How You Can Protect Your National Parks From Trump’s Greed.

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Originally published on my blog: Hanna Writes.com

Like many of you, I laughed reading the twitter storm following Trump’s 4th of July gaffe about airports and the Revolutionary War. The creative tweets – #Revolutionary War Airports are a fun read, but on a more serious note, Trump’s Independence Day ‘Salute to Trump’ raided much needed funds from the national parks. This administration has diverted $2.5 million dollars in national park fee revenues to pay for the July 4th extravaganza and as Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, outlined in a blistering statement:

“Two and a half million dollars might not seem like a lot to this administration, but to a national park it’s everything. Fee dollars are meant to protect our parks irreplaceable resources and enhance visitors’ experiences, not fund Presidential stunt. The Park Service is already operating on a shoestring budget, and park staff have come to heavily rely on visitor fee dollars to fund law enforcement personnel, create educational programs for visitors, and address the nearly $12 billion in needed repairs for crumbling park buildings, trails and roads.”

Trump’s policies, delivered at the behest of the fossil fuel / mining industry threaten our health, significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, and destroy the National Park system.

For me, preserving our public lands / wildlife is personal. A few years ago, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, enjoying its awe-inspiring beauty. During this hike, I had an incident that required a Park Ranger’s help to climb back up out of the canyon. Had I been hiking during the Trump era of National Park budget cuts / hiring freezes, I would not have gotten the help I desperately needed.

In the next few years, I would love to see the Grand Canyon and other national treasures with my young niece and nephew. Unless the Trump’s administration’s proposal to allow toxic uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region is stopped, such trips will be impossible for all of us.

quinn-nietfeld-JtLk5eVLuHE-unsplash (3).jpgGrand Canyon, Photo by Quinn Nietfeld on Unsplash

While you and I can laugh about Trump’s verbal blunders, Trump’s scripted Orwellian speeches are frightening. On Monday, July 8th, 2019, Trump bragged about his ‘environmental record’ in a speech filled with so many lies that as usual reporters are left dumbstruck.

“Shameless” might as well be the official motto of the Trump administration. Despite cutting more than 80 environmental regulations, appointing a climate change denier to the National Security Council and giving senior administration roles to former fossil fuel industry lobbyists, Trump claimed:

“From day one, my administration has made it a top priority to make sure America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet. We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water. And that’s what we’re doing.” – Trump, aka Liar in Chief.

Really? That’s rich, considering the environmental group – Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) created Trump Watch, a site dedicated to listing Trump’s destructive policies, among them:

  • EPA proposes allowing dangerous amounts of rocket-fuel compound in our drinking water
  • Trump administration gets creative with math to make air pollution appear less deadly
  • Trump’s 2020 budget proposal is a gut-punch to the environment

vlad-tchompalov-cpAKc-G6lPg-unsplash (2).jpgClimate Protest – Water is Life. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash.com

Clearly, Trump’s corrupt administration has handed the federal government over to fossil fuel interests. Allowing polluters to contaminate your air & water with industrial waste, erasing protections for public lands, waters, and wildlife – amount to a betrayal of you, the American public as well as future generations.

What can you do?

Join an environmental conservation organization in your community. Here is a list of 31 Conservation groups to choose from. If there is no chapter in your area, you can start your own local group. Most of the established environmental groups can put you in contact with nearby leaders who can offer support, as well as resources to help you get started.

Join / Donate to organizations such as: Center for Public Integrity, Environmental Integrity Project, Grist, etc. These independent watchdog groups / news organizations act as your eyes and ears – investigating, reporting and holding big polluters and government agencies accountable for abusing public trust.

Check out a candidate’s record on environmental policies here: National Environmental Scorecard – League of Conservation Voters. Make sure that you’re registered to vote and encourage your friends to register to vote. Vote as though your life depends on it, because it does.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

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Comments

thanatokephaloides's picture

I would like to thank you for this thoughtful essay, and to welcome you to c99.

Please stick around and keep writing. I, for one, would hear more of your voice in both Essays and Comments (this is a Comment).

One caveat: many of us here have utterly given up on electoral politics, maintaining that any candidates with any chance of winning an election are so compromised and sold out that they are completely useless to us "little people". Others feel that the most we get from voting is the smallest crumbs, while Global Big Capital gulps down all the real food on our nation's table. (Your own remarks about uranium mining in and around the Grand Canyon speak to this.)

Nonetheless, I feel very strongly that our National Parks are indeed worth fighting for by any available means.

Thank you again for speaking out.

Give rose

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

karl pearson's picture

Good essay. The National Park Service(NPS) manages many historical sites that are educational for all ages. Every dollar that the Trump administration diverts from the NPS will have to be replaced by such sources as increased visitors' fees.

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snoopydawg's picture

I'm in Utah and have been watching as Trump first cut the amount of areas for the two national monuments and his plans to let drilling happen in them as well as other places here. Just the idea of drilling anywhere close to the Grand Canyon is insane. Unfortunately there are lots of people here that are in favor of it.

I see that you also write about climate change. Hope you will stop into the essays here that are about it. Lots of people here are involved in fighting it.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

boriscleto's picture

We have just one national forest, Finger Lakes National Forest, several national wildlife refuges, and some national historic sites managed by the National Park Service. The latest is the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, NY...I'm surprised Trump hasn't defunded it the way he has kept her off the $20 bill...

Though our state constitution establishes the Adirondack Park as "forever wild". 6.1 million acres, most of it privately owned. The Catskills are part of the forest preserve as well.

But all of our state lands are under the threat of "public-private partnerships" by our Neo-liberal governor...He's been trying to privatize the State Fair since he took office, but can't find the right kickbacks...

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "