For decades, the United States has relied on an energy infrastructure dependent on domestic and foreign fossil fuels. There is economic potential in tapping cleaner energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear energy. American youth today will not have the safe reliance on nonrenewable resources that Americans have had in the past as resources dwindle overtime. A way forward is to encourage the use of green energy by extending tax breaks to companies who utilize green energy resources, advocating cap and trade policies, and also supporting policies that put a price on carbon.
Clean Water and Sanitation
Since the Safe Drinking Water Act went into effect in 1974, many changes have lead to leniency on the essential preservation of clean drinking water. As water becomes more scarce overtime in drought-infested areas, the cleanliness of water in natural and human-made reservoirs will need to be protected. Furthermore, the possible threat that oil pipelines pose to clean water in the case that they rupture must be addressed as the move toward cleaner energy will render these pipelines obsolete in the future. Advocation of policies that ban or deeply limit offshore drilling as a means to extract petroleum can also greatly ensure that water remains clean.
According to NASA and NOAA, July 2016 was Earth’s hottest year on record since 1880 at 62.01 degrees which was 1.57 degrees above the 20th century average. It is because climate is an issue that is central to humanity’s survival, that it goes without saying that environmental policies must reflect the national security interests, economic interests, and social interests of the United States. Legislation that recognizes the human caused, scientifically proven phenomenon of climate change, must be supported. The effects of climate change are already seen today, and will continue to get worse as the youth in our country will be the most affected in the future.
Food security is of concern to the United States in parts of the country that face drought. Scarcity of food can cause economical disasters in vain of the Dust Bowl. Avoiding desertification and advocating for subsidized farms and farms receiving federal tax breaks to create their yields in the most sustainable way possible can help foster food security in parts of the country that are affected.
Recycling Programs in Schools
One of the most effective soft education ways to ensure the empowerment of youth in the fight against environmental injustices and the spread of one’s carbon footprint is to advocate for and fund recycling programs.
The Paris Agreement must be upheld as one of the most sweeping, effective international treaties regarding climate change mitigation. The Paris Agreement is a reminder that climate change is not just strictly an American issue, but it is indeed a global issue. Work on legislations to support the U.S. Climate Alliance with the particular focus on state and local governments.
Sustainable Development Goals (Environment related SGDs)
Moving forward with environmental stewardship from the classroom at a young age to embody all aspects of daily life is how the American community can come together to fight the challenge. This involves advocation of policies that protect the wellbeing, dignity, and rights of animals, the championing of clean air and water by litter collection initiatives, and the overall care of all lives on the planet.