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Post by Jessica Hellmann, Director, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota & Active Collaborator, ND-GAIN

In the US, science and sustainability has had a rough year. We've seen alt-facts, skinny budgets, climate denying administrators, and now withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. As I said on Twitter yesterday and today, the most mind-boggling part of yesterday's announcement is the absence of true upsides, regardless of one's political persuasion. We live in a time of political theatre with humanity and truth in the balance.

So what are we supposed to do?

It might be cliche to say "keep soldiering on," but I do think that's what we need to do.

I was recently traveling with UMN President Eric Kaler who, in remarks to leadership at the University of Iceland, spoke of fear and mistrust of truth and expertise in the US. He talked about climate change and other grand challenges as a major duty and responsibility of our time, challenges that require new knowledge and talented leaders. And he talked about international collaboration as a key way to move the globe--not just our country--forward.

By Jacob Miller, ND-GAIN Intern

On Thursday, June 1st of 2017, President Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord that included 195 countries. This agreement was a global effort to battle climate change and keep the global surface temperature from rising above 1.5°C. Participation was largely voluntary. The United States’ exodus from this deal will make resolving the problem of climate change much more difficult, but not impossible. The U.S. may yet be able to positively change its impact on the environment through the determination of local leaders, the participation of private business, and the increasing role of adaptation.

 

A Big Problem

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