Imagine a leader who was ignorant of the fact that all wealth and prosperity ultimately comes from the Earth.
Imagine a leader who chose to ignore all of the scientific warnings about what we are doing to the earth by continuing to release unprecedented amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
Imagine a leader whose actions reflect the wishes of the oil and gas industry while ignoring the effects on local communities and ordinary people.
Tragically, we don’t have to look very far:
- President Donald Trump is attempting to withdraw a rule that is intended to protect U.S. waters. If the rule is repealed, the drinking-water supply of 117 million Americans will be threatened.
- Oil and gas companies will no longer be required to report on the amount of methane (a greenhouse gas with a pound-for-pound impact 25 times greater than carbon dioxide) being released into the atmosphere.
- Fuel-efficiency standards are being rolled back despite the fact that the transportation sector accounts for one-third of the carbon dioxide being released in the U.S.
- Proposed budget cuts to the EPA would de-fund much of the climate change research currently underway and wipe out efforts to monitor the effects of carbon dioxide emissions.
- The budget also seeks to reduce by half funds for the Clean Air Act that is intended to reduce air pollution.
- Trump signed an executive order allowing coal and oil companies to drill on federal lands including national parks and monuments.
- Trump has ordered the EPA to back away from legal arguments that prevent coal-fired power plants from releasing toxic chemicals including mercury, lead, arsenic and other pollutants into waterways. An EPA analysis concluded that the regulation would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year.
- Trump has signed a joint House/Senate resolution that targets wolves and bears in Alaskan national wildlife refuges. The joint resolution repealed a rule that prohibited shooting or trapping wolves while in their dens with pups and killing bear cubs or bear mothers with cubs.
- Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator, rejected a decade-old petition asking the agency to ban all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which scientists say is associated with brain damage in children and farm workers, even at low exposures. Pruitt did this against the advice of his own agency’s chemical-safety experts.
- The EPA, under Pruitt’s direction, has also ended the Climate Adaptation Program, which was dedicated to helping state and local governments adapt to climate change.
- The Army Corps of Engineers reversed itself and approved the Dakota Access pipeline, rejecting arguments by tribal governments that the pipeline would threaten drinking water. Meanwhile, the State Department issued a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Profound lack of understanding
Trump’s actions during his first 100 days reflect a profound lack of understanding regarding our total dependence upon the natural systems of the Earth.
The earth is central to all human activity. There is no music or literature without the Earth. There is no business, industry or technology without the Earth. There is no sacred scripture without the earth. There are no babies without the earth. There is no stock market or GDP without the earth. We have no future for our children and grandchildren without the earth. Neither technology nor any type of scientific breakthrough can replace the earth.
To accept the premise that the Earth is a central concern does not mean that you must change your religious beliefs. It does mean that we recognize the earth as a sacred gift from God. That doesn’t mean that we worship the Earth as God. It does mean that we care deeply for this sacred gift above all other gifts.
Our fate, as humans, is inextricably connected to the Earth.