Environmental Jeopardy

March 28, 2017

Toilet in Lower 9th Ward house

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Having failed on health care, the President has now moved on to dismantling the United States’ climate change initiatives via executive order.  Given Secretary Pruitt’s belief system (and remember, a “belief” is that which one holds to be true, even if there is no evidence for its support), he was an ideal pick for this administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.  Both the President and Secretary Pruitt are admitted climate change skeptics.

As the President has indicated that he does not read much, he most likely missed the article entitled “Climate Change: 7 Things You Need To Know” from the April 2017 issue of National Geographic-this is currently on newsstands and is worth a read.  Here is a link to an earlier National Geographic article specifically discussing the president’s agenda.

This is an explanation of executive orders and what can be done about them-it, too, is an important read.  The executive order in question is aimed at the Clean Power Plan-the Obama administration’s means by which to scale back greenhouse gas emissions.  It is worth noting that the Clean Power Plan itself was blocked by the Supreme Court.  Central to the current administration’s goals is to return jobs to the coal industry by eliminating the environment as a concern.  There are a couple of problems with this thinking:  the first is that the coal industry has largely been mechanized, and so there is less need for human labour.  The second is that there are other forms of energy that are less expensive, natural gas, for example-not that that resource is free from environmental concerns.  Technology and market forces make going backward in time quite difficult for that industry.  Nonetheless, this will most likely mean an increase in jobs for various lawyers in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

This executive order sends exactly the wrong message to other nations.

For decades, the United States at 300+ million people produced more greenhouse gases than did China at 1+ billion people.  Perhaps returning to being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (the efforts to scale up gas mileage-the CAFE standards-are also slated for review by the current administration) is part of what will make America “great” again…Americans do like to be #1 (China currently leads in greenhouse gas emissions). Yes, this is sarcasm-it is really difficult to have tonal inflections and facial expressions while using a text-driven medium.

Photographic Note: The photo included here was made in New Orleans in December, 2008, which was 3.5 years after Hurricane Katrina.  Smell is another sensory experience that cannot be adequately conveyed via text, however, the scent of mold and mildew emitted by this house was quite pungent.  Our sense of smell forms some of the longest-lasting memories-all these years later, I can still smell that house.

Take care.

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