• Ed Flattau

Trump's Unreal World

The Trump White House, like most Administrations before it, seeks to create a world that furthers the President’s quest for re-election even when – as in Trump’s case – it is undertaken at the expense of the general public’s welfare. In doing so, Trump conveys a picture that runs counter to United Nations’ ecological statisticians, who warn that the global environment is rapidly deteriorating.

Evidence of Trump’s delusional view is well illustrated by his justification of major oil spills such as the 2010 British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon blowout. He defended offshore drilling as a necessary risk of doing business to boost the economy even at the cost of temporary declining public and ecological health.

Tell that to the fishermen and the tourist industry along Florida’s Gulf Coast who are still grappling with the long-term disruptive ecological effects.

Do we want a President who boasts that the nation has the “cleanest air and water” in its history when air quality in many parts of the country is diminishing and shows no signs of abating? Water quality has deteriorated too in response to Trump’s policies, marked by his rollback of anti-pollution regulations that govern one-third of the nation’s hydrological supplies.

Trump pledges to expand recreational access to public lands designated as “wilderness” while agreeing to open them up to oil drilling and timber harvesting. He justifies this by expanding the definition of “wilderness” to include a mention of “multi-use” functions.

That brings us to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which Trump has proclaimed credit for opening it to development after a half-century of Congressional protection of our nation’s only remaining - completely intact - ecosystem. The polar bears and caribou will not be happy. Rare plants (some possessing miraculous medicinal values) will be destroyed. And last, but not least, some Native tribe’s cherished traditional way of life will disappear. Even though inaccessible to most Americans, the Arctic and ANWR are revered as indispensable parts of our wilderness heritage.

Trump insists that the California forest fires are a product of land mismanagement rather than a condition exacerbated by climate change. In the real world, one-third of the fires are natural and regenerate the soil with ash residue, which also furnishes new wildlife habitats. The fires’ destructive force has intensified by reckless location of human infrastructure and private property owners’ failure to periodically thin out climate-change damaged trees, which become a tinderbox for spontaneous combustion.

Trump is dismissive of water conservation implemented in drought conditions. He complains about low-flush toilets causing unsanitary conditions, and slow-flow shower heads impeding his hair-grooming.

Trump contends that wind energy is too expensive and unreliable. He also claims it is leading migratory birds towards extinction through collisions with wind turbines. In fact, turbines are being built or relocated to areas well outside avian migratory paths. Wind power is price-competitive with fossil fuels in many regions of the world and employs more people. Trump neglects to recognize battery energy storage which tides over consumers until the wind picks up again. These windmills are not the eyesore that Trump alleges unless they hamper the view from some of his golf courses.

Spurred by obsessive jealousy towards his popular Presidential predecessor, Trump has sought to reverse Barack Obama’s signature initiatives, including reduced automobile carbon emission standards. Also falling into that category is the Paris Climate Accord, which encourages voluntary action and flexibility in complying with the Treaty by the signatories (that include most of the nations of the world), thereby isolating us from networking on a global scale.

In Trump’s illusory, denial-drenched universe, an existential global warming threat does not exist. His vision clashes with United Nations scientists’ prognosis that environmental catastrophe is at hand.

We should not allow Trump to drag us down with him.


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