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What the Changes in Climate Conditions and Regulations from 2017 Mean for 2018 and Beyond

Last year was a bit of a hurricane. Some would say it felt more like a raging wildfire. Either way, it’s safe to say - when it comes to climate change and the US involvement in pushing the fight forward, we took a few steps back.

In case you missed the highlights, here they are. The following are some of the major takeaways of the United States Government’s actions in regards to climate change during 2017, and the implications these could have for generations to come.

Climate Change Is No Longer a National Threat

There are many external and internal threats to our national security that have come up in current events lately. But, climate change is a global security threat. Without a pushback against the changing patterns of wet and dry seasons and the rise in natural disasters in recent years, the global community is at jeopardy.

Shifts in our environment create problems for rural and highly-populated communities alike. They disrupt the way we generate energy, take military action, transport goods, and even plan upcoming vacations. Such changes are caused by melting ice caps, longer droughts or rains, and the ongoing debate between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.

It is the responsibility of our nation’s leaders to protect us from dangers at home and abroad. This includes recognizing and actively working against climate change. The Trump administration thinks otherwise.

Still, climate change affects us anywhere we go and putting this issue on the backburner puts future generations at risk. Continuous climate change may result in more devastating natural disasters, less access to food supplies and clean energy, and more health risks.  

Fewer Monuments, More Oil

On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, President Trump announced an order that would affect at least 25 national monuments. His aim was to put these “back in the hands of the people” - handing control over to state and local leaders. But, the order reduces the amount of land these national parks protect.

Months later, his administration proposed a sale of 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for drilling oil and gases. Such a jump in nonrenewable energy extraction and consumption can set the world back significantly in the fight against climate change.

The two changes in natural regulations and opportunities are distinct. Yet, each caused an uproar of disapproval and concern when it comes to our use of land as a nation.

Bye-Bye Birdies

After the largest sale of oil and gas exploration ever in November 2017, December brought changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Bird deaths caused by collision with wind turbines or power lines are no longer considered illegal.

This puts over 1,000 bird species at danger. It gives various industries the room to no longer invest in camera systems that regulate turbines when migratory birds are near. It lifts the demand to invest in bird-friendly distributions of power lines and oil safety measures.

It might be difficult to connect the value of a bird to the progression of energy. But, just consider the BP oil spill in 2010 and the way it wiped out hundreds of thousands of birds in the Gulf of Mexico. These are animals that keep our ecosystems in order. Loosening the grip on energy corporations to respect wildlife may result in these and other industries overstepping their newfound freedom.

There are many who oppose the acts mentioned above and others who praise the shifts our administration has taken in regards to climate change. Ultimately, it is too early to measure what these decisions mean for future weather patterns and public health.

However, it is worth mentioning the responsibility of energy companies to act with a sense of social responsibility moving forward.

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