The Unlikely Path To Less Carbon …
Last week, The Donald won the election but not the popular vote. Days later, membership in the Sierra Club exploded faster than any time in its 124 year history. The country’s oldest and most iconic environmental preservation group is now more than 2.5 million members strong with considerably greater reach.
Maybe it was because most sane people, and even some Trump voters, know that science has no agenda. They listen to climatologists, not lobbyists. Maybe it’s because they love the great outdoors, or they want to preserve our biosphere for future generations. Or maybe it’s because Mother Nature is the original nasty woman, and whether you accept the reality of climate change or not, she always bats last.
Sadly, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Trump is looking to run the country from his gilded New York City penthouse, sending his proxy to Washington via Mike Pence, who has already begun to seize executive power Dick Cheney-style (only his war is against women and he’s a much bigger dick.) Trump will also look to white supremacist, Steve Bannon, as senior policy whisperer. And because, in Trumplandia, conflicts of interest only apply to everyone else, our new Commander-In-Chief will be relying on fracking billionaire – and yuge campaign contributor, Harold Hamm, to head the Department of Energy transition team. He’s also considering Sarah “I can see Russia!” Palin for Secretary of the Interior. No joke. But, in perhaps what is the most egregious pick of all, Trump has named chief climate denier, old King Coal himself, Myron Ebell, to dismantle the EPA and overturn Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Windmills, Not Windbags
Thankfully, the world does not revolve around Trump Tower. The next four years will be rough, regardless of how many evil clowns Trump sends to Washington. No amount of dark money poured into GOP coffers, no degree of economic protectionism, will insulate his administration from global market forces. Trump will be compelled to follow the money. It won’t serve him to sit on his tiny hands and bet the entire U.S. energy future on extreme fossil fuel extraction while the rest of the world laps us in the development of sustainable energy.
This is what Climate Policy Change looks like. Marrakech, November 2016
Should the Trump administration shun the Paris Agreement, should they renege on U.S. commitments, and ramp up fracking and Arctic Drilling, his government will be sued, and then there’s every possibility that the invisible hand of the free market will give him the finger. Trump may want to believe there’s a growing taste for coal, fracked gas and more carbon, but better, cheaper, more efficient alternatives already exist. The rest of the world’s markets are reshaping and retooling, surging forward on renewable energy, decoupling their economies from a rapidly diminishing supply of fossil fuels, and they recognize the clear danger of Trump’s ideas about energy.
The Donald has promised a lot of people a lot of jobs, and I can’t help but wonder, where does he think the best-paying, most secure and desirable incomes will come from? The clean energy sector has grown despite all the Republican efforts to squelch it. That says a lot about the strength, resiliency and sustainability of the clean energy market. To borrow that over-employed phrase, it seems like it’s already baked in.
UN Secretary-General BanKiMoon said he is “optimistic” that Donald Trump can be “made to see reason.” (I know, LOL, right?) Nevertheless, he asserts, “I believe that he understands that there are market forces already at work on this issue. And we need to harness these forces for good of the planet and all the species in this planet.”
Environmental activists are now striving to take the longview, and to not be discouraged – or worse – distracted by the present sideshow that is American politics. My only hope is that we can rely on the rule of law. Ours is a great Republic, and citizens should be able to look to the law to provide reasonable checks and balances for the powers that be. In the fight to conserve our natural resources, the courts have often served as the last bastion of protection for environmental human rights.
Still, I feel sick when I see what the orange menace is plotting. I’m repulsed by the small-mindedness under which he operates, and by how he and his crew of deplorables want to devalue important, vaunted U.S. institutions like the EPA. Sure, I know the fight for climate is a long one, longer and more complex than any one U.S. presidency. Plus, I refuse to be cowed by bullies. I also know I’m not alone. Think about Sierra.
Think Global, Act Fast
Maybe you will Stand With Standing Rock and the Sioux Nation’s right to protect sacred water. Perhaps you side with Senator Sanders and the Climate Revolution? No matter how you contribute to the climate movement, we need to work smarter and faster, and we need good quality information. Not all news is created equal and some actions are more powerful than others. Here are a bunch of trusted resources. I share them in the hopes that they might help you in your efforts — solidarity!
For Climate, Fight Fracking
PA AgainstFracking: Broad, statewide coalition of groups and individual members across Pennsylvania who are in support of stopping fracking through a statewide moratorium.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Non-profit, membership organization dedicated to addressing “the issues, actions, regulations, legislation, policies, programs and decisions that impact the health of our Delaware River Watershed waterways and our ability to protect and restore them for the benefit of all.”
Food and Water Watch: National group led by Winonah Hauter, leading public interest advocates and author of Frackopoly. FWW champions healthy food and clean water for all. Join FWW’s Clean Energy Revolution or help Ban Fracking Everywhere. Busy local chapters such as Food Water Watch in Philadelphia, Pa. love to hear from volunteers, will gladly put you to work!
Sierra Club: Longtime conscientious objector to fossil fools, this group simply wants to #LeaveItInTheGround.
Friends of the Earth: Global network of more than two million activists in 75 different countries. Several U.S. offices advocate in the halls of Congress, in state capitals, and with community groups around the country. Online petitions.
Earth Justice: Because the Earth obviously needs a good lawyer.
NextGen Climate: Founder, Tom Steyer, believes Climate Change is the most pressing issue of our time. Nextgen actively seeks to engage voters.
News & Information:
StateImpactPA / NPR: https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Don Hopey: http://www.post-gazette.com
PA Against Fracking Newsroom: http://www.paagainstfracking.org/newsroom/
ClimateWire by EENews: http://www.eenews.net/cw
Democracy Now, Amy Goodman: http://www.democracynow.org/
DeSmog Blog: http://www.desmogblog.com/
PA Environmental Digest: Environmental news and headlines: http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/
The Berks Gas Truth: Regularly updated links to headlines across Pennsylvania covering the great fracking divide: http://paper.li/BerksGasTruth/1369451548#!all
Delaware Riverkeeper’s Blog, Maya van Rossum is an environmental champion, attorney and organizer: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/blog/
Laura Legere, freelance journalist: https://twitter.com/LauraLegere
Oil Change International: http://priceofoil.org/
Follow Sierra’s Executive Director, Michael Brune, on facebook and feel like a climate insider: https://www.facebook.com/michael.brune.9
Protecting Our Waters: Northeastern U.S. water advocates: https://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/
Raging Chicken Press, Refreshingly left, entirely raw truth spoken here: http://ragingchickenpress.org/
@fractivista, all the #fracking headlines I can find, and why you should read on: https://twitter.com/Fractivista
The Onion, because sometimes you just have to laugh: http://www.theonion.com/
List by no means comprehensive, please feel free share your favorite resources and organizations in the Comments.