This Is How We Fight Back

The Peoples Climate Movement showed that we will not accept Trump’s attacks on our environment, our health, and our future.
Credit: Bobby Bruderle

The Peoples Climate Movement showed that we will not accept Trump’s attacks on our environment, our health, and our future.

On Saturday, I marked the hundredth day of Donald Trump’s presidency by marching against the reckless and radical assault he’s launched against our environment, our health, and our children’s future.

I joined students and seniors, moms and dads, indigenous communities, people of color, scientists, artists―citizens of conscience, conviction, and common sense marching as part of the international Peoples Climate Movement.

We numbered in the hundreds of thousands, marching in Washington, Pittsburgh, and Detroit; in Akron and Miami; in Chicago, Houston, and Tulsa; and in hundreds of other cities and towns across this country and around the world.

Saturday’s march was about more than sheer numbers. It was about momentum, the surging force of opposition to Trump’s extremist agenda to put polluter profits first and put the rest of us at risk.

Fighting back is vital. Trump is counting on us to grow tired, lose steam, and stop keeping track of all he’s doing to put our future at growing risk. He wants us to be distracted. He wants us to look the other way while he tries to walk back decades of bipartisan environmental progress.

Just the day before the march, Trump issued a sweeping executive order aimed at exposing precious Arctic and Atlantic waters to the risk of a BP-style blowout at sea. He called for weakening measures that help protect whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life from often lethal damage from industrial sonic blasts used to support offshore oil and gas drilling. He took aim at national monuments and marine sanctuaries that protect critical ocean habitat. And he ordered a review of the safety rules put in place after the BP blowout that killed 11 workers and dumped millions of barrels of toxic crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico seven years ago last month.

Whatever we voted for in November, nobody voted to ignore the lessons learned from the worst offshore oil disaster in our nation’s history and dishonor the memory of the lives we lost. We didn’t vote, as a nation, to open up Arctic waters to environmental catastrophe at the hands of a rapacious industry that has proved it’s no match for that harsh yet fragile environment. And we certainly didn’t vote to expose the Eastern Seaboard to the kind of devastation the BP blowout brought to coastal wetlands and shores spreading out for more than 1,000 miles―the distance from Savannah to Boston.

For that matter, nobody gets a green light for continued destruction to the Gulf of Mexico, either. No people have paid a higher price for our national addiction to oil and gas than the residents of the Gulf coast, where scores of thousands owe their livelihood to healthy Gulf waters and all they support.

The oil and gas industry leases enough Gulf seabed in U.S. waters to cover the state of West Virginia. Trump wants the industry to expand even more. That’s the wrong direction. We need to draw the line on new leases in the Gulf and instead begin a just transition out of fossil fuel production in those fertile waters.

Trump’s attack on our oceans and all the marine life they support was a sorry capstone to a hundred days of menace. He’s squandered precious time trying to roll back the vital gains we’ve made safeguarding the wetlands and streams that feed our drinking water sources, protecting coal communities from the ravages of mountaintop obliteration, creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs, and defending future generations from the growing dangers of climate change by cleaning up our cars and dirty power plants.

Saturday we showed, in numbers too great to ignore, that we’ll rise up together to resist these attacks―on the streets, in the halls of power, and in our courts.

Credit: Bobby Bruderle

We can all help right now by signing this petition letting Trump know directly that we support the Clean Power Plan, which will cut the dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants nearly one-third by 2030. In the United States, power plants account for nearly 40 percent of the carbon pollution that’s driving global climate change.

We can let Trump know, too, that we’ll stand up to protect our oceans from needless oil and gas risk. And we can let him know it’s time to stop selling off federal lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry and to invest instead in clean, renewable power from the wind and sun.

The science is clear: To avert the worst impacts of rising seas, widening deserts, blistering heat, withering drought, and other types of climate disruption, we have to reduce our carbon footprint, in this country and around the world.

That’s why the 2015 agreement the United States helped to forge in Paris is so important. It groups the United States, China, India, Germany, and more than 190 other countries in an accord that calls for a just and orderly shift away from the dangerous fossil fuels that are driving global climate change and toward cleaner, smarter ways to power our future without imperiling the planet.

This very week, Trump and senior aides are reportedly debating whether to scrap the Paris Agreement and walk away from American climate and clean energy leadership around the world.

That’s not putting America first. It’s putting fossil fuel interests in the driver’s seat and leaving the rest of the country behind.

We won’t stand for that, either. Not on our watch.

We’ll march again for justice. We’ll march again for jobs. We’ll march again to fight the fossil fuel use that puts our future at risk. Until then, we’ll stand up and speak out as one. And together we’ll turn back Trump’s reckless assault on our environment, our health, and our children’s future.

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