Though environmental activists are aghast that Republicans now control the White House, the Senate and the House for the first time since the 1920s, at least a few have come to some self-awareness that non-stop lobbying against jobs and poor people, and for higher regulations and cost, are to blame for why their candidate lost.
What they don't realize is that there is actually a great deal of opportunity for environmentalists during the Trump years. In most ways, he is a lot more like Democrats than he is like Republicans, they just need to stop being against everyone and everything except higher taxes and more federal rules.
It may be time to mix it up, when the writing is on the wall that being "anti-" is not working for anything except their bank statements.
Not everyone agrees that things should change. At the fabulous Moon Palace resort in Cancun, many have taken to insisting that the Paris "treaty", which is actually a treaty only in the proper name way that String Theory is a theory, should be pushed forward despite American unwillingness to lose more jobs than the 100,000,000 people currently not participating in the work force. Dr. Duan Biggs of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS) at The University of Queensland, says if the federal government is not going to be reliable, more megaphone politics by activists - the exact thing that failed so badly in the 2016 election - will be needed. Cities, states, companies and communities should take action.
He means it in the negative way environmental activists always do, but it could be a positive. Rather than having a mandate from a centralized government with a fetish for acting outside voters, it gives local communities a change to show they really care. No one needs a federal government mandate to recycle, or use less energy. Companies can be involved too. Carbon dioxide emissions have plummeted because of natural gas - that was done by the private sector while ethanol mandated by the government has actually been more harmful for the environment. The legacy of failed activism goes back farther than that. We only needed natural gas to offset CO2 in the 2000s because environmental activists and the politicians they funded got nuclear energy driven out of the country, making is more dependent on coal.
So the blame for our runaway CO2 emissions in that 15 year period falls squarely on the shoulders of the activists who worked so hard to get a federal ban on nuclear since the 1970s. And succeeded when President Clinton and Senator John Kerry declared all nuclear energy could be weaponized in 1994 and therefore would never be approved again. In recent years we've had a series of people running the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who are not only not experts, they were overtly hired because they are anti-nuclear.
Trump could put a stop to that, and it would be for the benefit of the environment.
Given the dismal environmental track record of environmental groups who do a lot of lobbying and suing and very little environmental work, it might make sense to embrace the grass roots approach and stop raising money just to demand new laws - it clearly works, since the grass roots approach is exactly what got Donald Trump elected in the first place. By going local instead of going to expensive parties at resorts in Mexico, their chance to be positive could extend far beyond the next four years.
But that will be after January. Until then, it can be business as usual in the environmental movement. Enjoy that caviar.
Environmental Opportunity In A Trump Presidency
- Would President Donald Trump Be Good For Science?
- To Environmentalists 'Wasteful' And 'Unneeded' Claims Usually Involve The Word 'Science'
- Environmental Working Group, Gary Hirshberg And Organic Activists- All The Influence Money Can Buy
- Friends Of The Earth Hate Clean Energy- And So Does President Obama
- EPA Scales Back Its Flawed Ethanol Mandate