A Change in Climate Change

A review on the advantages and disadvantages to current environmental legislation

Continuing the Conversation

I recently attending a deliberation on the rate and effect teenage pregnancies have on the United States youth called “Just Don’t Do It: A Deliberation on Teen Pregnancies”. Although I originally thought that I would be sitting in on a discussion about reproductive rights and the legislation surrounding it, I was still pleasantly surprised with how interesting the topic was. The team presented the dilemma that is currently happening nationwide, the problem of teenage girls between the ages of fifteen and nineteen becoming unexpectedly pregnant. The deliberation specifically asked why the United States could possibly be the number one developed country in the world, but also have the highest number of underage pregnancies. Through their three approaches the English class was able to convey the dilemma many young women are having today and seek to answer this question through the possible solutions that are being done to resolve it.

The group decided to begin the deliberation by asking the room the question who has known someone such as a friend or classmate that became unexpectedly pregnant. As expected, nearly every hand went up. By asking the question of who has known someone who became pregnant allowed the group to easily frame the problem that teenage pregnancy has in this nation and how it not only effects the young woman but also the community around her. This led the group into their first approach which focused on the current system of sex education in schools, both comprehensive sex education and abstinence only education. The two members of this approach believed that the disparity in knowledge between the two educations could be having an effect on the rate of teenage pregnancies. With differing levels of sex education between teenagers, mistakes are more likely to occur such as the spreading of STD’s and unplanned pregnancies. One of the main questions asked during the first approach was “Should there be a certain type of sex education that is taught across the United States to all schools?”

The second approach focused not on the education aspect of underage pregnancies, but rather on the aspect of resources that are currently being offered as ways to lessen teenage pregnancies. Many of the resources that were discussed revolved around birth control and medical clinics that provide various types of health and assistance services to young women who become sexually active. The two members of this approach assessed various angles involving birth control and its access to teenagers. They brought up interesting questions such as “Will offering birth control to younger girls encourage more of them to have sex at an earlier age?” The discussion is the second approach was my personal favorite because it included a lot of differing viewpoints on the issue of availability.

The third and final approach, in my opinion, was the least organized of the three. The team members seemed to have no clear direction to the approach, leaving much of the task up to the audience. This specific approach discussed the multiple programs that are being implemented across the United States in various communities. Many of these solutions aim towards opening up communication between the parents and the children about sex and its complexities. Thus, hopefully reducing the stigma and furthering people’s education on the matter. Although there was useful information and some interesting discussion within this approach, it was still, overall, lack luster. After each of the three solutions the two team members would ask the audience the same two questions: “What do you think of the solution?” and “Would the program actually work in lowering unplanned pregnancies among teenagers?” Both very valid questions to ask, however, it would have been better to add additional questions to be more engaging.

However, despite the substandard third approach, the deliberation “Just Don’t Do It: A Deliberation on Teen Pregnancies” was still extremely interesting. The three approaches provided ample amounts of information to the audience while flowing together effortlessly. Each of the topics that were discussed were thoroughly analyzed and addressed from all angles providing sufficient evidence to the problem and solution of unplanned teenage pregnancies. And due to the large turnout, the discussion for was very engaging. Many of the people that participated within the deliberation provided particularly interesting points, making the overall experience worthwhile.

One for All and All for One?

With more and more information emerging about the detrimental effects that climate change will have on our environment many branches of government, including both local and state, are urging for serious reform within the United States. However, despite the public outcry from citizens and higher up officials not very much is being done to combat the current state of global warming. In fact, many of the reforms that were passed to help the environment during the Obama administration are now currently under review in the Trump administration. Although many of the bills in question are related to land-development and the proper protocol during construction, there are still many arguments and objections government officials have about passing environmental legislation. One of the major arguments being that if other countries and nations aren’t passing stricter regulations against climate change then why should our government? Supporters of this reasoning believe it to be unfair and unequal that the United States should be the first of the major nations to implement such strict guidelines towards improving climate change. However, is this objection valid? Will being one of the first countries to pass legislation for climate change be beneficial and start a train reaction with other countries? Or will the effects not be as beneficial as some predict and actually cause harm to our economic prosperity? This Civic Issue post will examine the possible outcomes that could derive from implementing more environmentally-friendly legislation in the United States.

