organizations. In fact, I think the opposite. Buckle your seat belt because I think a Trump Presidency could be GOOD for the environmental movement and I have three reasons why.
First, Trump puts an end to the belief that our leaders will solve our problems for us. It is an illusion to think that global problems like deforestation, climate change, and food insecurity will be solved entirely by a top-down governmental approach to those issues. Yes, major enviro-victories like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan of 2015 and the Paris Climate Agreement (now effective for 7 days) are MAJOR steps in the right direction, but it is wrong to think that any Government alone will be the savior of our planet. The great tragedy of the Environmental Movement is that so many people believe that environmental problems are beyond their means to solve as everyday people. IDEAS has worked hard to inspire and educate many in Africa, Asia, and the Americas to believe in themselves and take local action, rather than wait for their leaders to fix their problems for them.
Second, Trump provides the environmental movement with a “Bad Guy”, a super villain of sorts, to rally donations and public support against. This is a much simpler call to action for the public than stopping Bill XYZ, Pipe Line ABC, or Company 123. Trump provides the environmental movement with a clear adversary. He is not on the fence about climate change. Nor will he pledge strong climate action for six months of the year to win votes and then deliver on a lighter, amended plan, swayed by corporate interests. He has been clear in his intentions, even threatening our National Parks with mining, fracking, and logging. If that doesn’t unify our movement in mass, nothing will. Trump lends great clarity to our struggle that many in the public need to make the first step to get involved. Trump bad, environment good.
Third, I believe that Trump will inspire grassroots action at an unprecedented scale. There is nothing else we can do in the face of such a sea change but load up the cannon balls, scrub the poop deck, and set sail in the face of everything he stands for. We have to create global solutions through local action and scale them to every community we can. Top down environmental innovation is going extinct and it is time for real, community action and innovation to take its’ place. We need bottom-up innovation and we need it now!
IDEAS For Us is proud to announce that we will be doing our part to catalyze action. We will be launching an entirely new website, a “Solutions Platform” to build our membership, issue microgrants for action projects, and showcase all of our past solutions.
This ever-evolving online presence will serve as a tool for IDEAS and other like-minded organizations wanting to take action and showcase projects. Our website will be rolling out in three phases, with our first phase (Phase 1) launching in December of 2016.
Recently, we previewed the website and IDEAS flagship solutions, called The Hive, at The Vatican for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Event. Out of 50 attendees from 35 countries, The Hive was honored with a Solutions Award and you can read about my experience meeting Pope Francis in today’s blog.
Stay-tuned to more information and news from IDEAS. There is a lot of work to do over the next four years and we are going to be right there with you to do it!
*Please consider donation to our movement.
By Clayton Louis Ferrara