The physical earth that is. Since President Trump took office on January 20th, he has taken the country by storm. He has signed 17 executive orders so far. So far, not all of them are controversial, some are even good ideas. Like the one that instructs agencies to abolish two other regulations when introducing a new one. Or the one where he directs the Secretary of Defense to draw up a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS. A few, like the travel ban and suspension of the refugee program, have divided the country.
Everyone, even celebrities and other political leaders, has taken a stance on this new executive order. With the Superbowl, Oscars, Grammys and other awards coming up in February, I’m sure this isn’t the last we are going to hear from them.
But there is something we aren’t really talking about. How Trump’s administration is going to affect climate change and other environmental issues. I’ve done some research and I can’t find any website that hosts Trump’s up-to-date policies on environmental issues. The climate change section of the White House website has been taken down, the Environmental Protection Agency has been issued a “gag order” and had to cancel their annual conference. In the past Trump has called climate change “a hoax” and has declared war on the environment, vowing to destroy every environmental policy America has in place. He has given permission for two more pipelines to be built in the US, and pushing the Dakota Access Pipeline to start up once again.
So what can we do? Let’s face it, we aren’t superheroes, and I’m pretty positive my blog post isn’t going to change the world. A wise man once told me that if we continue to make the environment a political issue, we’re never going to solve anything. So it’s really not about protesting. Do you know how much waste political marches create? Think about the paper you are using to create signs. Think about the gas emissions you are producing in order to get to Washington. No, I don’t believe that protesting is the way to go. So far in Trump’s 13 days in office, we have seen two major, political protests. One is still going on.
So how do we change the world without getting out a marker and a piece of poster board? Well we have to think outside the political box. Take the Civil Rights Movement for example. (And I know they marched too, but take that out of the equation for just a second). Think of the bus boycott, the sit-ins, the freedom ride, the peaceful protest in Birmingham where they sang “We Shall Overcome”- these are all protests created to change peoples’ hearts and minds BEFORE marching. Driving to Washington to protest Trump’s climate change policies is all well and good, but changing people’s hearts is better. It’s about educating people on the issues and why they should care. Holding up a sign that says “Wind Power for the People” is awesome, but I can promise you it’s a waste of paper.
“So Rachel, what’s the point of your long winded post?” Well, voice inside my head, good question. I think it’s about making individual efforts to change the world instead of holding up a sign. Recycle, teach others about recycling, you and a small group hand out reusable bags outside of a grocery store. Maybe you found a car-pooling group so that you can cut one or two cars out of the daily commute. Be persistent and believe world change is possible. Giving up is not an option.
Featured photo is from the SBS website, I do not own it.