I frequently find myself in conversations with Trump supporters regarding one of the most pressing issues — climate change and the environment. Donald Trump wholeheartedly believes climate change is a hoax (even though it’s real, and not in the reality TV kind of way). Some of his supporters don’t believe it either, some think technology is advancing quickly enough to save us, and others never gave it much thought. But one thing they all have in common is that they always rebuttal my factual opinion (because only in the U.S. is climate change an opinion) with the question, “HoW iS hE RUiNiNG tHE pLANET?” As if I won’t have the facts to back up my statement.

During his first term, Donald Trump harmed Mother Earth and contributed to climate change. By actively defunding and de-regulating, Trump has endangered our wildlife, clean water, air quality, and public land.

So, let’s see how he is ruining the planet and how Joe Biden plans to offset this damage.

WILDLIFE

Have you ever watched the Lion King and realized its messages? Arguably the most powerful one is the emphasis on the circle of life. To respect wildlife and your environment, because it’s essential for all life.

Mufasa understood this and set limits to what the lions could take. That’s why the Promise Land was lush and bountiful; every animal was happy. When Scar was in power, he excessively took what he wanted with the hyenas (in our situation, the oil companies) and ruined the Promise Land. I don’t think Donald Trump ever watched The Lion King or understood the message within it. Because he genuinely disregards the benefits of wildlife to human life.

A handful of companies are now approved to use blasting to search for underwater oil and gas deposits. The noises from the blast disorient marine animals that use sonar to communicate and kill plankton. Phytoplankton, a type of plankton that is the foundation for many food chains, photosynthesizes with the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide to create oxygen. If they are killed at alarming rates, carbon dioxide will rise in both the atmosphere and ocean, causing warmer temperatures.

Unfortunately, marine animals aren’t the only ones feeling the wrath of Donald Trump. This administration threatens endangered species, birds, and even animals in other countries because of the following:

  • Eased restrictions that were set to protect endangered species’ habitat to now allow mining and drilling.
  • Drastic changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that weakened protections for threatened species and now allow federal agencies to gauge if species are worth saving (economically speaking).
  • Companies that install large wind turbines, construct power lines or leave oil exposed no longer violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act if they kill birds with their activities.
  • Granted 3 permits to import critically endangered black rhino trophies.

WATER

Clean water is a fundamental human right and necessity. Unfortunately, one in three people worldwide do not have access to it. To me, it seems like the Trump administration would like to increase that statistic and make clean drinking water less accessible.

According to The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international nonprofit environmental organization:

“The Stream Protection Rule was set in place to greater responsibility on mining companies for damage to streams from destructive mountaintop removal operations.  It also requires testing and monitoring of areas that could be affected by mining. Over the next two decades, the rule was projected to safeguard 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest from pollution by coal companies.”

Trump overturned that law and the Clean Water Act making it easier for non-renewable energy companies and developers to pollute public waterways. The laws he changed:

  • Reduced the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) control over regulating water toxins like mercury
  • Declared multiple waterways not a part of the U.S
  • Blocked states’ and the EPA from revoking permits
  • Weakened toxic metal pollution regulations for coal plants
  • Made it easier for wastewater treatment plants to release raw sewage into waterways
  • Developed loopholes for corporations to dump toxic waste through groundwater 

AIR

Clean air is essential to our wellbeing; air pollutants contribute to asthma, period pain, lung cancer, and lower productivity. People living in lower-income communities and urban areas are disproportionately exposed to higher levels of air pollution from cars, factory emissions, toxic waste dumps, and lack of air-filtering green spaces. That’s why our government needs to limit and control the pollutants we release into the air.

Sadly, the government is ignoring public health and making it easier for companies to pollute the air by:

  • Saying goodbye to The Clean Power Plan. This plan required the energy sector to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030 and would have substantially improved air quality and people’s health. Trump’s reason was that it places unfair burdens on the power sector. But wouldn’t you say by doing this, he placed unfair burdens on communities?
  • Throwing away the rule Once In, Always In (OIAI); a requirement that made corporations that polluted over the legal limit to match the lowest levels set by their industry peers. Always. 
  • Trump’s Department of Transportation and EPA capped their target to get cars made after 2012 at 34 miles per gallon by 2021. It was previously set to 54 miles per gallon by 2025. If the target remained the same, people would need less gas to fuel their cars and save money. It’d be a win-win except for the oil companies’ bottom lines.

LAND

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two national monuments located in Utah, serve to protect the national parks’ they surround, fight light pollution, and are essential migration routes for wildlife. These national lands hold even more importance as they are considered sacred Native American land. Researchers have also discovered new dinosaur species and other significant fossils here. But that didn’t stop Donald Trump from enacting the largest reduction of public lands protections in U.S. history — around 2 million acres of land. His intentions are purely profit-driven as these natural, beautiful areas are now susceptible to destruction from mining and drilling companies. 

Simultaneously, he lifted the regulation for motorized off-trail riding — which can destroy habitat, scare away native species, and put park rangers and visitors in heightened danger.

As president, Donald Trump increased the logging limits by 30 percent on public lands to prevent wildfires. Sure, it may be an easy, familiar solution, but it’s not the best solution nor an innovative, sustainable one you’d expect from a “businessman”. It fails to look at the situation from a holistic perspective — that deforestation is the number one contributor to climate change, and climate change intensifies natural disasters like wildfires.

LITTLE WINS

With all of our government’s defunding efforts, companies like Patagonia stepped up and donated.

@graphicsandgrain

BIDEN PROMISES

These past four years felt as if Mother Earth was experiencing the most terrible retrograde — a Trump retrograde. So much division and chaos. Good news — we’re close to elections! With the presidential debates on their way, it’s time to learn how Joe Biden plans to tackle our environments’ most pressing issues if he were to become president (fingers crossed).

So far, Biden has stepped up by signing the No Fossil Fuel Funding pledge. He is proving to our country that he will be a president for the people, doing what the people want. Rather the other way around. And as the president, Biden promises and proposes to:

  • Pass emissions limits and enforcements that require polluters to bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they emit. 
  • Pay farmers to use farming techniques that store carbon in the soil. #nofarmersnofood
  • Invest $2 trillion in a massive green jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure.
  • End the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035. 
  • Bring the country to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by no later than 2050.
  • Sparking the second great railroad revolution — a clean, safe, and fast rail system that will reduce pollution, connect workers to good union jobs, and slash commute times.
  • Protecting biodiversity, slowing extinction rates, and helping leverage natural climate solutions by conserving 30% of the United States’ lands and waters by 2030.
  • Banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters. 

Here you can read through all of Joe Biden’s action plans.

Trump is anti-planet earth and pro-profit over people. Joe Biden isn’t, and he’s made that clear with his proposals. So before we debate with Trump supporters about the environment, let us learn about it first.

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