There was a period during the Bush II administration, when I became increasingly concerned with the environment and the imminent effects of climate change. At the time, the effects seemed like a realistic abstraction set somewhere off in sci-fi-future America, and yet here we are. I know it’s unpleasant and scary to think about, but if you asked 99% of scientists, they would resoundingly agree that it’s the single greatest existential threat to our species, notwithstanding President Trump’s access to nuclear codes.
This blog is intended to be my small part in protest against the Trump administration’s feckless abuse of executive power with the simple means of data dissemination. Recent executive actions from the White House show how they’ve sold out the streams, rivers, forests and cities to the dying fossil fuel industry. Despite the evidence, Trump is a climate change denier who has scammed the votes of the coal mining industry (among other industries such as manufacturing which suffers the same atavistic automation dilemma) exploiting the fears of these miners who may not have the time to research all of this. Many of us aren’t fooled and we have to be LOUD. Trump’s real allegiance is with the wealthy owners of the mines as well as the big oil and gas companies; the remorseless polluters.
Like many voters, the coal miners have been duped by Trump. Old coal mining jobs have been lost to automation, not government regulation or immigrant workers. Those scare tactics have the fingerprints of fear mongering nationalism and do not reflect reality. Trump and his corrupt EPA director have scaled back all of the legal safeguards that protect our air and water to maximize profit margins, and are clearly the work of K Street’s oil lobbyists. The early part of this year has witnessed a staggering amount of attempted wins for the polluters. With that said, Trump has never released his tax returns so we can only speculate on his holdings. I don’t think I’m overstating my case by labeling these crimes against the environment as seditious acts of corporate terrorism against the citizens of this country.
I’m pissed off at the people who know better but refuse to act. Every choice in the marketplace is a political action. Every vote not cast is a handing over of power to someone like EPA enemy Scott Pruitt. All politicians are not the same. We learned that the hard way this time around.
Many of society’s problems can be directly related to climate change and the scalable technology of an artificially intelligent workplace. Yet we have to ask ourselves- how do our climate policies affect the food we eat? How do they affect healthcare costs? How do environmental issues affect policing and social justice? Why are toxic waste dumps placed next to predominantly black neighborhoods? What are the xenophobes who oppose immigration going to do when the equator becomes too hot to live near?
President Richard Nixon started Earth Day in 1970 to achieve an easy win when he was getting killed by public opinion polls regarding the mess in Vietnam. The environment has only been politicized since the Reagan era of zealous deregulation, when tax cuts for the wealthy oil producers led to arms deals for foreign petrol-dictatorships. That became the dark underbelly of the conservative agenda. You can easily trace the origins of climate change denials to that period in political history. During those years the Republican party became an uneasy marriage of Evangelical Christians and big oil deregulators. In the Trump era, the Christians are out and authoritarian control of energy policy is in. That’s where the money and power is.
We have to fight back. I’m working on the environment but I encourage you to do battle on any or all of the other intimidatingly massive fronts we’ve got going right now. These issues range from attacks from women’s health (the last gasp of the religious right), immigration reform (the last gasp of the Confederacy), our racist attorney general, police brutality, social justice reform, the prison industry, illiberal authoritarian excesses, and so on.
The overarching purpose of this blog is to put the big environmental, social and economic questions to professional scientists, researchers, energy policy makers, historians, politicians, and thinkers from all walks of life. I’m trying to organize and understand all the sociopolitical data for myself, but also to disseminate it to the people who will use it in the voting booth, the marketplace, and in discussion with one another, with the hope that everyone can benefit from it.
Michael Lee Nirenberg
September 5, 2017