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So Listen: Republicans need to care about the environment again

The United Nations Climate Action Summit, held for the purpose of meeting the urgent need to address climate change and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, took place recently in New York City.

In President Donald Trump’s more than 30-minute speech, his message was clear: any issue with climate change was the fault of other countries. But he focused more on other issues such as trade, illegal immigration and socialism. Trump made it very clear that while the summit’s focus was climate change, that was not what he was concerned with. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he believes in “human-caused climate change,” but he doesn’t think that any of the proposed solutions would work without hurting businesses and the economy. 

There was a time not that long ago when Republicans were more concerned with the environment. Then-President Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 under his Republican administration. Then-President Ronald Reagan said, “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge; it's common sense,” in his State of the Union address in 1984. Then-President George W. Bush said it is citizens’ responsibilities to be good stewards of the earth.

In the current political situation that is highly concentrated on climate change and sustainability, it’s time for Republicans to start caring about the environment again. The Trump administration has eliminated 85 environmental protection laws, most of those laws concerning air pollution and drilling and extraction. The Trump administration is mostly interested in the negative affects those environmental protection laws have on the fossil fuel industry and other large businesses.

Similarly, McConnell does not want to pass any environmental protection legislation because of the negative effect it would have on businesses and the economy. 

Republicans must start asking themselves what they value more: the success of businesses or the success of the planet. Businesses and industry won’t be able to thrive on a planet that isn’t livable. Environmental issues must become a bipartisan issue. It is going to take all humans working together to help the state of our planet. Action should be taken sooner rather than later; if we want to keep living on this planet healthily for hundreds more years, it is time for Democrats and Republicans both to be proactive. 

Mikayla Rochelle is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.

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