Listen: Sociologist Lee Smithey on Climate Disruption in the Age of Trump
Sociologist Lee Smithey on Climate Disruption and the Presidential Mandate
In a lecture he gave in April, Associate Professor of Sociology Lee Smithey discusses how the presidential vision for dealing with climate disruption, as outlined before and after the elections, aligns with the need for unprecedented environmental social change and a just energy transition.
Climate change drives nonviolent and violent conflict and creates opportunities for peacemaking and social justice. Behind dramatic manifestations of climate stress lie extensive corporate and national interests, structured consumption, cultures of consumption, and hegemonic silences that emerging conflicts often reveal. Climate crises have renewed and expanded local and global movements for environmental justice and protection. With demands on scarce resources generating and exacerbating regional conflicts and driving mass movements of refugees, the U.S. military has identified climate change as a threat to national security. Conflict also brings new opportunities for peacebuilding, cooperation, and conflict resolution.
Smithey's expertise and research interests focus on nonviolent social movements, ethnopolitical conflict, and conflict transformation, especially in Northern Ireland. In addition to teaching courses on transforming intractable conflict, nonviolent social movements, and peace and conflict studies, he coordinates the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and directs the Global Nonviolent Action Database. He has also served as chair of the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association.
This talk is part of the Second Tuesday Cafe lecture series, which this academic year focused on the 2016 presidential election and its significance. Co-convened this year by Richter Professor of Political Science Carol Nackenoff and Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Sa’ed Atshan '06, the talks provided interdisciplinary perspectives on critical issues underlying the campaign and the likely consequences of the election on domestic and foreign affairs. Sponsored each year by the Aydelotte Foundation, these monthly talks are geared for individuals with no formal background in the subject being discussed. The only requirement is curiosity.
Sa’ed Atshan: Hello friends, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence today. I'm very much looking forward to Lee Smithey's presentation and the discussion that will ensue thereafter. It's wonderful to see all of you here. I just want to put a quick plugin for next week's Aydelotte event which will feature Professor Edwin Mayorga educational studies. We'll discuss the consequences of the election and how they relate to Latinx communities in the US and education. So please mark your calendars for next Tuesday.
I also want to think Pam Shropshire for all of her incredible work, and keeping us afloat, and keeping this program going. We really appreciate it. We had to reschedule this talk because of the snow. I'm glad that it all worked out and it's a pleasure to have Lee Smithey with us. Doctor Lee Smithey is an Associate Professor here at Swarthmore with joint appointments in peace and conflict studies, and in sociology and anthropology. He currently serves as the chair of the Sociology Anthropology department. And he has in previous years coordinated the peace and conflict studies program. And he will serve as coordinator of the Peace Studies Program again next year.
He has also served as chair of the peace, war, and social conflicts section of the American Sociological Association. His expertise and research interests focus on non violent social movements, ethnopolitical conflict, and conflict transformation especially in northern Ireland. And his publications include a book through Oxford University Press entitled Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland. As well as an additive volume with Lester Kurtz called The Paradox of Oppression, which I strongly recommend, among other articles.
He's taught a number of courses here at Swarthmore including Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, Transforming Intractable Conflict, Social Movements and Non-Violent Power, which is being turned into an honors seminar next year. Strategy and Non-Violence Struggle, and he coordinates the Global Non-Violent Action Database as part of that course which has hundreds and hundreds of case studies from around the world in non-violence struggle. He also teaches a course on gun violence prevention, which is an engaged course that includes a significant community outreach component. And in the fall he's introducing a new course entitled Climate Disruption: Greening Peace and Conflict Studies. I wish I could take it myself.
He also has interest in mural mapping in northern Ireland, and he helps run a mural mapping project which is very interesting. He doesn't just talk the talk when it comes to environmental justice, he walks the walk. He's known for his activism in earthquake reaction team, [Equate 00:02:55], which does incredible work. As well as his advocacy here on our campus. Within the Peace and Conflict Studies Program Lee is known to be really the backbone of the program who's helped build our program.
And just on a personal note, I'm going to be a little warm and fuzzy, bare with me for a second. But he really is an inspiration of truly an outstanding scholar, an incredibly devoted teacher with a generosity of spirit to his students. A very active and committed community member. And an amazing father. I'm totally convinced that he has a clone somewhere running around. I'm going to find the clone one day. The title of his talk is Climate Disruption in the Age of Trump. Please join me in welcoming Lee Smithey.
