Fight this Hate shows a small selection of hate crimes and/or harassment that has taken place recently in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center keeps detailed accounts of hate crimes. Colorlines tracks all manner of topics related to race and publishes them daily. The following incidents are only a small sample, and each includes a form of direct action.
On the day after Earth Month 2017 ends, we take a look back at some of our latest challenges. Let’s remember that Earth Day began on April 22, 1970. We’ve been trying to focus on protecting the Earth (for the benefit of humans, of course. Earth can get along just fine without us. Maybe better.) by educating ourselves, making laws to protect our water and air, by picking up after ourselves, and remembering the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Since January 20, 2017, we have seen an unprecedented rollback in protection. Even before President Trump was sworn in (he’s been in office 100 days as of April 29), he called climate change a “hoax,” he vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, and said he would undo regulations in order to revive the fossil fuel industry. How is he doing?
On the day Trump took office, the White House website removed the page devoted to climate change action. Four days later he set into motion the undoing of regulations by signing executive orders on Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
Soon the Environmental Protection Agency removed the word “science” from its mission statement.
Trump has repealed the stream protection rule put into place during the Obama administration. The president signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Waters of the United States rule, also known as WOTUS or the Clean Water Rule.
On March 2, the Environmental Protection Agency scrapped the regulation requiring oil and gas companies to provide more detailed information about their drilling facilities, including reporting on what equipment they use and how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted.
On March 15, it was announced that the EPA would reconsider Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for some vehicles.
The next day budget slashes for the EPA were announced. If approved, hundreds of people will lose their jobs, and more than fifty programs will be cut.
On March 28, Trump signed the “Energy Independence Executive Order,” a directive that weakens many Obama-era climate and clean energy initiatives. First, the order called for a review of the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature program to fight global warming and one that was central to America’s plan to reach the goals laid out in the Paris climate agreement. The plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The executive order also reversed Obama’s moratorium on new coal mining leases on federal lands, and instructed the Department of Interior (led by former Montana congressman and climate skeptic, Ryan Zinke) to begin reviewing several regulations for oil and gas extraction on federal lands, including national parks.
The next day, March 29, the EPA elected not to ban insecticide. Late last year, and based in part on research conducted at Columbia University, EPA scientists (emphasis added) concluded that exposure to the chemical that has been in use since 1965 was potentially causing significant health consequences. They included learning and memory declines, particularly among farm workers and young children who may be exposed through drinking water and other sources.
But Dow Chemical … yes, Dow Chemical thinks otherwise. Now, so does the EPA.
On April 18, the EPA asked a federal appeals court to delay arguments over a rule that prevents coal-fired power plants from releasing toxic chemicals, including mercury, lead, arsenic and other pollutants, into the environment. In its court filing, the agency said it wants to first review the regulation as “prior positions taken by the Agency … may not necessarily reflect its ultimate conclusions after that review is complete.” An earlier 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.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, tens of thousands of people marched in support of protecting the environment in what was called the March for Science. In Portland, Oregon, Bill Nye the Science Guy spoke to crowds who had gathered in the rain. In Washington DC, one speaker said the administration “tries but fails to silence scientists.” Several contrasted rationality and scientific thought to “alternative facts,” a phrase that’s attracted popular derision since a White House aide uttered it.
There were over 600 satellite marches taking place globally. In chilly Wichita where a north wind blew, more than 1,000 people turned out to march for science. Marchers showed up around the world in Paris, Berlin, London, Dublin, Sydney, even Christchurch, New Zealand where they were the first time zone to march.
Clearly, people in other parts of the world are as concerned as we are about the damage that can be done with a few strokes of President Trump’s pen as he and his team of climate change deniers dream up more executive orders that benefit corporations over actual people.
Help Save the Water.
Save the Bees. Greenpeace is working for them. You can too.
England just had its first day without coal since the Industrial Revolution. It can happen.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.