Have you noticed the weather in Oklahoma lately? I enjoy the feeling of spring creeping up on
us, but some days isn’t it freezing? I know what you’re thinking: that’s Oklahoma for you.
But what if I told you it’s not just Oklahoma?
As the Trump Administration pulls the country away from efforts to decrease our carbon
footprint, global warming is increasingly giving way to environmental changes that, at times,
result in death.
Last year President Trump signed a bill removing the Stream Protection Rule, an order enacted
by former President Barack Obama which prevents the coal industry from dumping toxic waste
into rivers and streams.
Not to mention Trump’s genius idea to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement
despite America being the second largest contributor of greenhouse gases.
The Washington Post reported that sudden drops in temperature have occurred over North
America in recent years. “Climate researchers say they could become more frequent as global
warming further saps strength from the air currents around the pole,” the newspaper said.
The article pointed to the Arctic, which has been unnaturally warm in the recent years.
The permafrost, or the frozen topsoil, has melted, giving way to greenhouse gases which pollute
National Geographic Magazine defines permafrost as “a permanently frozen layer below the
Earth’s surface. It consists of soil, gravel, and sand, usually bound together by ice. Permafrost
usually remains at or below freezing temperature for at least two years.”
Americans contribute to climate change in several ways; like increasing the use of transportation
fueled by fossil fuels, and wasting four billion tons of food annually.
We have made efforts to go green, but corporations affect the environment significantly as well.
The same corporations who pay for politicians, like Donald Trump, to run for office, are paying to
control history, science, and the idea that climate change isn’t real.
For example, in Oklahoma the fossil fuel corporations run by the Koch Brothers have non-profit
educational groups like Americans for Prosperity which support school choice and advocate for
This allows for the curriculum of schools to be decided by corporations.
The Carbon Disclosure Project, based in the United kingdom, said in a study published in 2017
that 100 fossil fuel corporations, like Koch industries, account for 71 percent of global industrial
greenhouse gas emissions.
With corporations controlling politics, after the Citizens United case, it appears we as individuals
have less say in what happens to the environment. Scientists argue the best thing you can do is
stand against corrupt politicians and plan ahead.
Pedro Faria, the Technical Director of CDP, said climate action is no longer confined to the
direction given by policy makers. “It is now a social movement, commanded by both economic
and ethical imperatives and supported by growing amounts of data,” he said.
Indeed, the issue of global warming is no longer a preventative conversation, it is now a matter
of adapting to the earth’s warming temperatures. We can still fight corporations, but ultimately
we need to be prepared for what is already set in motion.
The Union of Concerned Scientist wrote that as sea levels rise we can expect frequent and
severe heat waves, growing wildfire risks, and an increase in extreme weather events. “These
and other consequences of global warming were once largely preventable, but foot-dragging by
our elected leaders and policy makers over the past two decades means that we must now
confront the dangerous new reality of rising temperatures and the serious impacts that
accompany them,” the group said.
As for Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest, we should plan ahead for extreme heat and
droughts. The UCS said we should also push for more resilient cities.
To do this we have to wean ourselves off of the use of fossil fuels from transportation, lighting,
and work. It’s difficult to transition away from a resource as useful as oil, but our very existence
is dependant upon it.