The Beatles demonstrated that something foreign could be exciting and worth exploring. We don’t need to make America great again or only think of America first. The Beatles came into being at the dawn of our global culture and I strongly believe we are nowhere near its dusk.
If we are to continue to grow our economy without destroying the planet’s basic systems that sustain human life, we need to learn a great deal more about our planet and the impact of human activities on natural systems.
There are places where EPA will fail the American people. But while state and local governments cannot perform all the functions that a national environmental agency can, visible local environmental and health impacts will lead mayors and governors to act.
More and more companies and nonprofits have a chief sustainability officer and are beginning to incorporate sustainability concerns into routine management. The world is slowly starting the transition from today’s economy based on fossil fuels, destruction of ecosystems, and the one time use and disposal of finite resources, to an economy based on renewable resources and the least possible damage of natural systems by human activities.
Until President Trump’s election, auto manufacturers supported the ambitious emissions and fuel efficiency goals set by the Obama Administration. Now, with the chance to escape these requirements, they are lobbying to get rid of them.
Trump’s proposed budget includes an effort to shrink funding for university-based science research and the national labs run by the Department of Energy. Research on fundamental earth systems science is also cut as is funding for state environmental agencies and national environmental emergency response.
While federal support for new technology and infrastructure would be helpful, there is another approach that can also be effective. We should focus on modernizing our state and local energy systems. By modernizing the energy system we can reduce the costs and environmental impact of our energy use.
Many people who are concerned about fossil fuels and climate change argue for nuclear power as a viable solution to carbon pollution. I am not one of those people.
Last week, the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt attacked his own agency in an address to the Conservative Political Action summit. The attack on environmental regulation by the head of EPA is a remarkable nightmare. Fortunately, in our federal system, state and local officials will be able to fill in if the federal government refuses to act.