Ever since Inauguration Day, it feels like doomsday scenarios—nuclear war, rising sea levels that wipe out entire continents, the rise of a kleptocratic police state—that were once absurd have become increasingly likely. It’s as if Americans are living in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, except every adventure ends in an untimely, grotesque death, and Donald Trump is flipping the pages. And also, he can’t read.
On this week’s episode of Big Time Dicks, Joanna, Ellie Shechet and I talk about one of those fears, the rapid acceleration of climate change, and the Trump Administration’s refusal to acknowledge climate change exists. Last month, Trump’s signed an executive order to repeal Obama’s Clean Action Plan initiative and has proposed to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 30 percent. On Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt said the US should “exit” the Paris agreement, an international pact to limit global warming. According to Lindi von Mutius, the director of program management at the Environmental Defense Fund, the effects of these policies will be disastrous.“By allowing pollution levels to go up, President Trump’s order will literally cost thousands of American lives,” she said.
Increased pollution will lead to more health problems, like “added heart attacks, asthma attacks, increased sick days,” she explained. And, with the proposed budget cuts, von Mutius says that EPA programs that give grants to communities (like Flint, Michigan) to address environmental problems “are on the chopping block.” Like so many of the Trump Administration’s policies, people of color and low-income communities will bear a disproportionate brunt of the disaster.
However, not all hope is lost. According to von Mutius, climate change is “a manageable issue” and there’s still a lot individuals can do—write your local legislators, learn about your local environmental issues, and make choices to reduce your carbon footprint every day. “You can make a difference, because you can speak with your pocketbook,” she told us.
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