Months ago, news of Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Accord hit the media by storm. “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he stated.
Since then, hundreds of leaders, including the mayor of Pittsburgh, have spoken out in affirming their commitment to transitioning into sustainable energy. Their actions and commitments are reflective of the fact that people in Pittsburgh, and in cities across the United States, desire to have clean energy in their backyards–regardless of their political leanings.
“Consider Buffalo, in upstate New York. Once an industrial powerhouse dotted with manufacturing and steel mill factories, it lost half its population in the second half of the 20th century and became the third-poorest big city in the United States,” columnist Rahwa Ghirmatzion writes for The Guardian. “It is home to exactly the kind of ‘forgotten people’ Trump talked about on the campaign trail. In a city featuring old houses and tough winters, heating bills regularly cost more than rent for some. But in a once blighted area on the West Side, hundreds of residents are working with Push Buffalo…to weatherproof homes, install solar energy systems and build a stronger community, all while training local residents for good jobs in the emerging green economy.”
This kind of revolution is happening all over the globe, from the prevalence of solar technology in California to more rural areas of the planet. What is most surprising, perhaps is the prevalence of renewable energy in areas that overwhelmingly voted for Trump.
Iowa, for example, produced 36 percent of its electricity from wind power last year. South Dakota produces 70 percent of its electricity from water and wind power. In Kansas, wind energy has increased from 1 percent of the state’s electricity generation to 24 percent in a ten year time frame.
It’s not just communities that have taken advantage of renewable energy. American businesses have begun transitioning into more environmentally friendly alternatives. Boeing now has an airplane factory that operates on 100 percent renewable energy. Other corporations, such as Walmart and General Motors have hopped on the green energy bandwagon as well.
Even those who don’t believe in the existence of climate change have found it in their best interest to hop aboard the renewable energy bandwagon.
“But we’ve seen that even Americans who don’t ‘believe’ in climate change are embracing renewable energy,” Ghirmatzion writes. “Some of them value cleaner air; others value energy independence and national security and others are called to care for creation.”
In doing so, Americans are saving money as individuals, but they are embracing and investing in community ownership of renewable energy infrastructure, contributing to job growth, and ultimately building wealth in their own communities.
As climate change continues to impact communities, it’s clear that green energy is the future. Regardless of the actions of the highest office in the nation, businesses and communities are on board with clean energy practices. With any luck, communities and businesses will continue to make progressive choices, moving forward, making the world a more environmentally healthy and prosperous place for all.