You’ll have noticed: Trump is in town. During his visit he will be shielded from public sight, masked by his motorcade and won’t be inserted anywhere public where his kryptonite might be found: people who disagree with him.
While he avoids the reality of public opinion, people across the country – many who have never publicly protested before – will be motivated to take to the streets to stand against everything he represents. And Friends of the Earth will be with them.
Trump is trampling over climate change progress and making the heat-trapping blanket cloaking the planet even warmer. He is wilfully dismissing science and ignoring vulnerable and often powerless people who are already feeling the impacts of rising temperatures by pouring scorn on climate agreements.
The United Nations Paris accord was signed in 2015 by 193 countries, enshrining the political need for climate action. While not as bold as it could or should have been, it offered us the first glimpse that there might just, perhaps, with a bit of luck, be a way out of climate chaos. But last year, Trump said he would withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement.
Why? Trump said it was “very unfair to the US”. But Donald wouldn’t know “unfair” if it hit him face-on with the force of a category five hurricane.
In all those Hollywood disasters movies, when alien invaders or an asteroid is threatening the survival of humanity, it’s the United States that saves the day. Under Trump, it’s just getting in the way. Not so much “America First” as “America Last”.
It’s why 100 scientists have pleaded with Theresa May to raise Trump’s climate denial during his visit.
What is unfair is that the hundreds of millions of people already suffering most from climate change: the rural poor in India, peasant farmers in Africa, coastal communities in Bangladesh, residents of low lying islands in the Pacific, and so many more, are the people that have done least to cause it. Climate injustice is depressingly part and parcel of how racial injustice affects the lives of too many people. That’s why working for empowerment and equity of all oppressed communities; women, people with disabilities, the LGBT community, people of colour indigenous people, people of all faiths, classes, ages and levels of access to education - is so important when campaigning for an environmentally and socially sustainable world.
What’s also unfair is that climate change can result in people losing everything as climate records are broken year on year and what was once extreme weather becomes the new normal. In the last few days, ‘historic’ rain and landslides in Japan have already killed 155 people, but the final death toll is likely to be many more. Two million people have been given evacuation orders. Whether or not an individual weather incident was caused or exacerbated by climate change is missing the point; scientists are convinced such events will become ever more frequent and severe as the planet continues to warm, so when politicians fail to take action on climate change, they are in essence condemning people to die.
Trump claims to be a business genius, but his focus is on the money that he doesn’t want to commit to NATO. Put aside human suffering and planetary discussion and just consider in splendid isolation what ignoring climate change is projected to do to the global economy: it will cause trillions of dollars of economic harm. 16 senior officials at the U.S. Defence Department have tried to warn Trump about this along with the security implications of climate change.
I’ve had some people put it to me that we shouldn’t protest Donald Trump during his visit to the UK, because it just feeds his ego. But that would be to normalise Trump and his disastrous policies, and make it easier for other governments to drift backwards.
Take our own Government as an example. Once considered a “climate leader”, it is fast becoming a climate laggard. In the last couple of months, Theresa May’s Government has shredded plans to build the world’s first renewable tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay, continued with their ideological determination to force fracking through on communities that have said time and again that they don’t want it, and given the go-ahead to a new runway at Heathrow, whose emissions are already greater than those of Croatia. It’s our Government that’s in the wrong on these decisions, but they are not nearly as exposed in the international community as they should be, thanks to Donald Trump.
Thousands of us who care about how climate change will ruin lives and livelihoods across the globe will be taking to the streets on Friday, because the climate denier-in-chief needs to understand that people will not stand idly by. We won’t normalise his policies, we will resist the direction in which he would take our planet, and in small, daily ways, we will make sure the world never forgets how he is in the wrong.
What do you care the most about? From his environmental disregard to his border policies and a world of objections in between, there will be someone to represent you on the march. But this protest isn’t the end of the fight, it’s the building of the resistance.
Join a campaign that fights for what you care about, write to your representatives, let friends and family know why you are there and harness the power of social media – this march can’t end at Parliament square on a Friday’s summer evening, it must go on and garner momentum. On Friday we get to unite, raise our voice, take to the streets and tell the world: let’s make the planet great again.