To successfully examine the possible effects newer climate change legislation will have on the United States we must first review our current legislation and its effect. As previously mentioned, the Obama administration, who made a continual effort in improving climate change and global warming, passed various bills and regulations during his eight years that targeted specific problems within our environment. Some examples include the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Energy Investment Initiative, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and multiple regulations aimed at reducing methane waste, carbon emissions, and oil and gas power. In fact, since President Barack Obama took office back in 2008, carbon emissions have decreased 9 percent, while the U.S. economy has grown more than 10 percent. Unfortunately, this might change under the current administration. President Donald Trump, who is not as dedicated in improving the climate as Obama, could possibly have an effect on these numbers, which could potentially be harmful in the long run. According to some government officials, on-again-off-again regulation is a poor way to protect the environment from any further damage. Not only that, but it also creates needless uncertainty for businesses that are planning long-term capital investments, which is also a poor way to promote robust economic growth. Thus, proving that at the very least consistent environmental legislation is not only necessary for the future of our environment but also our economy. But does this mean the United States needs to enforce stricter environment regulations? Will these changes have an effect on the prosperity of the United States?

The question that often arises when bringing up topics such as reducing carbon emissions or implementing a newer irrigation system to cut back on water usage is not about environmental protection or quality of life, but rather a question about economic development. Many wonder if this kind of aggressive regulation will create a drag on our economy or not? For some time now, environmentalists and others on the left have argued against this narrative claiming that heavy regulation has and will actually fuel economic growth. Fortunately for them, this argument has only gotten stronger in the last couple of years as a result of certain areas in the United States seeing some economic prosperity after adding environmental regulations to their current legislation. California’s economy, for example, has transformed in many ways from the regulation it has passed. However, even with California’s success it is not always clear that the results have been positive. For example, restrictions on oil drilling, which have led to less drilling and more environmentally responsible drilling when it occurs, have also contributed towards America’s ongoing dependence on foreign oil. This is similar to some air-pollution regulations. While these regulations have cleaned up the air, they have also moved the “dirty” industries to Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. However, despite some of the adverse effects stricter regulations seem to be causing, the positive impact it has had so far is undeniable. Thus, proving that stricter regulations will not cause extreme harm to our economy or economic prosperity as some believed. Yet, the question of should the United States being even implementing change even though other countries are not still remains.

And the answer is yes. As the second largest contributor to carbon emissions in the world, one behind China, the United States has major influence on the effect and the outcome of our environment. Many of the decisions our country makes on environmental regulations will serve as a precedent for other countries in the future. And although, other countries, such as China, are currently not making the same effort in implementing extreme change in it’s environmental legislation, this should not discourage the United States. Change will not come if we continually wait for other countries to follow in the same pursuit. We must serve as the first catalyst in the effort of making our government more eco-friendly. For the effects of global warming are already currently in effect.

It seems after some analysis that one of the major arguments against passing stricter environmental legislation, the argument being that if other countries and nations aren’t passing stricter regulations against climate change then why should our government, is not a valid excuse. By refusing to implement change because other countries are not, is an extremely harmful attitude to have. The longer countries wait to instill stricter regulations, the more damage global warming and climate change will have on our environment. The belief that the United States’ economic prosperity will be compromised is another false claim in preventing stricter environmental regulations. As seen through the Obama administration and the example of California, the economy actually improved. And although the numbers seen under the Obama presidency may change slightly under the Trump presidency, as long as the current legislation stays fairly consistent then the positive effects that environmental regulations have on both the environment and also the economy will remain. The United States is often seen as the land of opportunity, and with the opportunity and platform we currently have we can make a serious difference against the harmful effects of global warming.


“A Historic Commitment to Protecting the Environment and Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change.” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web.

“Biggest Contributors To Global Warming In The World By Country.” WorldAtlas. Worldatlas.com, 28 Sept. 2016. Web.

Daly, Matthew. “House Votes to Overturn Rules 
on Environment and Education.” The Portland Press Herald. MaineToday Media, 07 Feb. 2017. Web.

Feldstein, Martin S., Ted Halstead, and N. Gregory Mankiw. “A Conservative Case for Climate Action.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2017. Web.

Fulton, William. “Do Environmental Regulations Hurt the Economy?” Governing Magazine: State and Local Government News for America’s Leaders. E.Republic, Mar. 2010. Web.

“The Global Climate Change Regime.” Council of Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 19 June 2013. Web.

