The student news site of Hopkins High School

President Biden’s First Actions as President Leave Many Hopeful

Feb 18, 2021

Most presidents come into office with a list of actions they’d like to accomplish in their first days in power. With the national emergency that is COVID-19, recently inaugurated Joseph R. Biden’s list was a bit more lengthy than others. 

In his first hours as president, Biden proposed a new immigration bill with a better path to citizenship and reinforced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Biden also signed an executive order to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in schools, health care, places of employment, and on. Transgender athletes will now also be able to compete against cisgender people of the same gender. 

Perhaps one of the most important decisions Biden made was for our environment. While former president Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017, Biden reversed this decision, emphasizing the emergency that is climate change. 

Ava Bur, senior, is co-president of the HHS Earth Club, a group that focuses on sustainability and environmental consciousness. 

“As a politically minded person, I was extremely disappointed but not surprised when President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, given his history as an opposer to climate science and climate justice,” said Bur. “Being a young person and a student, I felt afraid and a bit hopeless. This is an issue that is especially monumental to our generation, and it’s disheartening that world leaders have the option to ignore science and truth to carry on with their personal agendas.” 

During Trump’s four years in office, the administration saw major lapses in climate policy, with over 70 rollbacks of various regulations previously set by the Obama administration. For places like the BWCA, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Tongass, Bears Ears, and many other sites, these changes would prove especially harmful. 

“I think that Trump’s attitude on the environment caused great setbacks for climate activists around the world. While thankfully the majority of the larger scale Trump era plans for environmental destruction never came true, the past four years of neglect on addressing emissions and other regulations is undeniable,” said Bur. 

The Biden administration will be setting things straight this time around. 

“This is the most pressing issue of our time and should be treated as no less than such. I hope that politicians and civilians alike will be able to appreciate the urgency in which he rejoined the climate agreement, and notice how dire our situation has become,” said Bur. “I hope that the past few years of improper climate action have been a wake-up call and that the emerging administration will take lasting and urgent action.”

Rejoining the accord is a solid step forward, however, more will have to be done in order to slow, and eventually, reverse, climate change. 

“My hopes for the upcoming administration include continued work with plans such as the Paris agreement, repairs and justice for people and places that have already been affected by climate change, plans for more sustainable agriculture and transportation moving forward, investments in sustainable industries, and divestments from unsustainable ones, Indigenous partnerships and reparations, and so many more,” said Bur.

For the Biden administration, education will be the most important tool to combat climate change. 

“Climate work won’t be done for a very long time because it includes the rewiring of our world in many ways. The USA isn’t a nation that has been sustainably developed in the best interests of our planet; I have great hopes that younger generations will learn the importance of these issues and that we can continue to educate ourselves in new ways. One of the most important things the Biden administration can do is to be vulnerable and reach out to different professionals in the field on how to best act,” said Bur. 

While climate control is one incredibly important aspect of Biden’s administrative action thus far, he also went into office with the intention to provide relief to the American people during a time when COVID runs rampant. One such way was by placing a pause on student loan payments through September 1. 

“Everyone’s situation is unique, but I think everyone should be granted leniency to some degree. To some, that money should be going to more urgent needs that they didn’t expect to be bent over because of the pandemic. Paying the bills for food, rent, basic necessities are more pressing purposes for money than student loans,” said Shannon Braniff, senior. 

Braniff believes citizens repaying student loans should take this opportunity to rebound from the financial crisis that was brought on by COVID, and place a focus on saving up money for an emergency fund. 

Biden’s campaign placed an enormous emphasis on control over COVID and return to normalcy. While a pause on mandatory student loan payments is a step in the right direction, there is still much more to be done to provide relief to the American people. 

“Biden should be issuing more stimulus checks, that are more frequent and bigger in size.  I know far too many who were comfortable before the pandemic and able to stay afloat during the beginning. Now, though, many businesses are still struggling to keep their doors open,” said Braniff. 

Biden’s presidency has already brought forth important progression, and we can only hope that he will fulfill the promises he made during his presidential campaign. 

The Royal Page • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in