Opinion: Trump on a stump — How a more environmentally-friendly Trump should be our aspiration

The free market is an amazing thing. The limited restrictions on the transfer of resources and money allows our economy to grow and prosper, making America an economic powerhouse. As many of us know, Trump is well known for being a businessman who has amassed billions through his many business ventures. So when the Trump Administration made several statements to deregulate the EPA — or reform it to serve the benefit of fossil fuel industries — it should strike fear into free-market lovers and environmentalists alike.

For one, environmental protection should be preserved under this new administration. The successes of Democrats and Republicans alike to defend the environment and secure a stable future for our children have been tremendous, but they face a multilateral threat under Trump. For example, Trump’s change of administration in the EPA may allow state lands to be purchased by private groups. The privatization of public lands would restrict the abilities of hunters, loggers, and citizens who wish to appreciate the bounty that these lands provide, both aesthetically and environmentally, and could allow private landowners to mine for fossil fuels or collect timber in sensitive or valuable ecosystems. Another example would be the repeal of regulations, in the EPA or potentially other federal agencies that protect the environment and ourselves from pollution or long-lasting damage, and begin construction of new fossil fuel plants or pipelines that may harm our environment. The potential for irreversible damage is nigh, and the hard work of environmentalists should remain respected and taken into account by Trump if he wishes to see America thrive. America is composed of beautiful forests, deserts, prairies, and other lands set aside for human enjoyment and preservation of sensitive ecosystems. In other words, “Make America Green Again” should be a rallying cry for him if he wishes to avoid friction with enraged environmentalists.

Furthermore, appealing to green energy and green businesses could aid Trump politically and could help America remain steadfast in committing to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which both highlight issues related to climate and environment. These agreements set the standards for many countries’ CO2 emissions and pollution and ensure that the earth’s climate remains unaffected by human influence. If Donald Trump wishes to make an example of his capabilities as a leader to others around the world, he’ll look to uphold these agreements with faith and respect. As for business, Trump supporting green business could create a new economic boost in productivity, as businesses could begin to compete and manufacture green energy technology in the U.S. This could make us an example of both bipartisanship on an environmental issue, as well as an example for other nations with similar environmental conflicts. Of course, it would still favor the open competition of the free marketbetween fossil fuels and green energy, and the competition created could generate new jobs and professions as well.

Trump is currently a hard liner on environmental issues, acting in the interest of fossil fuel companies and clean coal in the name of job creation and economic expansion. However, if he changed his tune, he could not only maintain his stance of economic conservatism that favors the free market, but he could also encourage green energy to be prosperous and fuel both our lives and our economy. The free market provides our nation with many great resources and work opportunities, but the free market doesn’t work that well when a critical aspect — the environment — is threatened by it. Going green sounds like a good application of Trump’s “Art of the Deal” to me.

ILLUSTRATION BY ALEXX ELDER

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