President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office have largely been considered a failure with a 44 percent approval rating and 7 weeks spent at Mar-A-Lago, and very little policy change to show for it. Trump has said himself that he is surprised to learn that being a president is this hard. Despite this mediocrity, it is important to note where Trump’s policy changes have been the most (and dangerously) effective -- that of environmental policy. We can laugh all we want at Trumps gaffes and failures, but in the realm of environmental policy, there is absolutely nothing funny about it.
Starting with the first days in the White House, Trump released the America First Energy Plan, which did not include any mention of renewable energy. This is not surprising considering that all mentions of Climate Change’ were removed from the White House’s website.
Trump's executive order Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth is a plan to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which places limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants. Trump, who campaigned on promises to coal country, has also signed executive orders protecting oil. Trump’s extension of the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, despite protests from Native American activists over potential water pollution and desecration of sacred sites, is also in action. Trump has also appointed the former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, as the Secretary of State. This is not Trump’s last controversial appointment.
Trump has appointed Scott Pruitt, a longtime climate change denier, as head of EPA. Pruitt, who has said ”carbon dioxide is not a primary cause of global warming,” also rejected a pesticides ban of ‘chlorpyrifos,’ a pesticide that is linked with health risks, including brain damage in children. Pruitt also has said of the Paris Agreement, a global agreement to decrease CO2 emissions, “It’s something we need to exit, in my opinion. It’s a bad deal for America. It was an American second, third, fourth, kind of approach."
The White House budget proposal cuts the funding for the EPA by 31 percent. White House budget proposal also calls for 17 percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the federal government’s leading climate science agency). White House budget proposal proposes cutting the Department of the Interior’s budget by $1.5 billion, which will undoubtedly affect the budget of national parks (which was an announcement quickly followed by Trump declaring that he was donating part of his pay check to the national parks).
So basically, if you are not worried, you should be. I am not saying that we should ignore the dangers that the Trump Administration’s foreign, immigration, and health care policies, however, we all have a stake in the battle of environmental justice. Environmental justice is a feminist issue. As easy as it is to get burnt out with the 24/7 news cycle, and the constant terrifying news that comes from the White House, and D.C. in general, we cannot keep our heads in the sand.The earth is literally at stake.