Here we are in that back-to-school season and even though I’m not a returning student, I kind of have that panicky feeling. Could be years of habit or even the result of binge watching every episode of Stranger Things but for some reason, it feels as if I’ve had a major mind sweep over the summer. You know what I mean… as if all my knowledge has been on hold. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I’m not alone. After hearing the Trump Administration just gutted the Endangered Species Act, it looks as if I’ve got company in the empty brain department.
Now don’t roll your eyes or glaze over on me like that kid in the back row of your high school Geometry class. I’m not being political. I’m just saying we all need to understand what’s going to happen to US if we don’t pay attention to what these roll backs mean.
We should all read up on it, but I know reading hundreds of pages of a government document is as much fun as sticking a bunch of needles in your eye. So, I’m here to make this easy for you.
Let’s start with a little history and again, stay with me here. Just like Hamilton, you may enjoy this and learn a little something too.
The Endangered Species Act goes back to 1973 when Richard Nixon signed it into law to protect creatures like the Peregrine Falcon, the Humpback Whale and one of my mom’s favorites, the Florida Manatee.
It even protects plant species like the Tennessee Purple Coneflower that helps to keep our pollinators fed so we um… can eat too. It’s our regulators most powerful tool to protect fish, plants and wildlife; basically all creatures and plants in our ecosystem that help keep US alive too.
How does it do this? Basically, the ESA keeps powerful companies from destroying natural habitats where natural plants and animals thrive. If an oil company wants to drill where the Pronghorn Antelope live, it could destroy that species’ habitat, which in turn can destroy another species home. Remember your Physics? Every action has a reaction. See? You’re already warming up for that first day!
Unfortunately, big industry doesn’t see things this way and unfortunately, neither do some of our politicians. “Republicans have long sought to narrow the scope of the law, saying that it burdens landowners, hampers industry and hinders economic growth. Mr. Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist (who is currently the Secretary of Interior), wrote in an op-ed last summer that the act places an ‘unnecessary regulatory burden’ on companies.”
“Unnecessary burden” on companies? You mean the ones still dying to drill into the Arctic for oil instead of developing more sustainable energy like wind and solar power or the guys wanting to open up our protected national parks where bison, grey wolves and other necessary species live for the same reason?
I know we’ve all gotten kind of lazy this summer but have any of these guys, regardless of the industry they’re in or the one they want to protect, noticed the weather lately?
Before summer even started, ya know, back in April and May, we had some bad ass storms hitting all parts of the country. Even now, during the hottest summer to date, we’ve had some crazy weather. It feels as if there’s no such thing as a light drizzle anymore. Nope, it pours! And that my friend is what Climate Change does. It brings us more intense storms that not only damage our driveways and roads but all the trees, animals and plants living out there. Severe weather is a symptom of our broken eco-system and all species endangered or not are a part of it… including humans. By turning their backs on the ESA, they’re turning their backs on US too!
It may be tough to recall for those of us with summer-brain syndrome but spring didn’t just bring bad weather; it brought really bad news too. It brought a U.N. report written by scientists all over the world warning us that one million species will face extinction if we don’t get our shit together. Oh and it basically said that if they die, we will too.
The truth hurts everybody, but the report by these very smart scientists who study this stuff for a living, is being ignored. Unlike them, our current administration seems to possess little knowledge by brazenly gutting the Endangered Species Act in order to protect industries like oil and other major corporations set on increasing their profits. They’re basically putting greed over protecting their own children and grandchildren’s futures.
I know! Summer is short and that required reading list sneaks up on all of us, but I’m thinking maybe Trump never even read the ESA to begin with.
Gary Cohn, once an economic advisor to President Trump wrote in an email, “It’s worse than you can imagine… Trump won’t read anything – not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”
Michael Wolff, writer of Fire and Fury noted, “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense,” Wolff writes. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate.”
So maybe it wasn’t a summer filled of Netflix killing his brain cells after all. Maybe it’s just that the big man in charge doesn’t realize how important the Endangered Species Act is cause he’s never read it! Maybe he’s just getting the notes from his close friends who have their own interests at heart.
Guys like “Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industries who last summer authored an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing against the ESA’s effectiveness…”
I’ll give him a tiny break here. Like you and me, no one WANTS to read the four hundred or so pages of rules and regulations for protecting our planet and the species on it.
I mean lots of us read the Cliff Notes for The Odyssey and War and Peace when we should have read the real thing, but this is more important than knowing how these classics end.
This is about protecting one million species so they can survive because OUR survival depends on them! It’s about our president and his administration doing what they should do; protect their constituents, not just big corporations.
I hate to be the one to remind you that the days are getting shorter and soon we’ll be held to a tighter schedule. The lazy days of summer are fading and everything from school to work starts to feel a little more intense. But that’s not what’s making me panic.
Just like the little guy who’s tired of getting beaten up at recess, it’s time to hurry up and face those bullies who are more brawn than brain and put them in their place. So I’m going to support the big guys who can take that bully on. No, this isn’t the time to panic. It’s time to join ME and support the organizations with the power to stand up and hold this administration accountable for their actions. See our list here:
Hey, this is easy homework so don’t blow it off. Signing petitions and contributing to these organizations is like getting your own body guard for the playground. Help us out and do a little work ’cause next summer when you’re on vacation and you get to see that black bear or that beautiful Coneflower flourishing in its habitat, it will be worth it and a lot more amazing to watch than that creepy Demogorgon.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
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