President Donald Trump is signing an executive order on March 28th which declares war on the environment. Among other actions, it will roll back policies curbing power plant emissions, scrap federal guidelines to consider climate change and remove incentives for energy efficiency.
I am ashamed to say that we are now living in a country where there is a concerted attack on anything beneficial and supportive of the environment, ecology, animals and plants and science. The EPA and Endangered Species Act are being dismantled. Climate change is being denied or minimized. War is being declared on many species
vital to a healthy, thriving ecosystem such as wolves. Wolves, bears, and other animals are targeted largely because they allegedly interfere with ranchers unrestricted control and use of the environment (often public land) for their cattle to run roughshod over and decimate as they graze. Bees, vital to our agriculture, are being wiped out by dangerous pesticides.
Citizens United is an ironic title for a policy which gives rights to corporations as if they were people. In actuality, their political influence and power outstrips individual rights. With massive amounts of money and influence, they can and do buy elections and politicians and usurp the will of the people. These corporations and their bought and paid for politicians show no regard for welfare of the people, only being concerned with short term profits and elections.
The Environmental Protection Agency has restored healthier and cleaner air and water for millions of Americans. However, the Trump administration has declared war on the EPA, wanting to defund it and even do away with it completely. Rather than save money, this bone-headed move will cost money. The ratio of benefits to costs is 30 to 1. The EPA has saved 230,000 lives, and prevented 2.4 million asthma attacks. 22.4 million lost school or work days are avoided every year. The total budget of the EPA is only 0.2% of the Federal budget
We are in the midst of the worst ecological extinction event and collapse and die off of species since the death of the dinosaurs from a giant meteor collision with the planet. However, this one is largely human caused. This extinction event, known as the sixth extinction (due to the recognition of 5 previous major extinction events in the history of the planet) is expected to result in the loss of at least one-half to two-thirds of the species on the planet. That climate change is real and a dangerous threat is known and acknowledged by virtually all in the science community. The only deniers are those who swallowed the lies and disinformation from the exploiting coal and oil industries, and those people financed and bribed by them. Those politicians who defy fossil fuel companies, and their backers, and admit to climate change, are threatened with withdrawal of their huge financial support and even with support of a challenger to their congressional office or position.
Stephen Hawking recently predicted that humans will not survive on the earth for as much as 1000 years more. He feels that our best hope for long term survival will be to colonize Mars and move out to other planets. However, can humans be expected to terraform Mars when we can’t even work to save our own terraformed planet.
Coral reefs are dying off, including the Great Barrier Reef, due to rise in sea water temperature and increased acidity of the oceans due to increase in carbon dioxide levels in the water. Trees are being killed off in mass by harmful insects which previously had died off with the long winter freezes. These attackers are moving northward every year and destroying entire forests of trees. With their death, these trees, which absorbed and stored CO2, now provide fuel for ever larger and more frequent fires and droughts. Animals and plants can often adapt to natural slow changes over generations, but these changes are coming more and more rapidly. Species such as seals and sea lions, produce their young as in previous years, only to starve when they find their prey moved to cooler water or reproduced earlier and further north. Birds nest to find their food source is now out of sync with their time line having peaked weeks earlier.
That extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe should be obvious. The melting of the polar ice caps and Greenland ice sheet and threat of sea level rise to island nations and low lying cities and lands should raise a red flag.
The Paris Climate Accord was a long delayed and insufficient start. But even this inadequate response is threatened by self-serving, short sighted deniers such as President Trump and his cabinet.
The United States military has concluded that the biggest threat to the country is from climate change. Extreme weather events like drought and flooding are uprooting large populations. The resulting displacement, suffering, joblessness, and starvation are feeding extremist groups and ideologies. Virtually all of the problems facing this country
and the world are being exacerbated by climate change. Trump has said this is bunk and plans to punish and replace our military leaders with those in agreement with his distorted views. It is not surprising that he has not bothered to attend intelligence briefings. After all, he knows more than anyone in the intelligence community.
Any international Trade agreements should only be accepted if the following criteria are met. These would be monitored for compliance.
1.) Environmental safeguards and standards are required and monitored. Protecting and enhancing the environment as well as combatting and preventing global climate change is expected.
2.) Workers in all signatory countries will be provided a decent living wage and safe working conditions.
3.) Workers will be provided adequate health care access.
These criteria would ensure a balanced playing field and would help prevent loss of employment opportunities in any of the signatory countries, including the U.S., while protecting the environment and workers and saving the planet. This would be a win-win-win situation; a win for working conditions around the world; a win for U.S. workers; and a win for the environment.
Once upon a time Native Americans realized they were part of nature and respected the environment and all animals. Then we white men came, thought we were separate from and decided to conquer nature and ruined everything. I ask you who were and are the more civilized?
Humans in their blissful denial are giving lemmings a bad name. We are all on a driverless train speeding down an ever steepening mountain heading toward a cliff.
Or, in actuality, we have already plunged off that cliff and are in free fall enjoying the feeling of weightlessness and the wind in our face like a dog with his head out the car window. No worries till we hit the ground.