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It’s been four days since the United States got a new President, and let’s just say the “peaceful” transition of power from President Obama to President Trump has been well … not so peaceful for the public. The day following the inauguration, the world saw what some are calling the largest demonstration in history in the form of the Women’s March. A key theme in this demonstration was Trump’s lack of respect for women and issues regarding women’s rights, however, there were many concerned citizens who were vocalizing their stance on Trump’s view on Climate change. Specifically, the fact that he’s just not “convinced” that Climate change is an issue caused by man-made industries. Pretty *ahem* strong (?) start to this new administration.
Unfortunately, it looks like Trump’s opinion on scientific facts isn’t relegated to his very wordy and often difficult to follow speeches, he’s turning that into action. Already, Trump has signed an executive order to move the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines forward. He also, most notably (and possibly disturbingly), has issued a gag order of sorts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the Associated Press, “The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.” Buzzfeed News released an email from Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the research arm of the USDA, which stated: “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.” This all comes after the National Parks Service issued an apology for retweeting an image comparing the turnout to Trump’s inauguration with Obama’s on January 21st, the account was temporarily deactivated – but has since resumed. This action reminded us all that the President does indeed control these government agencies and what they put out on social media accordingly.
So, the EPA and the scientists from the USDA have gone silent. While White House spokesman Sean Spicer told the Associated Press, “he wasn’t familiar with the specific bans, but that it was natural for a new administration to reconsider agency operations.” We can’t help but to think silencing these agencies when studies regarding the catastrophic impact of climate change seem to be coming out every single month (if not more frequently), is a very bad sign.
Luckily, if we’ve learned anything in the past four days of the Trump Presidency, it’s that the people of this great nation are not going to just sit quietly and wait to see their land, air, water, and the future for their grandchildren get flooded with Trumpisms. No, they’re fighting back – and it’s not just everyday people either, in fact, in the wake of the Department of the Interior’s Twitter freeze, Badlands National Parks Services kindly reminded us of a few key facts.
According to a report in The Hill, it’s not unusual for Badlands National Park to tweet out Climate change facts, they shared a few in 2016. But we can’t help but to look at the timing of these tweets and see them as a sign of empowerment. We can only hope that these tweets, sharing proven facts – not alternative facts – will remain on the Badland’s Twitter feed, without any governmental backlash.
The fact is, scientific facts should not be a matter of politics. Sadly, since the industries that contribute most to greenhouse gas emissions and Pollution (i.e. fossil fuels, transportation, and agriculture), often back politicians, science and the ramifications of scientific knowledge are quickly forgotten in favor of measures and legislation that line the pockets of these industries. Facts are powerful and the more we can help to get this information across to the public, and empower people with truth, the more we can start to bring about change, no matter who holds office.
If the Women’s March and other demonstrations have inspired you to speak up and take action, there are many things you can do. You can make a difference by choosing to walk or bike to work rather than driving, seeking out recycling bins for plastic waste, and even being mindful of the impact of your choices. But there is also another solution that can have an enormously positive impact for the planet: changing the way you eat.
The animal agriculture industry is responsible for around 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions – that is more than the entire transportation sector. By leaving meat off your plate, you can cut your carbon footprint in half – and choosing to swap out dairy and eggs too can have any even larger impact.
Click on the graphic below for more information