• Ed Flattau

White House Anachronism

President Trump is an anachronism in dealing with pressing environmental challenges at a time when the nation needs a visionary leader to avert disaster.

Trump seems stuck in the 1950s’ when environmental degradation received relatively scant attention. Finite natural resources were treated as inexhaustible and hence, vulnerable to wasteful use.

In short, Trump has been operating in a world whose real condition has passed him by. He entered public office with a woeful ignorance, if not disinterest, towards environmental threats that put our future quality of life at risk. It is why he is pushing the all-out production of oil when humanity desperately needs to phase out greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy.

Unfortunately, renewable energy does not fare well in the Trump orbit. The president is the source of wild claims that wind farms cause cancer and contribute to the mass extinction of migratory birds. He downplays solar energy, suggesting it is too early in development to be of imminent widespread commercial use.

At the core of Trump’s ecological ineptitude is his denial of human-influenced climate change. He dismisses the threat as a “hoax” despite overwhelming evidence that some of its adverse effects are already with us.

In an age when prudent exploitation of natural resources in an ever more crowded world looms large, conservation is conceptually alien to Trump. That was evident when he complained about mandatory installation of low flush toilets and marketing of energy efficient light bulbs as well as water rationing in drought-stricken regions.

Trump’s distressing cluelessness in regard to the basic functions of nature magnifies his lack of fitness to lead.

He regards cold snaps as repudiation of global warming, confusing short-term weather with long-term climate trends.

Trees and dunes that are vital erosion control agents are deemed expendable because of obstructing scenic views on his golf courses. Trump describes the oceans as “small” despite their covering 71 percent of the earth’s surface, and he blames dramatic increases of forest fires not on climate change-related drought but on insufficient logging.

The President laments the loss of fresh water when rivers flow into the ocean, not comprehending that interruption of their path to the sea would compromise the waterways’ survival.

He also complains that the forest floor is being sullied by decaying vegetation, which he condemns as a fire hazard. Lost in his diagnosis is that this woodsy detritus is nature’s regenerative platform for plants as well as key wildlife habitat.

We don’t need a leader preoccupied with publicly ridiculing a Swedish teenager internationally acclaimed for her environmental activism. Rather than indulging in tweeting jealous taunts, our leader would be better off preparing us for the immense environmental challenges that lie ahead.

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