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Valuing the Environment in an Administration That Doesn't

Why social movements aren't working...yet.

By Emily GuntherPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
https://metropolisatmetrotown.com/community/environment/

It's no wonder you don't really see signs that say "Environmentalist for Trump" at certain rallies (even klan). Donald Trump pretty much stands for everything us tree huggers hate. From electing Scott Pruitt, a former Attorney General of Oklahoma who once described himself as a "Leading advocate against EPA's activist agenda" as the 14th Administrator of the EPA to tweeting about Climate Change skepticism roughly 115 times, environmentalist are at a lost for words.

While some have argued we need a larger social movement to react a change in our administration, I refute, that our want for a change and our activism is plenty large. It is those in political power that are the obvious cause for the lack of environmental progress and their stubborn need for economic supremacy that is halting the love for our planet to really be shown politically.

So we're hopeless?

The President has ‘the most extreme anti-environment agenda we have ever seen from any administration’, say critics. Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty

Arguably in this administration, possibly, but not permanently. There is a cycle that occurs when dealing with a change in social and evironmental values, which usually occurs with a change in power in the government. Typically, there two modes when it comes to a environmental movements that I've noticed and have studied. A social and activist inclination, mostly brought on by humanitarian issues or a change in political values is the first mode. Using an example of a past administration: the Bush Era. The Trump administration is highly compared to the Bush administration. Former President George Bush not only attempted to deregulate The Endangered Species Act, backed out of the Kyoto agreement, gutted sections of the Clean Air and Water Act and endorsed commercial whaling but also censored the discussion of Climate Change.

What could have been...

President George W. Bush meets with Vice President Al Gore at Gore's residence in Washington, Dec. 19, 2000. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Basically this means that there is a high need for change in political power. You never realize how bad a situation is until you've noticed how great the runner-up was. No, this is not me discussing relationship advice with a regretful married woman, this is me discussing the 2000 election. Green Party lovers and tree huggers combined are now drooling over the thought of the US having Al Gore as the President as opposed to George Bush in the early 2000s. His charismatic and brilliant lectures when dealing with Climate Change has lead to a large following of research and a want for change in political policies. While his presidential campaign may not have been successful it absolutely helped adapt the need for a social value change.

The second mode and the direction we are, with hope, headed towards would be a change in political power due to the social value change in the previous mode. Americans see just how bad an ineffective administration can be and choose to elect an official who cares about humanitarian rights and environmental progress. With continuing the cycle with our previous history example, I bring up the Obama Era.

What once was...

President Obama in Kenya discussing LGBTQ+ in the African country in 2015.

The Obama Era was the light at the end of the tunnel that environmentalist needed and a perfect representation of the second mode of the cycle. During his Presidency, Barack Obama invested in green energy, raised fuel efficiency standards, signed a ban on microbeads that are invading our waters, created a federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators, created the largest ocean sanctuary in the world, and established the America's Great Outdoors Initiative which enhances recreation opportunities and helps secure federal lands. That's not even everything he's done to help enhance and save our planet.

So basically a change in administration can cause a easy change in the environmental movement cycle based on the the active work of the administration environmentally, less about the social movement outside the government. Social values can change due to a President's lack of policies or elimination of environmental protections. A voters values can lie more heavily with environmental love once they see the frustrating treatment of nature brought on by an administration.

So what more can we do?

The People’s Climate March in New York in September 2014. John Minchillo / Climate Action Network

We are already do a lot when it comes to trying to change the social values in the community, through marches, creating articles, so what else?

If this article has (hopefully) taught you anything, its to go out and freaking VOTE! Who you vote for can make or break what happens regarding our care for our planet. 146,311,000 people are registered to vote, 218,959,000 people are eligible to vote but roughly only 132,900,200 actually participated in voting. That means 86,058,800 people did not vote when they could have. These are the people we need to direct our attention to when it comes to our movement.

EDUCATE! Specifically the youth of America. By teaching our children that the environment is connected to everything we do, and is vital for our survival, we can create a younger generation of environmentalist whom may eventually become political heads.

BE INFORMED! Learn about what you stand for, who exactly you are voting for and know what you're up against. Learn about different policies being affected by the Trump administration. For an example multiple policies have been eliminated or repealed by Scott Pruitt since his appointment as Administrator here's one:

-The Clean Power Plan is in the process as of October 10th 2017, of being repealed. This plan regulates emissions released by Power Plants. Without this regulation, Power Plants have the ability to emit way more carbon emissions and harm our air.

And finally STAY POSITIVE! It is the hope that a new generation will receive political power and this generation has the belief that our planet is something we need to save now. Stay hopeful and stay optimistic that our country will soon learn that there is no 2nd Earth to live on.

Expect the Expected

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst | Shutterstock

When dealing with a billionaire, business mogul like Donald Trump, you reach a point of pure stubbornness and selfishness. The difference between a typical politician such as Barack Obama and an alternative administrator like Trump, is business men and CEOs alike have always been looking for the self-benefit of a situation or dispute. With a topic like Climate Change there is no direct reward with policies affecting the Earth; Trump receives "nothing" in his eyes if it's not immediate glory or economic development. With an issue like global demise you do not see the benefits of regulator policies until generations to come. So for the American people to expect Trump to listen to common sense like Climate Change when it has never been in his blood, is an awful unrealistic existence.

Helpful Links!

Times Cartoon (Peter Brookes)

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/jan/16/greenpolitics-georgebush

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/climate/clean-power-plan.html

http://www.statisticbrain.com/voting-statistics/

http://environmentalhistory.org/20th-century/

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/things-obama-has-done-environment

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/dissecting-the-youth-vote/507416/

http://grist.org/briefly/trumps-environmental-executive-order-is-everything-we-feared/

activism

About the Creator

Emily Gunther

23 year old. I got a love for the planet and everything on it. I try to be funny but it probably didn't work.

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    Emily GuntherWritten by Emily Gunther

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