The Good, the Bad, and the Oily


THE BEGINNING: For the past year, the American people have been told by the media that our nation is currently in a state of division like no other. Although this rhetoric may be convincing now more than ever after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, one must not forget that our nation has never been fully united to begin with. Since the creation of this country, the citizens have never unanimously agreed upon something. Even our own Founding Fathers had differing views and stances with how the country should be maintained. It is natural to have inconsistency with opinions, especially when it comes to issues, since many people interpret situations differently.

One of the biggest issues that is currently happening within our country is the debate on the Dakota Access Pipeline. This controversial pipeline has been circling the news outlets since April of 2016 when the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in Dakota began protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. On January 24, 2017 President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum regarding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline sending the debate and the public surrounding the issue into an outburst. In the President’s Memorandum, he detailed the future procedures that should be adopted to expedite the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This order comes in just after Former President Barack Obama decided to stop the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline back in December.

The feedback regarding the decision has been split. Some American citizens have shown their support for the continuation of the pipeline and the economic impact it will have on the current oil industry, while others are more adamant on the effect the leakage could have on the Sioux tribe that reside in the area of construction. This Civic Issue post will examine both sides of the argument, focusing on the benefits and disadvantages of the decision to continue construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.


THE GOOD: As President Trump boasted about when signing the Presidential Memorandum, the continuation of this project will create a significant amount of jobs for the American people. Although the job estimates for the Dakota Access Pipeline vary, since most of the project is already constructed, there will still be an influx in the workforce. Not only that, but the economic impact the Dakota Access Pipeline will have is undeniable. When built, the pipeline will stretch more than 1,100 miles from oil fields in North Dakota to a river port in Illinois and all the small towns that line the pipeline’s path are likely to see local booms in business, as workers spend money on lodging, food and entertainment.

One of the major concerns of the protestors is the environmental effect the pipeline could have on the land. However, Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, has reassured the Sioux tribe and the public that the only error that could possibly occur with the pipeline is human error, and not in the sense that the pipeline is faulty, but in that other people could possibly ignore the warnings and accidently dig into the pipeline. Despite this concern, a pipeline is the best option when transporting oil. Compared to the alternatives, trucks and rails, a pipeline is much less likely to leak oil.


THE BAD: Although the crusade to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has gained thousands of supporters from all across the United States, the original protestors for the construction were the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The Native Americans of this tribe began to block the completion of the interstate oil pipeline after they became aware that the energy company planned to route the pipeline under their ancestral land. To the members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe this land is sacred to them and has immense historical meaning. In addition, the Sioux tribe is also deeply concerned about the impact the pipeline will have on the Missouri River, which happens to be their main source of water. The tribe and environmentalists alike, are worried about possible oil leaks into the water that could cause serious damage to the surrounding area.

Many protestors have also brought the question of race into the debate. While many supporters of the pipeline find this claim to be ridiculous, there does seem to be some questionable evidence of race-related decisions by the company. The pipeline’s original path crossed the Missouri River, just north of Bismarck, a city that happens to be 90% white. However, when concerns were raised in the town about a potential oil spill, the pipeline was rerouted south to go under the river right next to the Standing Rock Reservation. The energy company has denied this and inferred that the decision was solely based on numbers, which could be true. More people live near Bismarck, so if the pipeline were to be routed there then it would have passed closer to more homes and it would have needed to cross water sources more times than where it is currently routed now.

THE OILY: Although the debate never ended between whether the Dakota Access Pipeline is a good or bad decision, it certainly did intensify as a result of Donald Trump’s recent Presidential Memorandum. However just because the newly elected President ordered a Presidential Memorandum on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, doesn’t mean that the approvals needed to put a finish to the construction were granted. So far, all that the Presidential Memorandum does is authorize an expedited pathway for approval that will cut through the confusion that surrounds and blocks the issuance of permits and easements to Dakota Access. To the many protestors and environmentalists that object to the construction of the pipeline this is good news. Unfortunately, to these same people the Dakota Access Pipeline will be difficult, if not impossible to stop in the future. But like many issues in the United States, a resolution will never occur unless the debate doesn’t continue.



Epstein, Richard. “Trump’s Big Move On Dakota Access Pipeline.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 26 Jan. 2017. Web.

Krauss, CLifford. “Keystone XL Pipeline: A New Opening, but What Lies Ahead?” The New York Times. The  New York Times, 26 Jan. 2017. Web.

Meyer, Robinson. “The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 9 Sept. 2016. Web.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. “The Dakota Access Pipeline’s Reservation Reroute: The Daily Show” YouTube, 2 December 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uugjk2J9tXs


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