UC Davis sets example for environmental progress

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Trump Administration casts dark cloud over environmental policy

On Dec. 16, 2016, UC Davis was ranked the most sustainable university in the world by the University of Indonesia’s GreenMetric ranking. This ranking takes into account a total of 516 universities and the ways that they approach and address infrastructure, water usage, transportation, education and climate and energy impact.

The environmental progress made by this university should serve as an excellent example to campuses around the nation, especially in the wake of the recent report that the world experienced its hottest year on record for the third year in a row.

But recent actions taken by the Trump Administration put ideals of an environmentally-secure world in peril. Barely a week into Donald Trump’s presidency, his administration has already ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to freeze its grants and contracts, has removed most mentions of climate change from the White House website and has demanded that multiple government agencies — including the EPA — cease external communications. The administration even temporarily shut down the National Park Service’s Twitter account after it retweeted in response to the park service’s tweets

The environment is, without a doubt, the most important long-term issue of our time — but immediate action is required. Those who deny that fail to see the consequences that we are even now beginning to face. As a massive contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. must take a strong stance against climate change. Up until Jan. 20, this was a priority of the federal government. Now, it is in serious danger of falling by the wayside.

Donald Trump is a president who has called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese, has said he will back out of the 2015 Paris climate agreements, has adopted environmentally-dubious policy stances and has appointed cabinet members who have climate-skeptic views or who are strongly tied to the oil industry.

With objective facts more important than ever, the Editorial Board applauds those who defy the new norm and publish information regarding scientific accuracies. There is no room for “alternative facts” in a rational society — only in an Orwellian nightmare.

The environmental direction that this administration seems to be taking could have monumental implications for the future of our planet. We have the responsibility to fight complacency and acquiescence by continuing to highlight the importance of this issue.

A small group of UC Davis students has already staged a walkout to protest the recent climate change-denying stance adopted by the new president. This is a step in the right direction, but we must do more.

The world depends on it.