Lee Smithey: Good afternoon everybody. My clone and I coordinate our movements very carefully, so good luck with that [Saud 00:03:55]. Thank you for the introduction it's been mutually wonderful to have [Saud 00:04:03] in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, and now on the tenure track, and so I feel like we have a really wonderful partnership going on. And I want to thank both Saud and Carol for the invitation to participate in this Aydelotte lunch series.
A lot has happened since this series on the presidential election began. Even since the snowstorm that postponed this talk today, so I've had to keep my game hat on, and keep updating the presentation as a result. What I would like to do today is to provide a little bit of a context regarding climate change to offer a summary or an update on the Trump administrations policies on climate change. And primarily to try and offer a few lenses for thinking about the current situation from a peace and conflict studies perspective.
There's kind of a back story to this presentation, which is that I've been wanting to develop a course that brings a peace and conflict studies perspective and tools to the topic of climate change. It seemed important and really unavoidable that we have something along those lines in our curriculum. Environmental studies is our partner in this endeavor and I also want to thank the provost office for the support that they've helped in developing the course.
Let me also take this opportunity to, even though she couldn't be here today, to thank Abby [Stahl 00:05:47] who is one of our students who is helping with the course development. And also helped with developing this presentation. She did a lot of background research. I have to take responsibility for anyways in which I've misused the information that she's provided, but it's been a real pleasure and a privilege to work with her.
Why am I titling the course Climate Disruption? Well I took a preliminary stab at this when Sa’ed asked me to give a ... Sa’ed knew I was working on this and he said "Why don't you come do one day in Introduction to Peace and Conflicts Studies' last year on this?" And I said "Sure, that would be a great way to take a stab at this."
I asked the students for title ideas at the time and I got some good ones. One was Global War-ming, which I thought was pretty clever. Another one was Two Degrees to Peace, which I also thought was quite good. The third one is It's Getting Hot in Here: The Rise of Global Climate Change and Conflict. And I think they sort of enjoyed making me blush with that one because it's in reference to a Nelly song that says, you know, it's getting hot in here so let's take off all our clothes.
Is Martin here? Okay good, because I'm actually thinking about changing the title again, tweaking the title a little bit yet again and maybe calling it Climate Disruption and Peace Ecology. But Lisa's here so I'm sure that Martin will be informed very soon.
Let's be honest though, I lifted the title from the name of the 2012 Peace and Justice Studies Association meetings that were held at Tufts University. When 11 students went with me to the meetings ... And actually Saud was teaching Peace and Justice Studies courses there at the time, so we got to connect with him even back then. I also included the word disruption because I think it's very clear that the climate's not just changing. We're knowingly disrupting it. The consequences are of course enormously dangerous for human security and human relations.
For the moment I've settled on climate disruption, conflict, and peace making. As I said, the goal is to try and explore intersections between peace and conflict studies and climate change. Today what I'd like to do is ... Abby and I have been beginning to flesh out a syllabus for this course. I just want to offer three of the areas we hope to cover in the course as kind of a platform for where that course is going to go. But I am of course also going to talk about the election because I think that was one of the goals of this series.
Before I get to the election though I think it's important to talk a little bit about the depth and the urgency of the climate crisis. I just realized ... Let's see, I may have to click this. Let's see if this ... I though I'd taken that slide out. At any rate, there is an increasingly clear consensus about anthropogenic climate change. Post industrial emissions are rapidly contributing to the warming of the earth.
The Paris Climate Treaty calls for a goal, if possible, of one point five degrees of warming past preindustrial levels. Though two degrees is generally seen as the most crucial threshold beyond which we risk initiating dangerous and potentially irreversible feedback loops of global warming. Climate scientists have worked out many many scenarios that would result in different likelihoods of temperature change. But only six out of the 1200 scenarios get us there without negative emissions, and that's the few blue lines that end up coming in right above this negative global emissions line.
In short we're blowing through two degrees at the moment. These scenarios for reducing emissions to remain with two degrees required that we suck carbon out of the atmosphere right? We don't have that technology yet. We're essentially already committed to more than two degrees, and literally the climate pledges, Paris Climate Pledges, lead us something closer to three degrees Celsius. That's the red numbers on the left at two point eight. That's what the pledges at the Paris Climate Treaty get us to, sort of past that potentially dangerous point of ... Irretrievable point against which we can't come back from climate change.
