The Paris Climate Agreement

 

The announcement that the United States is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement is unsettling and distressing, but it cannot be defeating for people who see climate change as real. The World Health Organization recently wrote that “nearly a quarter of all deaths worldwide are linked to environmental issues. That’s 12.6 million deaths every year.” The science on this matter is abundantly clear. The deaths come from the spread of disease, reduction in food supplies and starvation, from floods and droughts and increasingly from the rise of sea level that will consume the shores of countries on every continent.

 

WiRED is a health education organization, working primarily in low-resource regions, and our concerns are for all challenges to human health. We are deeply disappointed that the United States has decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement, but we recognize that we cannot just sigh, throw up our hands and walk away. Every state, city and neighborhood in the country needs to evaluate its practices that impact the changing climate and do what is possible at the local level to reduce carbon output.

 

This decision of the administration puts the burden of responsibility firmly on the shoulders of the rest of us and we should be prepared to accept that challenge. As individuals, we need to stop being passive, waiting for the government to act, and take an active role through our own behaviors that add to the carbon burden. As with many other issues, action today must start from the ranks, from the citizens whose lives will be most affected. At WiRED, we will accelerate our education programs that teach people how to cope with the health consequences of climate change, as we will continue to base our efforts on scientific evidence. Given the stakes, the 12.6 million deaths and climbing, we all need to step in where others have withdrawn.

 

 

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