How Trump’s disregard for the environment has turned south


My fists clench. My jaw tightens. A flash of red, hot anger ignites inside of me. Focusing on commercial business and defending human activities is one matter, but blatant ignorance about the world around us is completely different.

While Donald Trump may shine brightly in the eyes of some, he comes to my mind as a fairly single-minded person who often fails to see the bigger picture. Specifically, what Trump lacks to see is the ruin that he has created in the environment and how there is more to the world than our human, selfish, narrow-minded needs.

There are three main categories that people fall under when it comes to how we view the world: planetary, stewardship, and environmental wisdom worldviews. For the world’s sake, I would hope that we side with the stewardship worldview, which states that we have the ethical responsibility to be caring managers of the world.

However, despite my hopes for otherwise, Trump, along with many others, operates under the category of planetary worldview. Planetary worldview is where people believe that the Earth has no other purpose than to solely serve the human race, that resources will never run out, and that the survival of other species and health of the world is fairly irrelevant. I would’ve assumed that everyone would understand that the world was made for more than that, but Trump’s actions clearly speak otherwise.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been around for decades, operating under various administrators who have been appointed by the presidents over time. Unfortunately for the program, Trump is a skeptic of the EPA. His recent choice of administrator, Scott Pruitt, has sparked loads of negative feedback since the early spring of 2017 and, in my opinion, rightfully so.

Pruitt has argued that he believes that carbon dioxide emissions aren’t main contributors to global warming, and recently, he has been publicly outed as a climate change denier. After hearing about his beliefs, I was astounded. Despite countless efforts by the Obama administration to promote a cleaner atmosphere and despite the countless researchers who’ve studied this very issue closely to prove the existence of global warming and our role in it, Pruitt continues to undermine the looming issue that is a constant threat to our near future, seemingly supported by Trump through it all.

Although he has not clearly stated his beliefs about climate change, Trump’s actions have made his opinions apparent. His support of Pruitt, especially when the Clean Power Act was repealed, has shown a certain amount of disbelief when it comes to global warming.

Trump has criticized the idea of limiting coal-burning activities in favor of more sustainable and eco-friendly options, standing by his opinion that it is an unnecessary strain for businesses. Together, their skepticism of the rising issue also led them to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which served as a global stepping stone for a cleaner atmosphere that Obama put in place. Together, they destroyed our chance to lead the world into a more conscientious pattern of sustainability. Together, they have chosen to make ignorance a policy when it comes to environmental issues.

Besides rejecting climate change, Trump has also removed several laws that were put in place to reduce toxic pollution that negatively affected humans, animals, and the environment.

After deeming it as overregulation, Trump signed a joint resolution that eliminated the law prohibiting the dumping of mining waste into streams. In addition, he has made it his mission to relieve the coal industry and many others of the many regulations on coal and carbon dioxide emissions. In doing so, he has further contributed to the rising amounts of water pollution.

In regards to animals, Trump has made and supported many decisions that have played a role in harming species that have recently been on the downward spiral. His appointed secretary of the Interior Department, Ryan Zinke, removed a ban on lead ammunition and tackle in early spring of 2017. In defense of the ban’s removal, Zinke claimed that fishing and other similar activities “generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.” While he may be correct in that aspect, what Zinke failed to recognize was the devastating impact it would have on endangered species, specifically the California condor that has been on the brink of extinction in recent years.

Lead is incredibly toxic and has a huge neurological effect on humans, birds, and mammals; studies have shown that it is the leading cause of deaths for the California condor. The condor’s diet consists mainly of carcasses of dead animals like roadkill; therefore, if the animal was shot with lead ammunition and the condor ate the poisoned carcass, the condor would then be subject to the toxic effects of lead and unavoidable death. Because condors are a possible keystone species, their extinction would hugely disrupt the ecological balance that is centered around them. The ban on lead ammunition was set to reduce the adverse impacts of lead, but based on what Zinke has said, nothing should come in the way of human recreational activities, even the possible extinction of a keystone species.

Along with the California condor, other species like endangered sea turtles, whales, and elephants have been seriously threatened by Trump and his administration’s actions. I’m not sure how much more our world can take. Our actions now will have many repercussions later, and the sooner we realize that the sooner we can work to fix what we’ve done.

Something I think that truly speaks to the matter is something Ben Santer, a climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said of Trump’s reactions to the environmental issues, climate change in particular. “We can’t afford to reject this clear and compelling scientific evidence when we make public policy. Embracing ignorance is not an option.”

What Santer said rings as truth, and I wholeheartedly agree with him; ignorance is nothing short of failure for our country and for our world.