Daily Engagement: What You Can Do to Oppose Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt’s Impending Environmental Regressions

Daily Engagement is a new, brief, daily feature on Flavorwire. It’s aimed at helping people feel somewhat less helpless and hopeless (or at least in control of their helplessness and hopelessness) in the midst of a political news cycle that’s been doling out daily affronts to human decency.

Every day, we’ll post one easy thing that people can do to continue to resist the current state of politics under the Trump administration, focusing on the creative ways (we are a culture website after all) that citizens are finding to resist.

What’s the issue? 

Scott Pruitt, the 13x Environmental Protection Agency-suing former Oklahoma Attorney General — who is now, of course, the head of the agency that regulates greenhouse gas output — has just declared on CNBC’s aptly titled Squawk Box that he “would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” This paragon of capitalistic idiocy arrives, you’ll probably note (if you’re reading this anywhere next to a window), at the same time that an abnormally early spring is being felt across the eastern United States. Scientists are attributing it to climate change — something that likewise shouldn’t surprise anyone who isn’t trying to capitalize on global destruction or deny that it’s happening for political reasons. As NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated back in January, according to the New York Times, “The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”

Pruitt’s statement is scary because of impending plans for the release of another well-done-steak-with-ketchup packed-turd executive order from the White House — one that’ll allegedly attempt to roll back the Clean Power Plan, which was originally proposed by the EPA and put into action by Obama in 2015. It’s the first plan that limits carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In an article about Pruitt’s recent comments, NPR notes:

The view that CO2 is a major heat-trapping gas is supported by reams of data, included data collected by government agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Beyond mere comments, of course, there are already unsettling actions being taken to restructure the EPA towards climate change denial. The New York Times reports that Pruitt has hired Ryan Jackson, former chief of staff of climate-change denier Senator James Inhofe, to play the same role under him in the EPA, and Byron Brown — also from Inhofe’s staff — will be joining as Jackson’s deputy. A fossil fuel lobbyist is in the running to become Pruitt’s own deputy. 

As the Washington Post notes, one of Pruitt’s former lawsuits against the EPA was actually about the Clean Power Plan. The plan’s goal, per Gizmodo, “is to cut carbon emissions in the US to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, by targeting greenhouse gas-spewing coal and gas-fired power plants.”

Pruitt’s predecessor said in the Post:

When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high. Preventing the greatest consequences of climate change is imperative to the health and well-being of all of us who call Earth home. I cannot imagine what additional information the Administrator might want from scientists for him to understand that.

But it seems most likely that what Pruitt and Trump want is no additional information at all. They are smart enough not to deny climate change for ideological reasons — the denial, rather, comes at the crony capitalist benefit of the fossil fuel industry (let’s not forget that until 2016, our current secretary of state was the CEO of ExxonMobil). Yet somehow this administration is even worse in their climate discourse than oil companies. Per the Atlantic:

Even the oil companies, who stand to be most harmed by the regulation of greenhouse gases, have come to accept the science. In its official statement on climate change, Exxon Mobil says: “The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect.”

What you can do

It seems there’s little we can do to stop Donald Trump from releasing his damnable executive orders; as we saw after the widely combatted “Muslim ban,” all of the outpour from civilians and ultimately the courts couldn’t prevent him from tailoring a second. However, the very fact that he was inconvenienced — and so vastly opposed — into diluting his first order is something, and in a long game of opposition, continuing to rally to give this administration as hard a time of destroying the world as possible is key.

Science marches have been planned worldwide for the week of April 22, which is Earth Day; find the nearest to you and plan on attending. (The Resistance Calendar is a really helpful tool; the March for Science itself, meanwhile, has a map of 360 satellite marches corresponding with the Washington, D.C. protest.)

Also, do you have a member of Congress who’s been on the fence about — or in total denial of — climate change? Call their office; we might sound like a broken record saying this, but this is one of the most effective ways of getting a point across to Congress, particularly in moments of mass opposition. If you don’t know where your congress members stand, Organizing for Action has a helpful list of climate change deniers in Congress who you can call out.  You can also sign the petition against “Trump’s anti-environment agenda” on the League of Conservation Voters’ website, and sign up to get updates and action alerts from organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund. You can donate to 350.org, an “international effort to raise awareness of the need to decrease carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.” That organization is behind the People’s Climate March on Washington — which you can also plan for (it’ll take place on April 29.)

In light of all of this, Bernie Sanders has released a talk on Facebook about how to combat climate change at a local level; check it out here.  Notably, 350.org also has a helpful world map of local efforts in which to get involved. Beyond that, there are things you can do on a personal level to reduce your own carbon footprint.