Every week, Playboy, with journalist Lilly Dancyger and Creatives for Progressive Action—a national community of artists, filmmakers, writers and activists using their influence and voices to pursue meaningful and measurable progressive action—will deliver a timely overview of global and domestic political events, controversial policy changes, elections, campaigns and government happenings that deserve our attention and citizen action. From bite-size activism to in-person engagement, our goal is activate the marginalized, make our voices heard and ultimately win the fight for social justice for all. From protecting free speech and freedom of identity to safeguarding freedom of (and from) religion and a free press, both here at home and around the world, we will promote the ideas and values that support equal representation for all under the law. Now get out there and make a difference.
THIS WEEK: Turn Action on Climate Change Into a Civic Duty—Not a National Policy
Last week, in his seemingly unrelenting campaign to do as much damage as possible to the planet and the global reputation of the United States, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, the 2015 international contract between 148 parties to begin climate change initiatives by 2020. With Trump’s short-sighted move, the U.S. became only the third country to reject the agreement, joining Syria and Nicaragua—and the laughing stock of the international community.
Within hours of that announcement, 68 U.S. mayors vowed to honor the agreement with or without Federal support. That number has since jumped to 246. Called “Climate Mayors,” these local leaders are pledging to “adopt, honor and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”
Leaders of 12 states and Puerto Rico have also formed the U.S. Climate Alliance to work toward reducing carbon emissions and increasing climate responsibility on the state level. Hundreds of presidents of colleges and universities, as well as corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook, have also pledged to do their part. Former New York City mayor and media magnate Michael Bloomberg even donated $15 million of his own money to the United Nations to make up for funding lost after Trump’s pull-out.
While Trump’s decision is undeniably heartbreaking and embarrassing, there is a silver lining: his flouting of climate responsibility has inspired those who care about the issue most to act. As the Trump era continues to unfold, one lesson we’re learning again and again is that it’s no longer an option to merely observe. Personal responsibility and action are required to preserve the values we hold dearest.
On that note, here are a few things you can do to begin a more localized approach to climate-change action and to show the world that Americans are committed to the tenets of the Paris climate accord, even if our president is not.
TURN YOUR CITY GREEN
“Climate Mayors” are those who have pledged to govern their cities in accordance with the Paris Agreement. This list is keeping a tally of the mayors who have signed on thus far. Check it for your mayor’s name. If they haven’t signed the letter yet, call their office and ask them to do so.
In addition to signing the letter, urge your mayor to back it up with an executive order, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has done.
GET YOUR STATE INCLUDED IN THE U.S. CLIMATE ALLIANCE
Your governor determines whether your state is part of U.S. Climate Alliance, a “a bipartisan group of states in the United States that are committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Agreement.” If yours has yet to do so, call his or her office and urge them to do so.
Add your name to this petition in support of the U.S. Climate Alliance.
GO GREEN AT HOME
It’s time to start making small changes in your personal life. While personal use accounts for just a small portion of carbon emissions worldwide, every bit counts at this point. Turn off the lights in rooms you’re not currently using, regulate your air conditioning (make it bearable—not cold), use reusable water bottles, take public transit whene possible, buy used clothing instead of new and donate or sell your old clothes instead of tossing them. Basically everything you learned from Sesame Street.
Have an issue you’re particularly passionate about? Maybe it’s anti-racism, or LGBT rights, or the environment, or women’s issues? Email Kristen Murtha, firstname.lastname@example.org, to get involved in this organization and to have it featured in this series.