The United States Environmental Protection Agency will be executed on January 20, 2017. There will likely be an agency still in existence with the name, but it will do nothing to stand in the way of the fossil fuel interests that have just taken over the United States federal government. It will for all practical purposes become the Environmental Deregulation Agency.
The appointment of Myron Ebell, one of the worst merchants of doubt concerning climate science, to oversee the transition at the EPA and the short list of names for Secretary of the Interior make it clear where we are headed. Trump and his key energy advisor, Oklahoma billionaire oilman Harold Hamm, have made it clear what the energy source of choice of the federal government will be, and they will attempt to create an infrastructure to lock us into the use of fossil fuels for another generation.
Any environmental protection and climate change mitigation will have to come from persons in local communities and ecologically responsible states in solidarity and connection with other communities and from leadership outside of the United States. The work of all caring and compassionate people in the United States working for climate justice will also require resistance and direct action.
We will have to step up greatly in our community efforts to grow our own food, eat much less meat (or better yet, no meat or dairy at all), use clean energy, conserve energy, and make drastic cuts in our individual and family greenhouse gas emissions – all things we should be doing already in the face of climate change, the greatest threat along with nuclear war to the ongoing existence of human civilization.
Millions of us will have to change our lives in significant ways for the better in relation to ecological responsibility to offset as much as possible the damage that will be done by the Trump administration. The economic and political systems related to ecological responsibility in the United States are going to get worse. We might be able to slow this worsening, but it will get worse. The only hope we have to keep the window of opportunity open to avoid the worst case scenario of climate chaos will come from us as persons-in-community.
We will need help from the rest of the world in addressing the existential threat to our planet of a Trump Administration. If the United States backs out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the rest of the world should place economic and political sanctions on us and use other forms of peaceful measures to pressure the United States to comply. A livable climate and the future of human civilization are at stake.
The chances have increased exponentially in the last week that the United States will go down in history as the worst global offender in abdicating its moral responsibility to preserve a livable planet. This greatest of all moral failures will be its most well known contribution in the shortened history of human civilization, unless we do all in our power to stop it. It will take sacrifice, empathy, and loving kindness for all life; and it will require the formation of communities of resistance and resilience. In addition to being our only hope for a livable climate, our work together holds the potential of becoming a rediscovery of true human community in our world.