by Katherine Opiela ’20
Last Tuesday, March 28, Donald Trump signed an executive order which suspends or calls for review on several climate change laws, including Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. With his Energy Independence Executive Order, Trump is attempting to reverse much of the recent progress that has been made in regards to environmental protection.
After all, our president once called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. Also, earlier this year, President Trump’s choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, said he didn’t believe carbon dioxide is a “primary contributor” to global warming. Of course, that contradicts the accepted scientific view of the problem, putting Pruitt at odds with the agency he now leads.
Predictably, Trump’s latest executive orders drew praise from business groups, who are happy to have fewer regulations eating into their profits, and condemnation from environmental groups who take a big-picture view of the global warming problem. Former vice president and environmental activist Al Gore called the order “a misguided step away from a sustainable, carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come.”
Misguided executive orders like this raise the question of whether it’s possible for Trump to govern for the benefit of all Americans rather than the privileged few. In the time that he has been President of the United States, we’ve watched him choose an extremely conservative Cabinet largely comprised of white men. Also, the administration basically ignored the Women’s March. We routinely see pictures of men gathered to determine women’s health issues. Instead of taking a larger picture view of our nation and world, considering everyone’s needs, Donald Trump seems to continually cater to a small group.
There is a need for greater inclusion, debate, and compromise that is so obvious in Washington.
This national issue also hits home in terms of diversity issues the Providence College community faces. Given that PC is made up of more than three quarters of white students, we certainly struggle with the issue of diversity. In a poll on niche.com that asks, “What one word or phrase best describes your school?” 67 percent of the responders from Providence College said, “Rich white preppy kids.” Clearly, this response the lack of diversity at Providence College shines light on the need for inclusion and change.
In the same way that it is important for Trump to consider everyone’s needs as he governs, it is equally as important for Providence College to listen to the diverse perspectives on campus and work to be a college where all students feel accepted, heard, and valued.