The current policies, and these are pre-Trump policies right? The business as usual before Trump was elected brings us closer to three point six degrees. The situation is quite serious and I think this is where we come to the election. If I'd been giving this talk in the fall semester we would've been talking about the leading candidates and their positions on climate change. We would've talked about Hilary Clinton's emphasis on what she called clean energy economy. We would've talked about her recognition of climate science. We would've talked about her plans to transition to alternative energy sources including solar. We would've also been talking about her recognition of impacts on marginalized groups.
We would probably also be talking about Hilary Clinton's support of fracking as a transition from oil and coal to create energy independence. We might be talking about the creation of the Bureau of Energy Resources in the State Department when she was Secretary of State and it's advocacy of fossil fuel companies like Chevron. We would probably also note interestingly the greater donations from fossil fuel companies to her campaign in comparison with the Trump campaign. We would probably also talk about the relative quiet around climate change in the final days of the race, and really throughout the race to be honest.
This is a word cloud from Secretary Clinton's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in which the climate only received two brief mentions. And of course as things turned out Donald J Trump was elected 45th President of the United States. While the best climate science we have suggests that we might limit global warming to two degrees Celsius if we move more quickly than delegates could agree during the COP21 negotiations. I guess I have to be blunt and say we're in an even more difficult situation now post election.
I think most people are probably familiar with one of Trump's famous Tweets saying that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government to advance their economic interests. In fairness that Tweet was from 2012 so it's a little over four years old. His platform pretty much ignored climate change, but his transition in his administration so far had begun to fulfill environmentalists worst fears. Does anybody recognize this symbol right here? Two, three, four, five, six, eh a bunch of hands. Maybe a quarter of the room. Does anybody know what it's called? It's the Doomsday Clock, yeah exactly.
It has just moved a bit closer to midnight, so 2017 marks the 70th anniversary actually of the Doomsday Clock. Which is a symbolic representation of the likelihood of global catastrophe. It's maintained by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. On January 26th 2017, just five days after President Trump's inauguration as president the Bulletin announced that it had moved the clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. The second hand now rests at two and a half minutes to midnight. In their statement that they released the Bulletin cited the newly inaugurated Trump administration nine times as a significant factor in their decision to move that second hand.
Their statement reads in part "Last year and the year before we warned that world leaders were failing to act with the speed and on the scale required to protect citizens from the extreme danger posed by climate change in nuclear war. During the past year the need for leadership only intensified. Yet in action and brinkmanship have continued endangering every person everywhere on earth."
It's against this happy backdrop that we turn to the Trump administration's first 46 days. And so far, for those of you keeping score at home, here's my best reconstruction of plans or actions related to the environment that the administration has undertaken. I was trying to find a picture of Trump in nature or outside and the best picture that I could get of him was on a golf course.
We don't have time to pick apart all of these executive orders, but I think it's worth highlighting a few. One is the president's moves to slash the EPA budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, by 25%. Cutting 38 programs in the process, some of which are listed here on the slide. He also cleared construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines. Just last week actually, he ordered all departments to loosen regulations on the energy sector and of course the fossil fuel industry. And initiated a review of the Clean Power Plan, on which those US pledges that I was talking about earlier, the COP21 Pledges are largely primarily based on the Clean Power Plan.
Interestingly even though the oil and gas industry didn't contribute so heavily to the Trump administration and during the election they stand to benefit from the rush to deregulation that so far has characterized the Trump administration. Moreover Trump's appointments have signaled rejection of climate science and the direct influence of the fossil fuel industry. Take Scott Pruitt for example, former secretary ... Sorry, former Attorney General of Oklahoma, known to have close ties with the fossil fuel industry. Has a long history of suing the EPA. And only in the past couple of weeks, like I said a lot has happened since the snowstorm. One of those things was that Scott Pruitt on TV said that he denied the consensus among climate scientists that carbon dioxide emissions are the primary contributing factor in global warming.
