New Year’s resolutions for the planet
It’s been a while since I posted. Over three months, in fact. After the last post, activism became of primary importance. There was so much to be done, so fast.
But after the election? Well, to be honest, I struggled with what to put in black and white.
I thought about a run-down of Trump’s cabinet nominees, like climate change denier Scott Pruitt for head of the Environmental Protection Agency. But if you’re here, you probably already know who they are and why each of them are bad news for the environment. (Although if you’re interested, I’d be happy to show you one of the first eight versions of this post.)
I considered explaining that getting all knotted up about the cabinet really isn’t necessary when Congress seems to have the political will and the numbers, all by itself, to roll back the last eight years of progress on climate policy and environmental protection. (And if you think that’s hyperbole, consider what they did to health care in one night’s worth of voting.)
I even mulled over laying out the argument that the U.S. has not gone far enough or fast enough in the last 20-30 years, and that this foot-dragging, along with that of other developed countries, means that we are already behind the eight ball, a situation currently proposed Trump administration policies will make exponentially worse. And, yes, I’ve seen the argument for the conclusion that this cabinet roster is “not that bad” for the environment, but those arguments involve being more trusting than I, for one, feel is acceptable.
But in the end, I realized that all this stuff you’re probably already aware of means that none of us, not a single person, can justify sitting on the sidelines any longer. If you drink water, if you breathe air, if you eat, if you have children or grandchildren, this is your fight. And while recycling and changing lightbulbs are great, it’s going to take a lot more than that.
We need aggressive, decisive, large-scale collective action. We are already seeing some of that in pipeline protests and the like, but DON’T STOP READING! Just because you don’t want to or can’t take chunks of time out of your life to live in a protest camp doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the solution. That brought me to one simple question:
“What do we—what can we—do now?”
Here are three things you can start doing now, right this second, and carry on with throughout 2017 and beyond.
- Get involved in the political process. If you can run for office and fight this madness from the inside, then run. But at least vote in every election, on every referendum, on every amendment. There is no room for apathy. What’s more, tell candidates why you will or will not be voting for them. Tell elected officials which measures you want them to support or oppose and why. Go where they will be and talk to them, call them, email them, write letters, post on their social media accounts, whatever it takes to get their attention. Find your federal elected officials here and your local ones through your Supervisor of Elections’ website or here. If there’s any progress that can be made (or any success in preventing harm) in the next four years, it’s likely to be at the local level. Like us on Facebook and follow on Twitter. That’s where we update about the latest political and environmental issues, fights, involvement opportunities, and tips for living green. And don’t forget the events calendar!
- Get involved in your community. There are advocacy groups and action networks all around you: Riverkeepers, Land Trusts, conservation groups, ocean protectors, waste warriors, pollution fighters, regenerative soil and sustainable agriculture advocates. Google them. Find them. Join them. And don’t limit yourself to cause-specific groups. Join general social groups and use that platform to educate people on the environment who may not have been tuned in to such issues before. Dispel myths, correct inaccuracies, help them understand why the situation is so urgent.
- Make your life and choices reflect your convictions. Feel strongly about reducing dependence on fossil fuels? Want to help conserve water, reduce pesticide pollution, help the U.S. move away from damaging industrial agriculture practices like monocropping, and more? Easy. Eat less meat. Shocked at how much water Americans waste? Get rid of your lawn. Learn how to use reclaimed water. While you’re at it, ditch the toxic products, stop buying plastic, change your mantra from “disposable” to “sustainable.” Live your life with the courage of your convictions. We can help with that.
There’s enough for each of us to do in our own individual lives to keep us all busy the whole year making a collective difference. That’s what it’s going to take, from the bottom up, because the top’s—well, you know.
What have you resolved to do this year for the future of our planet? What are your thoughts about the environment in the current political climate? Your concerns? Please share in the comments!