Matthew Toledo … Perhaps I could offer an alternative perspective? While I don’t disagree that Trump will roll back some of the environmental wins, he won’t be able to reverse all of them. On renewable energy, not even Donald Trump can force the market to bend to his will. As of 2016, solar is officially cheaper than coal anywhere in the world, and is also the cheapest energy source of any kind in more than 60 countries now (source). < thanks to Scott McVadon for this…

He’s also going to really struggle to roll back the drilling bans in the Arctic. The Obama administration has played this one very cleverly, and it’s likely that by the time Trump is able to get that one through the courts his four years will be over. (source). Yes, the EPA is about to go through some tough times. Coal is going to get a temporary respite. Environmentalists are facing a tough few years, and the election should serve as a reminder about how much work remains to be done. But remember that generally, clean energy and environmental conservation are politically popular on both the right and the left in the US. Don’t despair.

On a more general note — the kind of apocalyptic imagery you’re using here (and which is unfortunately so popular with environmentalists) is more likely to become a self‐fulfilling prophecy than to rouse people to action. Spewing misanthropy is just as dangerous as emitting carbon dioxide. It’s the opposite of activism. There is a real danger of unintended consequences, of encouraging people to give up. Pessimism, if it becomes a habit, can reinforce a narrative of unstoppable decline. If there is nothing we can do, that releases us from our obligations.

Next time you’re feeling despair, perhaps consider that there’s no future in despising humanity. Self‐flagellation may feel good to some, but how does it help move us toward solutions? Remember we are a species with a unique ability to envision futures and sometimes work together to achieve them. Unwarranted pessimism about our future is irresponsible. The naysayers, prophesiers of certain doom, are giving us a way to avoid responsibility. Don’t listen to them. The drumbeat of gloom is not helping, it’s hurting. Time to replace it.

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Angus Hervey

Angus Hervey

From Melbourne and Cape Town, with love. Political economist and journalist, and co-founder of