I think everybody is also aware that Rex Tillerson, who's the former CEO of Exxon Mobile was appointed Secretary of State. Now it has to be said that after decades of suppressing their own research on global warming Exxon under Tillerson's leadership accepted that fossil fuels contribute to climate change. That position has been hedged and qualified spokespersons for Exxon have rejected the stranded assets argument that their reserves that are underground will not, or cannot be produced and ultimately used and burned. So they will continue to burn their reserves.
Tillerson has said that the US should remain a party to the Paris Treaty that the US should stay at the table. He has been strangely sidelined within the administration, it's been very quiet at the State Department. It's really not clear how much authority and legitimacy he has within the administration itself. I think it's clear that Steve Bannon very much wants the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty. How this is going to play out within the administration we'll have to wait and see.
In the interest of time I'm not going to address Rick Perry, he's the Secretary of Energy now. Of course the influence of the fossil fuel industry in governance is not new. In fact Carol Nackenoff wrote a great blog post from COP22 this past semester in November about the increasing presence and differential access of fossil fuel companies at the conference. I recommend you read that. It's on our college website.
We seem to be seeing a new kind of transparency about that influence as staunch advocates and leaders of the industry take office. Naomi Klein has, I think, helpfully called it cutting out the middle man. She actually also called it a cu de ta, but cutting out the middle man seems to capture fairly well to what seems to be happening in Washington. Suffice it to say that at a time when the non-binding Paris Climate Treaty seems barely adequate to the task of keeping global temperatures between two and four degrees Celsius.
We're witnessing here in the United States a frontal assault on the potential for a sustainable inequitable global future. It seems to be an assault that's based on a proposition of unregulated and ever expanding economic growth. A disdain for coordinated global action, and I think a trust in corporate benevolence that's questionable given the history of abuses that brought us here.
That's all right. He has the office next to mine so we'll talk later. How do we respond? I've started rummaging around in the toolbox of peace and conflicts studies like I said in trying to develop this course. At least for the moment I want to share three potentially useful points of intersection that Abby and I are exploring for this new course.
The first is peacecology and sustainability. A peaceocology perspective calls us to recognize and be sensitive to the social cost of carbon, and to get on with figuring out how to live more gently on the earth. It's based on approaches that we covered in the first week of Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies. Every fall semester in Peace and Conflict Studies we're obviously concerned about physical violence whether it's from the interpersonal level, domestic abuse, gun violence, hate crimes, all the way up to conventional war and even nuclear holocaust.
Influenced by works of folks like Gandhi, and Alice Bolding, and Johan Galtung, and Adam Currell, and others are definitions of both violence and peace have expanded to include systems that create unequal life chances for some groups over others. To the extent that some individuals in groups are impacted by policies and practices that result in sickness, and poverty, and deprivation, exploitation. Or some would argue even that bar individuals from reaching their full potential. Then it may be said that a form of structural violence is at play. I think this systems analis, or this focus on systems and interdependence aligns well with ecology and sustainability studies.
For example there's a school of thought called [Guyapese 00:24:12] that extends our understandings of interdependence beyond human relations to inter-species and environmental relations. Perhaps much as environmental justice studies have extended the study of environmental sciences and physical earth systems to address the inequalities and injustices that industrialization and globalization have generated.
Let me also point out that the Swarthmore College Peace Collection holds a special collection on peace and the environment that documents the longstanding interests of peace activists in ecology and sustainability. There's a link if anybody's interested in visiting it, there's a link right above the picture there. That holding illustrates an enduring tradition of prefigurative or constructive work within peace movements. Think about these are attempts to create small scale peaceful societies. You can think of perhaps Gandhi's Ashrams, or the movement for a new society that emerged here in Philadelphia.
Or even the occupy encampments of a few years ago. Or perhaps, and this is in the holdings in the peace collection, the work of the Center for Economic Conversion. This is an organization in the bay area whose goals was to try to figure out how to translate the military economy of the United States into a more civilian based economy. They did a lot of work, actually with the EPA around converting military bases using green building practices and sustainable methods.
Move on here to a second intersection I think of peace and conflict studies and climate change. It's going to come as no surprise to anybody that in peace and conflict studies we're interested in ending war, preempting war, preventing war, coming up with alternative ways of conducting conflict instead of using violence. As a result particularly during the Cold War and during the 80's a lot of that meant addressing the threat of nuclear war, and often nuclear power, and their direct connections to environmental concerns there. No ones going to be surprised either that we have an equally abiding concern about conventional war. There is already a substantial literature that some of which we'll be reviewing in this class next year on resource wars over increasingly scarce resources including fossil fuels, and water for example.
