Ignorance is bliss: climate change dismissed

Trump skips G-7 discussion concerning environment


by Elena Hamlin, Video Editor

While more than 90,000  fires burn through the Amazon rainforest, President Donald Trump decided against attending the G-7 Summit discussion on climate change. Although his team attended, the United States President’s chair sat empty among the six other world leaders: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy and Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance. Trump and his team gave several answers to the press in response to his absence, none of which line up. While several aides to the president said he had other pressing matters to attend to, Trump himself told a reporter that he would attend the meeting later. The reporter attempted to inform him that the meeting was not, in fact “later,” but by then Trump had walked off. In any case, the president effectively decided for the whole nation that discussing methods to prevent climate change was not worth our time. 

It’s hard to decipher which White House lie holds the most truth in this instance, but it’s difficult to imagine that any pressing matter that the president could attend falls higher in priority than the world’s lungs dying. The fires have already taken the homes of about one million indigenous people and over 7,000 square miles of trees, and Trump has made zero effort to engage in discussions to end this. The president has turned a blind eye to climate change and environmental efforts by the public since taking office, and it’s shocking how he can continuously be in denial when the smoke is visible from space. Even with Trump’s team in attendance, it’s insulting to citizens who are concerned with climate change that their leader couldn’t manage to attend the discussion.

The clock for preventing climate change is running out. Scientists previously calculated that humanity had 12 years before the point of no return, or when humanity could no longer restore the Earth to a sustainable condition. This time is now set at 18 months. If the world doesn’t make an effort to cut emissions and transfer to a renewable energy source, the results could be catastrophic: droughts, fires, extreme storms and heat waves unlike any others. Change is necessary and takes tremendous effort, but the president has proven that he’s unwilling to make that effort, or any for that matter. Several other countries have made moves towards reducing greenhouse gases and switching to less environmentally cruel energy sourcessuch as Mexico’s goal to eliminate nation-wide deforestation by 2030 or China’s $83 billion investment in renewable energybut if Trump can’t even sit through a meeting, the United States can label itself responsible for the end of humanity. 

Trump’s absence poses dismissal to environmental efforts, but also to U.S. politics. The president is the prime representative of the people of the United States. Citizens put a president in power because they trust them to make decisions in their best interest and Trump disregarded these presidential responsibilities when deciding that the G-7 climate change discussion wasn’t worth his time. People of the United States rapidly embrace climate activism to save our planet, represented by the formation of the Green Party and their political effort to save the planet, but this isn’t illustrated in the president’s decisions. In skipping that meeting, Trump disregarded all of the citizens that he represents. If the president were to issue some declaration of his stance on climate change instead of simply skipping discussionsor telling the truth about the reason for his absencethen his leadership of the nation as a whole would be more respectable, but his original disregard was a blow to the respect of the government for many citizens. Of course, there are some people in the United States that don’t feel misrepresented by this actwith 13 percent reportedly not convinced climate change is realbut in order to represent the portion of the nation that prioritizes the wellbeing of the planet, attendance of the meeting was key.