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Last week it was confirmed that Donald Trump won the public Electoral College vote and became the President-elect of the United States. Finally, the American election has come to an end and we can stop talking, hearing and thinking about it, right? As much as I'm sure we'd all love to move on and forget that any of this ever happened, now is the time for the conversation to get even louder.
To recap: Donald Trump has made it very clear that he doesn't believe in climate change, calling it a hoax made up by the Chinese. Since this statement in 2012, and throughout his Presidential campaign, Trump's views on climate change haven't changed. So what does this mean for America, and the rest of the world for that matter?
Since the election, speculation of Trump's proposed Cabinet has begun to make headlines. If this summary of what a Trump presidency means for the environment made you fearful for the fate of Mother Earth, brace yourself, because it isn't looking too good. For starters, Myron Ebell has been selected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. If you don't know who he is, the words 'climate change denier' are probably enough to bring you into the loop.
Remember Sarah Palin? Well, she's back on our radar and now as a prospect for the position of Interior Secretary. This job involves overseeing oil drilling, uranium mining and other energy extraction.
Why should we be concerned about this? To keep things simple, her 2008 campaign slogan was, “Drill, baby, drill”.
Along with them is Newt Gingrich, author of "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" whose opinion on climate change has flip flopped several times over the past 30 years, Chris Christie, who has said, "climate change is not a crisis", and Ben Carson who has called the climate debate "irrelevant".
Many others on Trump's shortlist don't have progressive climate change action in their immediate plans, or even on their radar at all.
Of course, this is all proposed and his cabinet has not been set in stone just yet. We will just have to sit back and wait to see what happens…Or, we can use our voices. For all of the Hamilton: An American Musical fans out there, you know that waiting for it isn't the way to make a difference. The election is over but this is just the beginning. The next four years can be detrimental to the health of our planet, and not to mention the lives of people of colour, women, LGBTQ+ and immigrants. Throughout history, change has been made through the passionate voices of people. Just know that you are not alone in wanting to fight for what is right in the aftermath of this election. One voice can make a difference, especially when it is backed by millions of others. Although we can't change the outcome of the election, we can make our voices heard.
Start with your local community. Find out what action is being taken to fight climate change, have your say and get involved. Speak to local members; attend council meetings and work towards bettering the environment in your own area.
Live as sustainably as you can. We've heard it a million times, but actions really do speak louder than words. Although the impact we make as individuals is much smaller than that of the President's climate action, every bit makes a difference. Protesting and speaking out is important, but make sure your actions are aligned with your words.
Educate yourself on the environment and climate change, as well as the negative impact that Trump's presidency will have. By reading and learning you will be able to form your own opinions and stances, which will better support your arguments when speaking out.
Keep talking. Although people may get fed up and won't want to hear what you have to say, educating others is key. The more you talk, the more people become aware. This is one of those topics that people won't want to hear about anymore, but it can't just fade away and be forgotten. It doesn't matter if you're at the heart of it all in America, or on the other side of the world. This election has impacted all of us. As citizens of the world we have to come together and stand with America to stand up for our planet. Turn your fear into positive action.
To all of the women out there who have felt discouraged by this election: this isn't the downfall of female empowerment. This is just the beginning. The votes haven't been finalised yet, but Hillary Clinton is on her way to winning the popular vote. Although the popular vote doesn't decide the presidency, this is still a huge step for women. We should be proud of how far we have come. As difficult as it is to see the good in all of this, a little bit of progress has been made in this election and that in itself is so exciting. Let's pick ourselves up, shake it all off and keep on going. We've been fighting for a long time and now is not the time to stop. We have a planet to save.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Take the 1 Million Women Carbon Challenge to start combatting climate change today!
Put together a plastic-free toolkit to start reducing the amount of rubbish that you're producing.
Get informed about meal planning to help save money, reduce waste and cut pollution
We're in a climate emergency and it's going to take all of us to get out of it. That's why 1 Million Women is building a global community of women committed to fighting climate change with our daily actions. To join the (free) movement just click the button below!