The first 100 days after a new president is inaugurated are arguably the most important for an administration. The actions, speeches, policies, and appointments which occur in this time set the tone for how issues will be handled during that president’s term, which in turn reflects how successful of a leader (s)he will be. Although barely a week into Trump’s first 100 days, the environment (and indigenous populations, women across the globe, and science in general) is already taking a massive hit.
It begins with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday (1/24/2017) which allows for “renegotiation” (see video, nytimes.com) on the massive project which not only threatens to augment the effects of climate change by releasing carbon into the atmosphere and introducing the ability for oil leaks across the thousands of miles, but also threatens many Native American sacred grounds. The full complaint filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe explicitly highlights many of the qualms associated with this destructive intrusion (link found on cnn.com).
Trump continued his assault on the environment by broadening a “global gag rule” which severely limits worldwide abortions. As stated by The Hill:
“In its expanded state, the global gag rule prohibits international organizations from receiving any U.S. global health assistance if they provide, counsel, refer or advocate for abortion services — even if they are doing so with their own, non-U.S. funds, and even if abortion is legal in their own country.”
The implications of this action are significant to environmentalism and sustainability as the population continues to grow at an exponential rate with resources becoming scarcer daily. Without proper family planning services, families in developing countries could be faced with devastating consequences of unchecked population growth such as famine or water shortages. This was a key point in Hans Rosling’s documentary “Overpopulated.”
Lastly, the Trump administration imposed many restrictions on the EPA, National Park Service, and other institutions’ abilities to release information to the public. The EPA will have all its scientific evidence supporting climate change reviewed by Trump’s team, which will then determine whether it remains available to the public or not. The Trump administration also required the Department of the Interior (and subsequently the NPS) to stop tweeting until told otherwise. This was in response to the National Park Service retweeting pictures showing the vast crowd difference between Obama’s inauguration and Trump’s. These two actions exacted upon the EPA and Department of the Interior are the scariest to me as it appears Trump will attempt to silence those who show resistance towards his presidency and policies. Furthermore, Trump controlling which scientific evidence can be presented to the American population on climate change limits education and awareness of the damage being inflicted upon our planet. This effectively halts any progress which could be made to reverse the dire situation we are heading into. Scientists across the nation are planning a march on Washington in response to this week’s actions made by Trump (http://www.scientistsmarchonwashington.com/).