Anna T. Washington

Rethinking the Use of Unsustainable Energy

This letter, addressed to presidential candidate Donald Trump, suggests a change in his proposed policies on the use of fossil fuels and coal, and outlines the consequences of global climate change.


Dear Mr. Trump,

As the election day grows nearer, we as a nation are considering the possibilities of what lies before us. The next four years will undoubtedly hold immense changes for our country regardless of who is elected as president. These changes will span from immigration policies to tax reforms and everything in between. Comparing your proposed policies to those of Hillary Clinton shows stark contrast between the two, especially on the issue of global climate change and protecting the environment. While she advocates for reducing America’s fuel consumption, you plan to “encourage the use of natural gas,” and “Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.”

Although I understand your drive to boost the American economy using our energy resources, I believe that doing this will come at a price too steep to risk. Continuing to emit the amounts of CO₂ at the rate that we are today will have an irrevocable global impact. Our planet is warming at an unnatural pace, and the consequences will affect not only the environment, but the human population as well. Warming oceans are causing coral bleaching, which reduces habitat for fish and other sea life. The increased CO₂ in the atmosphere will also increase the acidity of the water, making it more difficult for shellfish and crustaceans to develop their shells. Overfishing has also depleted the ocean’s supply of fish. Today, over 90% of large fish have died off or been hunted. If climate change and overharvesting continue like this, we will soon find ourselves without a valuable resource. Our country’s thousands fishermen will be left jobless and their trade, one that may have been passed down through generations, will become obsolete. I believe that protecting the jobs that our nation already has should come before trying to create new jobs.

Climate change will also come with many physical and atmospheric changes. Each summer more and more polar ice melts, and each winter less and less returns. Glacial melting has the potential to raise the sea level by several feet, enough to cover large amounts of coastline, which will cause erosion of seaside land and damage to property. You, as a real estate expert, should understand the huge issue this creates for both homeowners and the housing economy. Further property damage, as well as the loss of human lives, will stem from the massive storms that will occur. Increased sea and air temperatures will create the perfect conditions for catastrophic hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve seen the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, Hurricane Matthew. The devastation that these storms bring will only intensify with the changing atmospheric conditions. To protect the people of the United States, our only hope is to stop the warming that we are causing.

From my understanding, you do not see climate change as an issue, and have dismissed it as a hoax. As much as we would all like to believe this, the facts tell us otherwise. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has predicted that “the average U.S. temperature [will] increase by about 3°F to 12°F by 2100.” They have performed studies that indicate that the Earth will continue to warm even if we start reducing our emissions today. Clearly, it is crucial that we do as much as we can as quickly as possible to stem the flow of greenhouse gasses that we are releasing.

Although I disagree with your current stance, I do understand why you want to support the oil and coal industries. Many jobs can surely be created by harvesting and selling our own energy resources that lay within the earth. However, I assure you that the production of clean energy will create jobs as well. Creators and installers of solar panels, workers of windmills, inventors of modern eco-friendly technology, and many others will find work in the field of sustainable energy. The jobs that come through releasing and burning fossil fuels will be of no use to the American people if our world becomes unfit to live in.

As a large, powerful nation, we have a big impact on the world around us. We can choose to use our influence to improve the state of our plant, or we can choose to ignore the signs that we are amid an enormous change and continue our current practices. Jobs and the economy are important, but no one could put them above the health of earth itself, the grand system that supports the life of all organisms, all species, all nations. Should you become president, I implore you to reconsider your stance on releasing fossil fuels and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It is quite possible that the fate of the world will rest in your hands.


Anna Thomas