Milford environmentalists were bracing for it.

Even before President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, Milford environmentalists were getting ready for what they expected would be bad news from a Washington D.C., led by someone they saw as anti-environment, someone who refuted reports of global warming.

So the group Milford Speaks Out had already started telling people that they would have to make their own difference where the environment is concerned.

At an “anti-inauguration rally” in January, Barbara Milton told fellow members of Milford Speaks Out that they could make a difference by recycling, using less water and paying attention to energy and environmental laws.

Ideas like that took center stage when the Milford Environmental Concerns Coalition (ECC) started meeting again after a long hiatus because members feared the Trump administration would make good on promises to pull out of the Paris agreement.

They talked about making a difference at the local level, too, from limiting polystyrene trays in school lunchrooms to recycling more plastics.

Still, though they were expecting it, they weren’t happy about Thursday’s news, and they quickly reiterated the value of grassroots movements.

“I am very sad and disappointed in Washington for taking this stance,” said ECC member Joan Braun. “However, this decision is not final for our country, as we have all seen in the last 24 hours. Connecticut is on board with numerous states, governors and mayors throughout our country to keep the Paris accord very much alive and to forge on. This has, and will, energize grassroots organizations to not sit idly by and allow Trump to be the voice for us all.”

Milton suggested people sign a pledge that lets the rest of the world know that not all Americans support Trump’s decision: “We pledge allegiance to the United States of America and the United Countries of the World and to the principles we have in common, especially those having to do with the protection of our citizens and our lands from the devastating effects of climate change.”

Milton also suggested that instead of giving presents for Christmas, birthdays or any occasion, friends and family members make a donation to the person’s favorite environmental organization.

On a more global level, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released a statement after Trump’s announcement, saying, “Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality.”

Brune too touted the importance of grassroots efforts. “For every terrible decision Trump makes, grassroots activists, frontline communities, local governments, and concerned people across the country are fighting to make sure clean energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds,” Brune wrote.

“Our resistance is sustainable and we will serve as a counterpoint to Trump’s dangerous policies every step of the way,” he added.
The announcement
President Trump announced Thursday afternoon that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, an agreement signed by 194 nations pledging to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses they produce in an effort to curb global warming.

According to NPR.org, the participating nations made the “historic pact on Dec. 12, 2015, in Paris to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures — while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change.”

President Trump told Americans Thursday night that as President his job is to make ensure America a level playing field when it comes to competing with other countries, and he argued that the Paris climate agreement puts the United States at a disadvantage on several fronts.

He talked about keeping his campaign promises, and he argued that the Paris agreement could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by the year 2025, hitting manufacturing and automobile industries, and by 2040 drastically cut production of paper, cement, iron, steel and coal.

He said the U.S. would withdraw from the accord, but would begin negotiating for different terms or an entirely new deal.

The President later tweeted, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and Vice President Mike Pence followed up with: “Our President is choosing to put American jobs, American consumers, American energy, and American industry first.”