The end of stewardship, and eventually earth too
“The war on coal is over,” said Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency. “Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Ky.”
Essentially, the plan set emission requirements requirements states had to meet. It was the predecessor to the Paris climate accord. Pruitt’s announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. President Donald Trump has on a few occasions spoken of President Barack Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan in the past tense, as if it was already repealed. Further, the legislature might as well have been tossed into the trash can when the United States stepped out of the Paris Agreement.
However, just because everyone knew it was coming doesn’t make it any better.
Once, a decade ago, I decried global warming as a fool’s belief. “Winters will become cold again,” I told myself. But they haven’t. And they won’t come again: I grieve those days when snow came up to my shoulders, and an intricate fort network defended my back yard. Back then, I earned money hand over fist for shoveling the driveway.
These days, I’m excited for one good snowstorm that brings a foot of snow, which doesn’t last long. It’s normal, now, for ground to be bare in January. 85 degree weather in October is touted as a beautiful day.
Thinking back, I clearly remember the moment I realized human activity negatively impacted the earth. I was sitting in Thompson Hall at UMass, listening to a biologist lecture on “the built environment.”
Somewhere around 98 percent of scientists agreed that global warming is happening, the professor said. Everything won’t just suddenly get warmer. Instead, extreme weather events will happen more frequently. Eventually, if humans continue on their course, we’ll pass a point of no return, he said.
That’s when it struck me. Before that, Ken Ham, fundamentalist Christian, was the person I turned to for scientific truth. Ham and people like him deny climate change, and influence a huge demographic to believe the same.
This most recent action by Trump highlights corruption at the highest levels. America has sold out to businesses pushing legislature that supports their agenda for profit. This is not about the greater good.
If that were the case (we were seeking the greater good), even for selfish monetary reasons, America would be pushing doubly as hard for more efficient energy: solar, wind, ocean power. Modern power is on the rise. Soon, and we’re seeing this already, we’ll be outpaced by European countries like The Netherlands, Sweden, that’ve fully embraced green energy.
And I note that’s not even thinking about environmental impacts of Trump’s push, which, as I’ve pointed out, are sweeping.
Instead, it’s about filling the pockets of a few rich (probably white) men who’ve seen less money than usual in recent years because coal and fossil fuels are losing out big to modern renewable energy.
A small portion of those loses can be chalked up to tightening laws, initially changed by the Environmental Protection Agency (their job) to protect all people from themselves. But it’s only a small amount. The bigger impact Trump’s move will have is in discouraging renewable energy, thereby driving up coal and of fossil fuels.
It’s a classic case of wealthy elites influencing government. Maybe even controlling government. And we’re the ones who lose out (that’s not even thinking about fossil fuel laborers who suffer health problems from adverse work conditions).
That being said, it didn’t happen overnight. This has been in the works for a while now. And we’re talking about corporations with incredible power, both socially and politically. Enough power to influence lay people to vote against their best interests.
As a person of faith in Jesus, loving Creator God, I strongly believe in stewardship. We, as humans, are charged to take care of earth, and everything that calls it home, through compassion and love. In this, we (notably Americans) have failed.