There's a long history of the environmental ravages of war whether you're talking about Sampson's burning of the fields of the Philistine's, or Abemalex sewing the ground with salt after his victory, to the use of defoliants in Vietnam. Actually Friday afternoon there was that alumni counsel happy hour event in Upper Tarble and I went to that. This gentleman came and sat next to me and we just started chatting. And I found out that for decades he's been working in Vietnam through the Aspen Institute on trying to deal with the ongoing legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Which was a really interesting conversation to have right before giving this talk.
Then of course there was the example of Saddam Hussesin's burning of the oil fields in Iraq. All that said it's interesting that the US military has actually been fairly forword thinking with regard to climate change. Certainly compared with the climate change denialism that we have seen in President Trump's administration. In 2010 the Pentagon for the first time identified global warming as a potential threat to US troops in national security. In that same year the CIA also opened an office to try and track, document, and prepare for climate change.
More recently in 2013 the National Academy of the Sciences released a report at the request of the intelligence community titled "Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis." The report focuses on "Situations outside of the US in which climate events have consequences that exceed the capacity of effective countries or populations to cope and respond." They anticipate chain reactions of increasingly serious and frequent crisis that the US military may have to deal with in one way or another.
Those concerns include water, food, and health security. The resource wars that I was talking about just a moment ago. Pressures to launch humanitarian efforts when there are trapped populations in situations of for example famine, or drought. There's also concerns about states becoming weaker under the pressures of climate change, therefore they're being a need to intervene. Also disruptive migration as people move to escape drought and disease, or to seek economic opportunities.
I should probably point out also that at the same time President Trump plans to slash the State Department budget and Foreign Aid Program by 30%. That's really Saud's area of expertise and I'll leave the aid and development front to him to address at some point if he cares to. There's also a more generalized concern that a growing focus on environmental security can lead to a new rationale for expanding the military industrial complex to deal with new emerging external threats. Concern about an emergence of a fortress mentality essentially based on protecting the consumption privileges of the global north.
The United States already spends more than the next 12 largest military spenders combined, or about 40% of all money around the planet spent globally on defense or rather preparation for war. It's difficult because President Trump hasn't offered a particularly detailed rationale for his call for a 10% budget increase of $54,000,000,000 for defense spending which all comes from the expense of other federal programs such as the EPA. There is this troubling trend where he's repeatedly connected terror attacks in Europe and the United States with immigrants, particularly Syrians who are arguably climate change refugees.
There's the construction of the wall on the southern border targeting the immigrants. The Muslim band. And the increase in defense spending, I think that suggests that environmental security could easily play into a fortress Trump mentality. Again, this is all just evolving. We're really at the beginning of this. In short climate change and the potential, and preparation for violent large scale conflicts seem closely bound to one another. I thought this was reflected pretty strikingly in reporting by one of our alums, Kate Aronoff in which she quoted Nicholas Herringer calling COP21 perhaps the most important peace summit that has ever been held.
I think there's again, a lot of convergences between trying to think about climate justice and peace and conflict studies. Okay, third non-violent resistance. Peace and conflict studies I think also has something to offer here. Peace and conflict studies have for a long time been at the forefront of studying non-violent power and strategic non-violent action. There's a long history of non-violent activism and resistance for which actually the Trump administration seems to be generating momentum. This was actually a Green Peace banner that was unfurled over the White House two or three weeks ago.
The Global Non-Violent Action Database which Saud mentions which is housed here at Swarthmore contains 254 cases of environmental campaigns all written by Swarthmore students. The entire database has roughly 1400 cases, there's a little bit more than that. Actually 15 of those are fossil fuel divestment campaigns that are part of the global movement that started right here at Swarthmore. More recently scientists are joining citizens in taking to the streets in support of the revaluation of science in policy, and in political process.
Other notable recent campaigns have included the campaigns to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline which was unfortunately revived by President Trump on January 24th. There's also been the ongoing campaign to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline that the Army Corp of Engineers had under review at the end of the Obama administration. But Trump essentially canceled the review thus opening the way for the easement that the Corp of Engineers granted to the Dakota Access company.
