It’s been a rough week. Well, really it’s been a rough 15 days. Since Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, it seems that there hasn’t been a single second where news outlets haven’t lit up with 100 “Breaking” headlines, announcing a new executive order, a new word (?), or a new “massacre.” No matter which side you fall on politically, there has been enough news to keep you talking non-stop. And chances are while you were distracted by the talk of “alternative facts” and what the difference between refugees and illegal immigrants actually is, you might not have been paying attention to the few things Trump has done that impact the environment.
Yes, the environment, that old thing that Trump said we should “save a little bit” of – that is, if it doesn’t interfere with business in any way. In case you have, indeed, missed it, here’s a quick recap of what’s gone down so far:
On the day of his inauguration, the Trump administration removed all mention of climate change from the White House website. January 23rd, all grants and hiring efforts were frozen at the EPA, stalling the agency’s work. The following day, Trump signed two executive orders, authorizing the resumption of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. He froze the social media accounts of the National Parks Service and prohibited the USDA from releasing any public-facing documents. Later that week, the President declared he would, in fact, be building “the wall” between the U.S. and Mexico, which would not only be horrible on a human level but would negatively impact countless species who traverse these borders. The GOP also moved to invalidate the Endangered Species Act, set a motion in action to sell off National Lands to private buyers (this was shut down, TG), and repealed The Stream Protection Rule that prevented coal mining waste from being dumped into nearby rivers and streams.
So off to a strong start, huh?
Well, if you’re starting to wake up in a cold sweat like we are … we mean, um, like someone we know is … don’t panic. We have a few trusty tips that you can tuck into your eco-warrior tool belt, courtesy of author Gene Stone. In his recent book, The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen, Stone dives into a few key things that you can do to protect the environment during the next four years. We had a strong feeling you could use something positive to latch onto right about now, so here’s what Stone recommends you can do!
Join an Organization
You might not have the know-how or the time to halt some of the worst environmental assaults wrought by the removal of protective legislation and regulations – but there are people who have made their life’s work just this. Here are a few organization Stone suggests you throw your weight behind:
- The National Resources Defense Council
- League of Conservation Voters
- Audobon Society
- Sierra Club
- The Wilderness Society
- BlueGreen Alliance
He also mentions you should look for local grassroots organizations in your home state.
Whether you commit to an hour, a weekend, or an entire month, time spent volunteering is invaluable. Help be the change in your area by cleaning up a beach, creating a hiking trail, or stuffing envelopes. Try Idealist to find opportunities near you, or look try the National Parks Service.
Contact Your Politicians
It’s time to get to know your representatives! Give them a call, write them a letter, or send an email. Tell them your stance on climate change, hold them accountable for bills that are up for review, and most importantly let them know how you feel about the actions they take. It takes five fingers to make a fist, so get your friends and neighbors involved – politicians listen to the people who elect them.
Petitions are a great way to add your voice to a cause. They put pressure on lawmakers and are very easy for you to complete. Keep an eye on One Green Planet articles and social media for petitions related to environmental issues – and don’t forget to share once you sign!
Take a Hike
If you don’t get a daily dose of nature, it’s time you started. People are more willing to protect the things they love – and all it takes is one brilliant experience in the middle of the woods, a quiet park, or garden to remind yourself that there is so much worth fighting for.
If you’re looking to get more informed about the issues facing our planet and its inhabitants, Stone suggests the following books:
- The Climate Change Playbook: 22 Systems Thinking Games for More Effective Communication about Climate Change by Dennis Meadows, Linda Booth Sweeney, and Gillian Martin Mehers
- This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
For more tips to fight back against Trump’s other policies, turn to The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen.
Image source: beer worawut/Shutterstock