How to Defy the Trump Administration and Support the Circular Economy at the Same Time
Step aside Mr. Trump, real leaders tackling real issues are emerging out of this crisis — By Amelia Johannsen.
Hard times are inevitable. On a personal level or as a community there are changes that come along and knock us right out of our comfort zone. After the initial shock, we often come to realise that these changes happen for a reason. Perhaps there are important lessons to be learned and further transformations that need to be made. In essence, hard times push us as individuals and as entire communities to take action and hopefully, to move forward in a better way.
Closing our eyes to the multitude of problems during the next four years is not going to make the nightmare go away.
Let’s look at a very real and current example: President Donald Trump. During his first few weeks in office he has burned quite a few bridges — undoing progressive policies on climate and healthcare, cutting off official communications for US scientists and government agencies, erasing all signs of climate change from the white house website, pushing forward with the North Dakota Oil Pipeline, restricting immigration access from hand-selected majority Muslim countries, and much more.
This is not time to panic. Closing our eyes to the multitude of problems during the next four years is not going to make the nightmare go away. As a society we’re taking major steps backwards and it’s natural to feel frustrated and helpless. But after the initial shock has settled, it’s time to take action.
Fixing our environmental/societal problems and creating a Circular Economy is the responsibility of three equal entities:
- Government officials need to participate in international debate, create awareness, push forth new policies and implement subsidies in order to generate action. Our governments set goals, restrictions and higher standards for local jurisdictions and private industry.
- Industry is always pushing the limits of technological advancement and evolving methodologies. Recent reports even show that leadership in sustainability efforts not only create a competitive advantage and brand loyalty, but also keep organisations at the forefront of innovation (and ahead of their competition).
- Individuals also have a big part to play in the equation. Besides the everyday tasks we do to make the world a better place (reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, share, buy responsibly, etc.) we can also have a big impact on our governments and industry.
When one or more of these entities fail, it’s up the others to jump in and play the role of checks and balances.
The shock has worn off now — it’s time to take action
Let’s take a quick look at some specific examples of how government, industry and individuals are binding together to counteract the Trump administration:
California and the Sanctuary Cities
Jerry Brown is the Governor of California, by far the largest population and economy in the United States. He started speaking out against Donald Trump’s environmental and social policies even before the new President was sworn in. “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight,” Brown said, while reminding everyone, “We’ve got more sun than you’ve got oil.” Governor Brown has promised to make the state an outpost of resistance on everything from the environment to woman’s rights and immigration. Leaders in more liberal cities are stepping up to join the resistance.
And not only politicians in US cities are taking action.
When the Netherlands heard of Trump’s plans to cut all funding for international aid groups providing information about abortion, otherwise known as the “global gag rule,” Dutch leaders responded by setting up an international fund for woman’s reproductive health. Leaders from around the world have pledged their support for the fund.
The National Parks Service Communications Department
Shortly after taking office, President Trump took it upon himself to delete all mentions of climate change from the official White House website as well as forbid US institutions including the National Parks Service, NASA, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency from communicating with the public through Twitter. In response to this gag order anonymous employees from these departments set up rogue accounts to continue sharing facts and information about global warming and other matters of public interest. In the face of climate change denial from the administration, it’s up to the rest of us to continue sharing facts and figures.
In a strange turn of events, the US corporations that Trump vowed to protect are distancing themselves from the new president. Big companies in the Tech Industry have released statements against the executive order to ban immigrants from seven countries; including Apple, Google, Amazon Microsoft, Facebook — more than 100 companies participated in a “rare coordinated legal action.”
More US companies — big and small — who are upset about the recent change in federal climate change policies are banding together to figure out how businesses will continue to build the circular economy without the help of the federal government. All kinds of companies including major airlines, banks, energy, tech, pharmaceutical and retail are calling on Trump to support the Paris Climate Agreement.
Women, Scientists, Immigrants, Native Americans and citizens of every background marching together
In defiance of Donald Trumps comments and policy changes on immigration, the Dakota Access Pipelines, human rights, woman’s rights and the environment, people are coming together to peacefully protest.
The Women’s March on January 21, 2017 was one of the largest in history, bringing together over 5 million people worldwide to make their voices heard. After the march, there are now more than 3,000 events called “huddles” to continue the discussion and plan the next actions.
After the very unpopular and controversial travel ban (also known as the Muslim ban) thousands of protesters gathered in airports across the US to show America’s openness to refugees and immigrants.
Native Americans and environmentalists have been protesting for months, even in violent and freezing conditions, to deny access for the problematic crude oil pipeline as well as the long history of broken promises and injustices made by the US government against the Native American people. Things are only getting worse under the Trump administration, “We are less than two weeks into this administration, and already Trump has put on full display a blatant disregard for Indigenous sovereignty, public health, and public outcry,” a spokesperson from Greenpeace said. “This decision to smash through the (environmental impact statement) process is nothing but a reward to Trump’s corporate, oil industry cronies.”
Now, scientists are planning a march on Washington on April 22, 2017, known internationally as Earth Day. In fact, there are so many protests and events planned that people are setting up Trump protest calendars.
What can you do?
The examples provided above are just from the major news headlines. Each and every one of them has an impact and contributes to a common movement. So can you. We can all make a difference. If you’re worried about your community and the environment then now is a good time to step up and start participating in the circular economy. By supporting responsible businesses you’re sending a clear message to our leaders about what we as a society expect from Corporate America and our political representatives.
I can think of no greater outcome to the present debacle than hundreds of thousands of individuals working together to be the change they want to see in the world.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Buy recycled, local and sustainable products. Even more important, buy only what you need.
- Share and support collaborative consumption (Things like; BlaBlaCar, Fairmondo, Peerby, Etsy, Transferwise, etc.)
- Help your friends and neighbours — pay it forward.
- Start or join a community garden — they’re making an impact!
- Contact your local representatives and tell them about the issues that are important to you.
- Organise or participate in a peaceful protest.
- Share news, articles and information with style, grace, laughter and non-violence.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign for a circular economy business model.
- (Please feel free to share more ideas in the comments section below.)
It’s times like these when my mother’s words ring in my ears; “kill them with kindness” and “take the high road.” I can think of no greater outcome to the present debacle than hundreds of thousands of individuals working together to be the change they want to see in the world. Step aside Mr. Trump, real leaders tackling real issues are emerging out of this crisis.
This guest post is by Amelia Johannsen. Amelia Johannsen is a digital communications professional working on a variety of projects internationally. She is passionate about sustainable living and protecting the environment. As a freelance writer, she contributes to projects such as The Green Exchange, InnovationMangement.se and Handmade Barcelona.