As you know the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other tribes have been occupying tribal land near the point at which the pipeline goes under the Missouri River since April 2016 to protest it's construction. Which they argued is an endangerment to their water supply and other's who live down stream. Right around the time, actually right before I was originally slated to give this talk they left their encampment that you saw in the previous slide, and they moved the protest to the mall in Washington in mid March. They are currently in the process of suing the Army Corp of Engineers for reneging on their promise of a full review. Stay tuned there.
I think it is interesting that the Standing Rock protest has attracted considerable solidarity including statements of support from Black Lives Matter, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Youth Movement, 350.org, and US Military Veterans. There was a really remarkable reconciliation service that was held there on the tribal lands when US Veterans asked for forgiveness for what the military has done to Native Americans across the US over the very length of the country's history.
To return just for a moment to concerns about militarization. The increasing militarization of repressive policing that we've seen deployed for example during Black Lives Matter protests has been also showcased at the Standing Rock protest. With police employing armored vehicles, body armor, pepper spray, tasers, high tech acoustic devices, and high pressure water in freezing temperatures.
Another thing that happened since this was postponed is that I got a cold. Bar with me. I think I'm going to make it though. We're also seeing the remarkable evolution of an inside and outside resistance to Trump's administration policies with employees of the Forrest Service opening their own unauthorized Twitter accounts. There was the resignation of the EPA's Climate Justice Officer Mustafa Ali. There had been attempts, really it's been fascinating, these attempts to save and archive climate data before they might be scrubbed from government servers.
There are documents that are circulating with advice for "US Government employees who want to better know their rights inside and outside the workplace. And to think about strategies for balancing their obligations as federal employees and their professional and personal values." Maria Steffen who is the co-author of the groundbreaking book Why Non-Violent Civil Resistance Works, and who worked in the State Department has done some really interesting writing on this. I think one of her stories was in the Washington Post.
Peace and conflict studies are theories of power, probably tend to privilege non-violent power that rises from below. As the political will to take the necessary steps persist there's going to be an important role for grass roots movements and intersectional organizing. I will also add however, and this is also something that happened just recently, within the past week I believe. Eighty one companies have announced that they will continue to pursue the pledges and plans that they established with the Obama administration as part of the Clean Power Plan.
Okay, so to wrap up, in one sense President Trump's active assault on climate change policies comes at the worst possible moment. As we arrive at the end of our carbon budget. On the other hand he seems to be helping to focus minds and to foster alliances as well. The stakes are very high, maybe higher than ever, setting aside the specter of nuclear annihilation. But I choose to end, to go back to this slide from the Standing Rock demonstration in Washington. There's oil in the pipeline right now underneath the Missouri River.
This was a partial victory that was snatched away from the coalition of tribes and activists who had expended so much effort. It mush just be gut wrenching for the Standing Rock tribe. It must feel like another instance in a very long history of abuses heaped on top of contemporary neglect and deprivation on reservations. But, the Dakota Access pipeline campaign is, I think, is instructive in one revealing the influence of the fossil fuel industry and the challenge in front of us.
It also, I think, illustrates new potentials for coalition building and for multi-racial, and multi-class, and multi-ethnic organizing. I'm also optimistic because we have so many more tools today. We have seen the way in which the internet and global communication can facilitate massive misinformation campaigns, which seems to have taken place during the last election.
They can also make local and global organizing and education easier as well. We also know so much more today than ever before about the possibilities of grass roots, non-violent resistance, and organizing, and whistle blowing as well. I think folks again thinking with that inside outside strategy are getting more savvy about this. Though the Trump administration actually plans to zero out the budget of the United States Institute of Peace. More than 125 years since the first peace studies course on international peace and arbitration was taught here at Swarthmore, we know more than ever I think about diplomacy, and negotiating, and peace making. I'm sure that that contributed to the initial successes of COP21 and that I hope that will lead to even more ambitious agreements.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. I feel really privileged to be working with all of you. Thank goodness there are so many of you out there working on various aspects of this challenge. Abby and I, I think, are hoping that we can play some small role on the educational end in bringing together a few more pieces of the puzzle while digging into our peace and conflicts studies toolbox. I'll stop there, thanks for being here and listening.