I’m Not An Environmentalist. I’m Human.

Ivy Chen
Ivy Chen
Jun 2, 2017 · 3 min read

I can’t say I’m surprised. But, I’m definitely alarmed.

Today, as I was editing some photos from this Memorial weekend on a trial version of Photoshop, a flood of emails swarmed in. They’re all from the environmental advocacy organizations that I’m subscribed to. Within minutes of this pivotal announcement, I’ve already received an array of well-composed emails from advocacy networks such as the SunRise Movement and SustainUs, imploring us citizens to take a moment and hit the “petition” button. It’s crazy how quickly they were able to rebound from a news like this, to not just send out a run-down of what this decision means, but also an invitation for collective action — whether if it means signing up to join a movement or RSVPing to the impromptu rally that will be in front of the White House later tonight.

Though U.S’s compliance with the Paris Agreement is officially dead, organizing isn’t. Thanks to the advent of technology, millennials today are more aware of the issues at stake than any other generations in history. When I went on to Twitter today, I was greeted by an inflow of agitated statements from an array of major figures in tech, most noticeably Elon Musk’s “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world. “ — along with an eclectic collection of the same emotional response from every sector imaginable. To say that I’m surprised at the resilience of these organizers — and the steadfast optimism that still stands despite of all these letdowns — is an understatement. I can’t imagine how it feels like to see years of dedicated grass-root work go down the drain just to see it get strike down by a corporate puppet — whose name I don’t even feel like typing out because it’s now synonymous to a 5-letter world.

But we know that advocacy isn’t easy work. Whenever a nation’s morals at stake, we need a troop of audacious advocates who are unafraid of challenging authority to rise up and remind the government of what democracy is all about.

Us as advocates speak up for climate change not because we’re “environmentalists”, but we’re humans. With that said, if you’re a resident of planet earth, and you’re planning on being one for at least another seven or right decades, then there’s no reason for you not to be a part of this fight to save our planet’s life.

We put in an innumerable hours of organizing work because we shriek at the sight of injustice and lament at the sight of abuse. We need to make an investment in our future NOW. You really don’t want to look back years down the road and regret at the things that we didn’t do today.

Though the U.S. government will no longer be a major player on the international stage surrounding the topic of climate change, I have no doubt that our tech sector will. Perhaps the state of California — the most progressive in the nation — will fill in for the absence of our administration at COP 23. I’m curious at how COP 23 is going to turn out.

Our future is uncertain. Today’s decision is a harsh reminder of why we do what we do.

Now, back to reading articles! Thank you Guardian & NY times for doing such a wonderful job of covering these issues!


These are dire, pivotal times.

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