Friends, it’s been a rough week. Every day I’ve woken up feeling discouraged, terrified, pessimistic, outraged, or all of the above. It’s been hard for me to process how utterly destructive Trump’s first week in office has been, and I’ll admit I’ve pretty much failed to stay calm. The news has been hitting me like big, crashing waves – and before I can get up again and recover, another wave comes crashing over me. The blazing pace of news this week about pretty much every progressive issue – women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration – has been utterly astounding and I’ve found it nearly impossible to keep up. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to help myself and those around me by summarizing what exactly happened this week in terms of the environment, what people are already doing in response, and what you can do right now to help.

 

GENERAL ACTIONS TO TAKE

  • Call your representatives and your senators. Calling is the most effective way to get your voice heard. They can throw away letters and delete emails, but it’s hard to ignore a phone when it’s ringing off the hook. Try to call during business hours if possible.
  • Visit 5calls.org, which has a great updated list of high-impact phone calls you can make.
  • Visit thesixtyfive.org, which has scripts and weekly calls to actions.
  • Download this app that makes it easier for you to contact your elected officials.
  • Want to boycott Trump’s businesses? There’s an app for that too.
  • Sign up for email newsletters from reputable news sites. I recommend E&E News, if you can get access through your company or school, for incredibly accurate and objective news on the environment.
  • Filter out fake news from your feed using this plug-in and watch out for these common fake news sites.
  • Remember that knowledge is power. Educate yourself about what’s going on and discuss it with your community, especially those with different viewpoints. Back up all your claims with accurate, reputable sources.

 

And now for this week’s summary…

WHITE HOUSE WEB SITE

What Happened:

What the Resistance Did:

What You Can Do:

  • Call your representatives and tell them why you think they should oppose America’s First Energy Plan.

 

FREEZE ON FEDERAL HIRING AND REGULATIONS

What Happened:

  • Reince Preibus, Chief of Staff, issued a memorandum freezing all new or pending government regulations, including four that President Obama put forth in his final days in office about energy efficiency. They are effected because all regulations have to go through a 45-day waiting period before being finalized, and welp, we’re still in that window.
  • Also affected is a rule that would have gone into effect on Thursday, which “encourages” landowners to sign on to voluntary conservation agreements to protect wildlife and habitat on their land – this rule now won’t go into effect until March 21.
  • Trump announced a 90-day hiring freeze for all federal agencies – this includes the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, etc.
  • A freeze on EPA’s grant program was issued on Tuesday, but apparently it will only last until Friday.

What the Resistance Did:

  • Eight states filed a court motion to defend Obama’s greenhouse gas and energy efficiency rules for tracks.
  • The nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility pointed out that the hiring freeze could impede Trump’s goals of increasing projects on federal lands.

 

RE-OPENED THE DOOR FOR TWO BIG PIPELINES

What Happened:

  • Trump issued an Executive Order (1) inviting TransCanada to resubmit their application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline; and (2) requiring an expedited process and for the final permitting decision to be made by 60 days from the time the application is submitted
  • Trump issued an Executive Order (1) calling for expedited approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline; (2) see if the Army Corps’ of Engineers’ denial of an easement can be removed or changed; and (3) see if the intended Environmental Impact Report in association with the Standing Rock Reservation can be scrapped.

What the Resistance Did:

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said that the Executive Order violates the law and tribal treaties, and that they will take legal action to fight it.
  • People started organizing protests responding to the pipeline decisions, some which are still going on
  • Seven activists from Greenpeace climbed a crane located several blocks from the White House and flew a flag that says “Resist”

What You Can Do:

 

SPED UP THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS

What Happened:

  • Trump issued an Executive Order giving the new chairman of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (who has not been chosen yet) authority to (1) identify “High-Priority” infrastructure projects and (2) expedite the approval and environmental review process for them.

 

LAND THREATS

What Happened:

What You Can Do:

 

CENSORED THE E.P.A. AND USDA

What Happened:

  • After the National Park Service retweeted a picture of Trump’s very small inauguration crowd and tweeted about the missing White House web pages, their Twitter account was shut down for a day. And now Trump wants the National Park Service to produce photos that prove that his inauguration crowd was a lot bigger than it was.
  • A “media blackout” was ordered at the Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA – this means that all press releases, posts to the agency’s social media accounts, and blog updates are banned; employees are not allowed to talk to reporters; and incoming media requests will be “screened” by the administration. The gag order was later rescinded at USDA, but remains at the E.P.A.
  • And yet, Sean Spicer (White House press secretary) said to reporters that the “social media clampdown” on several federal agencies including the EPA didn’t come from them. Is this an “alternative fact”?
  • EPA staff was told on Tuesday to take down their climate change page on the agency’s website, but after considerable public backlash, EPA employees were told on Wednesday to “stand down” on those orders.

What the Resistance Did:

What you can do:

  • Tweet your support for and follow the Badlands NP social media manager and for the new “Twistance” accounts.

 

THREAT TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EFFORTS

What Happened:

  • Representative Blaine Leutkemeyer of Missouri introduced a bill (H.R. 673) that would block the U.S. from giving any money to UN climate change efforts – this includes the IPCC and the Green Climate Fund.

What the Resistance Did:

What You Can Do:

  • Call your representatives  and tell them to reject 673 and support 663
  • Call all of the new Climate Solutions Caucus representatives, as well as Carlos Curbelo of Florida who founded the Caucus, to thank them for joining and to urge them to follow through on their commitment especially in the face of challenge.

 

CABINET CONFIRMATIONS

What Happened:

What You Can Do:

 

Coming up soon:

  • Congress may start rolling back Obama’s coal and methane regulations (in fact, a group has already filed a motion asking for a delay in court processes to give Trump time to decide what to do about these regulations)
  • Trump’s planned wall along the Mexican border will likely run into some land issues – over 25 million acres of land within 100 miles of the border are “overseen by federal land agencies”, and these include wildlife refuges, tribal land, and national parks.
  • Scientists are planning a March on Washington of their own, date TBA.
  • The People’s Climate Movement is organizing a bunch of actions during Trump’s first 100 days in office, leading up to a People’s Climate March on April 29th, 2017.

 

I will be updating this post as much as possible until the end of the day on Friday, January 27th. If I missed something or if you have more ideas about ways to get involved, please comment below!