by Casey Pease
CDM Environmental Caucus Chair
Donald Trump has been inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. What many of us feared has now become a stark reality.
Everyone around the world is wondering what a Trump presidency will mean, and what policies Trump will pursue, and which campaign promises he will follow.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine exactly what is going through Trump’s mind and what, if any, ideologies he follows, but we can get a good idea of what to expect based off the cabinet he is appointing and his alarming executive orders.
For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt, the attorney general from Oklahoma and an avid skeptic of global warming, as well as a leader in the opposition to President Obama’s climate plan. Pruitt also has dedicated a chunk of his career fighting the EPA – the very agency he’s about to lead.
For the Department of Energy, Trump has nominated Rick Perry, who infamously could not remember the department's name when listing off bureaucracies he wanted to get rid of.
Within his first few days as president, Trump signed executive order after executive order aimed at dismantling the EPA, ridding government websites of climate change information and data, putting gag orders on numerous government organizations including the EPA, National Park Service, and NASA. He has also made promises to open federal lands to oil and gas drilling and continues to eliminate many of President Obama’s actions on climate change.
If you aren’t alarmed, you should be.
Environmentalists must brace ourselves for many tough fights and be willing to put more time and activism into our work on a level that has never been seen in U.S. history.
The strategy for protecting our environment and advancing legislation that addresses climate change will require immense public pressure. A mobilization of environmentalists will be needed to call our members of Congress to block as many destructive policies and administration nominees as possible. And to be clear, this effort will require a bold and aggressive alliance between activists, elected officials, environmental organizations, and concerned citizens.
Protecting the environment and fighting against climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. To ignore or rollback action on our environment and climate change is highly irresponsible and dangerous to our future. However, our effort cannot solely be playing defense when our moral responsibility requires us to shovel through the banks of ignorance and defend our planet from her demise.
While any national effort to combat climate change is unlikely, states must assume leadership in preventing catastrophic climate disruption. Massachusetts has the ability to play a leading role in this effort, by passing legislation that will transition us to 100% clean and renewable energy as well as incorporating climate justice principles. If enough activists work together and pressure our elected officials, these goals can be accomplished.
With that, here are some important actions that can be taken:
Volunteering: Your time and effort is needed to volunteer with environmental advocacy groups as well as political campaigns that will fight for climate polices and clean energy. Take time to call your representatives and send them a letter/email. Take time to knock on doors and make phone calls for candidates who’ll support aggressive climate policies. Sign up to volunteer with the CDM Environmental Caucus and help take part in our weekly actions!
Donating: If you have the the ability, organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club do incredible work advocating and protecting our environment.
Demonstrations: Part of our advocacy must be to show the administration and others in positions of power that We the People are demanding action; that we are organized, active, and won’t back down.