Thanks President Trump, General Motors, the people of Lordstown, Ohio; Oshawa, Ontario; Detroit, Michigan; White Marsh, Maryland and Warren, Michigan for helping our country and world move closer to solving our climate change crisis.
Despite Donald Trump’s cruel and shortsighted 2016 campaign promises (promises he often repeated this year while campaigning for others in the region) of new jobs, a bright future and pleas to already desperate and scared American auto workers to not sell their homes, General Motors this week announced that they will be closing at least five manufacturing plants and laying off 15% of their workforce. GM’s stated reason for taking this action, as they stated in their press release, is their desire of “transforming the global enterprise to advance the company’s vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion.”
So I say thank you to President Trump for showing the world how antiquated your thinking and “gut” has been about the future of transportation and energy in America. Politics has no place in our climate change crisis, the stakes are far larger than the shallow campaign promises, lies and deceit that constantly flow from your mouth.
And speaking of your mouth, you’ve repeatedly put your foot into it this week while questioning America’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, so I also want to thank you for showing everyone how idiotic you are on a topic that according to the landmark work by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication has found that 70% of Americans believe our climate crisis is real.
That’s true too, of course, of experts from all over our (now your) government who prepared this report and in doing so illustrate that our climate change crisis presents real and grave danger to our environment, people and economy.
Thank you President Trump for illustrating the point I made many years ago by creating a button about climate change being real and that we needed to set politics aside to deal with this crisis. We know how you feel about this topic, President Trump, so thanks for sharing your view, but I’d suggest you stop talking about the topic until we’ve removed you from office and can get on with the real work of solving what I believe is the most important challenge facing my generation: climate change.
In a strange way General Motors deserves some thanks too for publicly announcing that it is “transforming the global enterprise.” It is, however, important to keep in mind that they are doing so because they believe it will be good business for their company and investors. GM sees a future where SUV’s offer more promise and profit to their company but also one where cars will be automated and electric. And that’s okay.
To address our climate crisis it will take many large businesses in all sorts of industries to force change and that understand that sustainable energy is both what their customers will increasingly demand and good business too. By the way, GM is not alone. Both Ford Motor Company and FIAT Chrysler will be doing the exact same thing: shifting their production to automated, electric vehicles as we transition to a zero carbon emissions future that, for me, can’t happen soon enough.
Most importantly, the people who will lose their current jobs as our country and the world transition away from gas combustion and diesel engine powered vehicles that emit pollution to clean energy solutions such as electric vehicles are to be commended, thanked and sincerely supported. In many cases these brave Americans have worked at GM and the businesses GM subcontracts with for a variety of parts for many years and in many cases for generations. Make no mistake, these people, their families and communities face truly tough times transitioning into new employers, jobs and perhaps places to live. It is my hope that they will take the negative news this week and work hard to turn it into a positive by rising up to demand that leaders in their communities embrace this as an opportunity to step into the future.
Why can’t places like Lordstown, Oshawa, Detroit, White Marsh, and Warren become places that build more solar panels and related sustainable equipment than any place on the planet?
Why can’t the USA become the world’s leader in producing solar equipment, much less in installing it everywhere?
The thousands of people who face these layoffs are expert, skilled makers, they know how to conceive, assemble and ship world class products and I see no reason that, with the right leadership in their communities and our country, investing in the manufacturing of sustainable products and solutions such as solar would not only enrich these people but our country and planet!
There is, of course, a perfect example of how one industry had no choice but to transition long ago. It’s a topic I’ve written about before (click here). Think back on our history to a time when people traveled by horse drawn carriages, buggies and wagons when a change came along that threatened their jobs and futures. That threat was called the automobile. The advent of new technology did not lead to our country collapsing but required people to transition their skills from raising and caring for horses, building and maintaining wagons, carriages and buggies to over a century of great jobs in the new auto industry. My point is that we have done this before and we can certainly do it again.
And that’s exactly what should happen here, these communities and those impacted will, I hope, blaze the trail into America’s future of sustainable energy and every one of us should proudly and quickly support them along the way by demanding that our government provide economic help to businesses that want to create sustainable products/jobs, training for people to learn new skills and, for crying out loud, the widespread implementation of solar power and other truly clean energy solutions and the jobs that go with them all over our country.
Let us not see the recent climate report or of these layoffs as “bad” news but as opportunity. An opportunity to embrace a future of clean energy, to support our fellow Americans in helping us transition into that future and as a vivid example that political rhetoric, fake promises and lies have no place in our climate change discussion, nor in any other place in these United States.