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This is What Climate Progress Looks Like Without Trump

Local government can do the work to fight climate change when federal government fails us.

This is What Climate Progress Looks Like Without Trump
[Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images]

Yesterday, Trump screwed over the planet and the future–and once again, local leaders took on the fight to stop him.

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Related: We’ve Pulled Out Of The Paris Agreement. What’s Next: A Damaged Economy, Country and Planet


Nearly immediately after Trump told the American people, “I was elected by voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Pedulo responded: Pittsburgh stands with the world and will follow the Paris Agreement.

Governors in New York, California, and Washington have formed the United State Climate Alliance to commit to continue the work to fight climate change and more than 60 mayors across the country committed to adopting the goals and uphold the Paris Agreement.

Trump’s actions have also spurred more people to run for office themselves: On a typical day 10-15 new candidates sign up to run for local office with Run for Something, but over last 48 hours, more than 50 people have signed up to run–joining the nearly 10,000 who’ve signed up to run since Trump’s inauguration.

We’ve seen this pattern every time Trump has does something that goes against many Americans’ beliefs and values: Local leaders try to contain the damage. Everyday people decide they’ve had enough and get in the arena to fight themselves.

These smaller local actions matter. City council members might not be able to negotiate international treaties. But they can push their cities to switch over to solar energy, and can streamline recycling. State legislatures can designate protected lands within the state. Local government can do the work to fight climate change when federal government fails us.

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Electing progressives to these offices matters, and it’s more important than ever to have young people in those positions. We’re the ones who will bear the consequences of this bullshit. Our businesses and livelihoods will be affected by rising energy costs; our wallets will feel the increased costs of flood insurance. We have to get in the room and be a part of making those decisions about our futures.

Yes,Trump’s exit from the agreement doesn’t go into effect until the day after the 2020 presidential election, but I hope that we won’t wait that long to do something about it. I hope you’ll focus on the impact it’ll have on your city council race or state senate election. Make sure you’re supporting candidates who will do whatever they can to protect our planet. If you’re up to it, run yourself.

Amanda Litman is the cofounder and executive director of Run for Something, a PAC that recruits and supports young people running for local office.