Recycle This Newspaper

Caleb McDairmant, Design Editor

Pollution, global warming and overpopulation: these are just a few of the most controversial and important issues concerning the environment. But though these issues are controversial, the choices we make every day affect the environment and our futures. So why is it that we are constantly moving one step backwards?


It’s no secret that President Donald Trump believes climate change is a “hoax created by and for the Chinese,” as he tweeted in 2016. Under the current presidential administration, their main agenda is to push back a lot of the previous Obama-era goals to decrease the amount of pollution in the air.


When Trump took office, it was expected that the Clean Power Plan, put into action in 2015 under Barack Obama, would be up first on the chopping block. The Clean Power Plan aimed to “reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced by electrical power generators 30 percent by 2030.” Now, it’s important to note that the plan was never actually put into action, since the Supreme Court blocked it from occurring in 2016. However, 35 states were already adjusting to the plan because of the obvious economic advantages; that is, there’s big money in the natural gas business right now.


Getting back on topic, the government would give each state their own carbon reduction goal, it is up to the state to decide by which method they would use to meet said goals. Methods included switching from burning coal to natural gas (which seemed like a great idea, because like I said, money talks), or increasing renewable energy sources such as solar, windmills, or man-made dams.


Trump said that Obama’s emission standards were “overly protective and burdensome.” Thus, under Trump’s proposed new plan, it will increase leeway given to states to make their own decisions on coal standards within their own states. According to analysts, giving states this power could actually cause an increase in carbon emissions. Which is absolutely not what we want to do.  


In the United States, there are 12 states that account for 40 percent of the countries carbon emissions, and Kansas is one of them. With the Clean Power Plan, these 12 states would have been forced to comply with the goal of reducing their carbon emissions, opening up the possibilities for other, much cleaner methods of generating power.


In the end, however, how we help our environment rest solely on our own shoulders. There is a lot that we can do, just at home, to help make the world a little greener. Take your bike instead of your car, turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and of course, reduce, reuse, recycle.