It turns out that the Trump EPA’s purge of climate data from its website includes a 50-page “A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change,” which once displayed educational videos and taught how to calculate your personal climate footprint. Well, it’s not been removed entirely, but buried deep enough that even a Google search won’t help in finding it.
This was revealed by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which has been watchdogging the changes being made to public science and environmental government sites. After the report came out, @RogueEPAstaff, a Twitter feed being run by activists, posted: “We’ve heard from teachers who can’t access materials they use for their classes.”
But take heart, citizens. All is not going to be lost, for kids and for the rest of us. Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, is setting out to post all the deleted data on his city’s official website to save the “decades of research [the agency] has done to advance the fight against climate change.”
According to the organization EcoWatch: “The new page highlights NOAA records on global warming, basic information on what climate change is, the impact that it will have on things like farming and human health, and what citizens can do to reduce their emissions. It even has a section linking to the president’s Climate Action Plan, which as of right now, doesn’t lead anywhere but a blank page that says ‘stay tuned.'” As Mayor Emanuel put it: “The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change, but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem.”
Amid the ostrich mentality of the federal government, Chicago’s action is part of a growing trend at the local level. This week, lawmakers in Atlanta voted unanimously to be powered completely with clean energy sources by the year 2035, according to the Sierra Club becoming the 27th city to make such a pledge. Portland, Oregon, said it April it would run on 100 percent renewable sources by 2050. In the Midwest, Madison, Wisconsin is so far the largest Midwestern city to follow suit.
Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall said in a statement: “We know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water, and lower our residents’ utility bills. We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”
Then there is that last bastion of democracy in these times: the courts. This week, attorneys general from California, New York, New Mexico and Washington filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking Trump’s executive order to begin selling coal leases on federal lands again without an environmental review.
And a youth lawsuit filed against Trump, his administration and hundreds of fossil fuel corporations is moving forward. It’s a movement called #YouthGov, represented by Our Children’s Trust in a case filed in a Eugene, Oregon, federal court. Attorneys assert that “their rights to life, liberty and property are being violated by runaway climate change.” The judge is letting the case proceed, despite ongoing attempts by the other side to sabotage it.
One thing that must be said for the nascent Trump era: it’s galvanizing individuals in towns and cities across America, fighting back so that future generations might yet inherit a liveable planet.