Only 10 weeks into his tenure and Trump has ensured that the US has gone from global leader in climate change to global denier, pretending his rollbacks—specifically set to boost bottom lines for dying industries…and kill the planet—are creating something besides unmitigable and irreversible havoc.
Imagine you get sick. At first, it’s just a cough, sore throat, and a little slower climb out of bed in the morning. A week passes and it’s still there, interrupting your workday, your sleep, and canceling any outside time or exercise plans. Finally, you decide enough is enough and it’s time to see a doctor.
After 45-minutes of mindless reading with the latest edition of Car-and- Driver and People (who writes this stuff?) you’re in. Deep-breath, say ahhhh, get the paperwork for blood-work, and an explanation that it might be “viral.”
Two-weeks later you’re back, but this time something is different. Something doesn’t feel right and you’ve got that worry in your stomach reminiscent of the time mom called at 2am when you were in college. Only this time, it’s not dad’s heart, it’s you. And it can’t be fixed with a stent.
She tells you it’s bad, actually really bad and not good at all. Not bad like six-weeks left, but bad like you have to deal with it immediately and trust she’s right on this one. You’ve got a fighting chance, but only if you act and stop ignoring the symptoms.
For most people the logical decision is to deal with it. Fix it. Fight it. Attack it with everything you have. And just in case, because you can’t believe you haven’t already, get your affairs in order for the people who love and care about you the most. More importantly, fight for them.
So, they have more time with you and you get more time with them.
Now imagine an alternate scenario.
One where you know something is wrong, something doesn’t feel right. You know these are the symptoms of something and everyone is telling you that it might be bad. You’re seeing things happen all around you that have never happened before, but instead of going to the doctor, fixing it, fighting it, and planning for an uncertain future – you just sit back and say fuck it.
Fuck it all. Nothing matters. It’s not going to happen to me. I’m fine. What’s most important is how I feel right now. And right now, we need more profits, less regulations, and more, more, more.
We’re not sick, it’s just allergies. It’s just a “cycle.” It happens every couple thousand years, don’t worry about it.
How could all that binge-drinking, time in the sun, decades of fossil fuel emissions, centuries of deforestation, and millions and millions of pounds of plastic dumped in the ocean possibly make us sick. This is not our fault. This is not our responsibility. No one really has any good data on this. It’s just too hard to figure out and I know I’m smart so I must be right. I’m not sick. So… fuck it! Keep the focus on how I feel right now, the profits coming in, and how we’re going to buy more stuff!
The kids? Oh, they’ll be fine. How could the xenoestrogens (the kind made from the same thing you put in your car to make it go) in their cereal, the formaldehyde (yeah, that one) in their bath soap, and the methane emissions (Google it) from that new natural gas mine behind the subdivision possibly make them sick. Don’t worry about it. Haven’t there been a ton of studies on that stuff? Isn’t that what scientists do, study this stuff so the government can keep us safe.
Besides, the companies that make those products employ people and drive “America’s” economy. We can’t just tell them to change their ways because the baby had a weird rash last week.
That beach-front camping spot that grandma loves? Of course, it will always be available. Why wouldn’t it? The girls will be going there with their girls, years from now.
Bear’s Ear? That place in Utah that’s just miles and miles of desert? Seriously, 1.3 million acres just to go hiking and climbing on? You would think that a few oil rigs wouldn’t really be that big of deal. You would barely notice them and it would help the local economy bounce back.
People need jobs you know.
The Arctic? You mean when the polar bears live? Yeah, it’s super cold up there. Didn’t you watch the Gold Rush finale? Parker and his crew nearly got frozen out early this year and had to stop mining. How could it possibly be getting warmer up there? That doesn’t make any sense.
And skiing? I mean did you see what happened in California this year? I mean come on! Now that’s a winter! Just like the old days! Sure, we had a few bad years, but it’s just a cycle and now we’re back on track. Stacked on a ton of Gnar points this season and so stoked that winter is back. Save our snow, ha, waste of time.
Yep, fuck it sure feels good, doesn’t it?
Except that it doesn’t. Not at all. In fact, it feels really bad and wrong in so many ways.
And it’s not a solution. It’s not an answer to anything. It’s not what the doctor advised and it’s not going to save anyone from anything.
Actually, it’s a really really really bad idea.
And it definitely isn’t good policy.
Yesterday’s Executive Order by the most unqualified and uniformed president in our country’s history is by far the most extreme “fuck it” we’ve ever seen from the people charged with protecting our world and keeping us safe.
It mandates a set of utterly irresponsible actions and calculated assaults that will set in motion decades of court fights to save what little hope is left for future generations to inherit a planet that is even somewhat inhabitable.
So, it is up to us, our local, regional, and state governments to uphold the environmental protections and clean energy plans that provide a glimmer of hope to transform our power sources, build new, smarter, sustainable jobs and try with everything we’ve got to save this place for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
It is up to us to recognize the symptoms, acknowledge that we are sick, seek the help of trusted and studied professionals, and start fighting to get better.
We are the answer. Right here. Right now. Not him. Not them.
And for us… sitting back and saying fuck it is not an option!
Justin Broglio is former President of the Sierra Avalanche Center. He is a father (of two!), a husband, a backcountry skier and communications officer for the DRI in Reno. He is currently trying to figure out how to get a 1-year-old to stand up and french fry.