aEach time I’ve gone to write an email since Donald Trump became President Elect this week, during the night of November 8-9, 2016, it’s been hard to know how to start. Do I acknowledge the election and express… something? No less hard here. What is clear is that making even incremental progress on global warming and all it brings will now be much more difficult is clear.
There’s Trump’s tweet from November 6, 2012, which makes his position clear.
And there’s the fact that Trump has selected Myron Ebell to lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), id est Myron Ebell who chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition that takes aim at “global warming alarmism,” id est Myron Ebell the original global warming skeptic, id est Myron Ebell who on Fox News (see here) tries to twist reality, who on Fox News (see below) is against Maryland’s “Environmental Literacy” requirement—“That’s not really education, it’s propaganda.” That pretty much clinches the main point for me, as an educator and as a scholar engaged in thinking about the Anthropocene—let’s put it clearly, Ebell (and Trump who now puts him in this new role vis-à-vis the EPA) are COMPLETELY AGAINST EDUCATION ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING AND THE ANTHROPOCENE.
And then there are, of course, Trump’s specific plans. Naomi Klein (who also criticized the positions of HRC), has studied what Trump’s arrival will likely mean for global warming, in a piece in the Nation: “Donald Trump’s Presidency Could Literally Mean the End of Their World. Island nations like Kiribati will disappear if Trump goes forward with his energy plans.” As Klein summarizes, among Trump’s immediate plans are: (1) remove any obstacles to the creation of the Keystone XL pipeline; (2) list restrictions on fossil-fuel production; (3) cancel “billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs.” This would mean that Kiribati and other low-lying islands may simply not survive. Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” is here (archived here as PDF from November 11, 2016—you never know what will disappear!).
As I probably don’t need to tell the majority of Americans who did not vote for Trump, the election of Trump should make us afraid: the posting of racist signs above water fountains, a planned KKK rally in North Carolina, widespread reports of harassment, are just some of the reasons to be afraid. It can feel mighty hard to even have a thought for global warming when so many (non-white, not-male, LGBTQ, non-Christian [which includes Atheists], not-etc.) people are indeed facing immediate threat. But it’s all connected: as Naomi Klein points out in the piece referenced above, and as the Pope did in his “Laudato Si” encyclical, and as the climate justice movement has been reminding us for a long time, the consequences of Trump’s views on global warming will not affect everyone equally: rich white men of a certain age like Trump will be okay; others won’t. Racism and sexism and hate are at the heart of global warming. Which is to say, simply, that—now more than ever—we have to look around us AND (like Anaxagoras) take a step back and look away from the city to think about our planet in the infinite void. We must do one and the other.
Recommended viewing on Trump and his "stewardship" of the planet: the film “You've been trumped.”
Project THE HUMANIST anthropocene
is a thought archive and workspace of Phillip John Usher (NYU) at the crossroads of early modern humanism and the problems and insights of the Anthropocene. Main Research Page.
ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment)
Environmental Humanities (journal)
Resilience (A Journal of the Environmental Humanities)
All text and images quoted from other sources used according to fair use. If I have used one of your images and you would like me to remove it, please email me.