DISCLAIMER: This is not a photographic-type post. This is purely a rant.
Let me start by unequivocally stating that I have one of the biggest known aversions to politics a person can have. I have observed people on social media talking big about both candidates for the US election, of course, you know Trinis, once Mr. Trump won, so many of them jumped on that “I told you so” bandwagon. I guess people have an inherent need to be “right”, some need to be validated by others. Well, to each their own, I guess. I’m not saying that I was a Clinton supporter – that’s definitely not true. I felt sorry for the US people, having to choose between a person who is an open racist, misogynist and a xenophobe and another who is a liar, cheat and perhaps the definition of a forked tongue. Perhaps that’s why 46.9% of voters didn’t turn out.
I also notice that the majority of the attention on both social as well as mainstream media has been concentrated on the human impact of the election result. Everyone’s talking about what he said, what she said, what this group did, what is their justification. I’ve never seen post election divisiveness like this before. Except perhaps – our own election last year. Naturally ignoring the real issues that have devastating potential for the rest of the world.
Anyway, I will try to be brief here. You probably know that I am an open conservationist, environmentalist, whatever. The main reason for that is purely the fact that we need our world to survive. No rocket science there. So I’ll avoid issues like how President-elect Trump has indicated that he doesn’t care much for NATO. Yeah.
Other things that he pledges to do include removing all US funding for UN climate change programs. Mr. Trump is a vociferous denier of climate change; he thinks it’s a Chinese hoax. Well, maybe he should check snopes.com and see what they say about it. Who knows, lots of folks get their facts from buzzfeed and elite daily articles anyway.
He plans to opt out of the Paris climate agreement: a historic pact signed by world leaders last year, agreeing to keep the global temperature from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius. He claims that it’s “bad for business”.
He plans to appoint Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has also indicated he wants to eventually disband. The EPA is the body within the US that monitors greenhouse gas emissions, among other green ideas.
Myron Ebell is coincidentally another open denier of climate change. He is completely in opposition with the clean power plan put forward by the Obama administration, and his President-elect is right behind him. Mr. Trump thinks that wind farms are “disgusting looking” and are hazardous to human health. Coal, gas and oil are the solutions for the future! Furthermore, he plans to remove the restrictions from federally protected land to allow for drilling. Now, past US presidents have used what’s called the Antiquities Act to put aside large areas of land as federally protected land. This serves as protection of land, protection of the environment. Presidents Bush and Clinton have done this in the past, the purpose of which is not limited to the prevention of exploration by oil companies.
He plans to remove rules that govern the mining of coal and its effect on waterways. Think that just environmentalists care about these things? Do you drink water? Then you should care. He keeps talking about “clean coal”. Might as well be up at night in deep conversation with a unicorn.
Mr. Trump views pollution rules as a hindrance to business growth. Huh? In fact, research has proven otherwise, and furthermore, the existence of stringent pollution rules not only helps the planet itself, but has stimulated growth and research into the fields of living clean.
His views, which would quickly become reality – are a definite threat to public health on a global scale.
How does this affect us all the way here in Trinidad, thousands of kilometers away? Well, for starters, look around you. Have you noticed the strange weather we’ve been getting in the past few months? Temperatures are being recorded in excess of 36°C, and days upon days of ominous, humid, thunderous weather but with little to no rain. We’ve also been getting a lot more cloud to ground lightning recently. More than ever before. I’m no weather professional, but I’ve been observing the sky and my surroundings for as long as I can remember. In recent weeks, we’ve been getting tiny, isolated storms. Blue-sky rain, I call it. If you’ve never noticed what I’m speaking about, and you live in Trinidad, you probably need to tear your eyes away from whichever screen they’re glued to, and observe.
It’s common knowledge – among the scientific community at least – that climate change is real. Thirty feet of ice across most of Greenland has melted away in the last five years. That’s hundreds of cubic kilometres of ice that’s now water in the oceans. Which makes Greenland lose its typical white, reflective colour, turning it a pale grey. The grey doesn’t reflect heat back into the atmosphere as well as pure white ice does, ensuring that the ground heats up more, ensuring that more ice melts. It’s also common knowledge that to even begin to try to reduce the progress of climate change, we need to stop emitting as much carbon as we do currently. To do this, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, where they’re meant to be.
If we had any hope of diversifying our energy sources here in Trinidad, they’re all but gone now. Why? Well, think about it. How many things we as Trinis do that are directly influenced by what ‘murica does? On a personal level, on a governmental level. Why do we suddenly have to have a boardwalk in Chaguaramas? Why we must have multiple cinema complexes in multiple locations around the country? Why is everything done just so that we can at least look like Miami?
The stance of Mr. Trump – which would then be extended to the stance of the USA – on climate change is going to ensure that Trinidad remains dependent on the rapidly diminishing resources of oil and gas. It’s going to ensure that T&T retains its spot as the country with the second largest carbon footprint per capita. It’s going to ensure that the government of this country continues to pay scant regard to the wealth of the natural environment. See how when the present government took office, they got rid of the entire Ministry of the Environment? Says a lot doesn’t it?
Would you look at this – whilst I was preparing this article I heard that our beloved Prime Minister Dr. Rowley has commenced talks on something about an aluminum smelter. If this doesn’t make you believe what I’m saying, I don’t know what will. Perhaps you have to see for your own eyes, or as we say it here “burn to learn”.
And what’s going to happen with this esoteric concept of climate change? You probably know about the rising sea levels situation. So obviously coastal and low-lying areas will be submerged. Your precious Movie Towne and whatever pseudo-pretentious establishment that currently lies on reclaimed land at Invader’s Bay will be reclaimed…by the ocean this time. Miami has already embarked upon a project that’s costing upwards of $400,000,000US to raise its roadways, as it’s already being affected by rising sea levels. Temperatures around the world will fluctuate a LOT more than they already do. Think it’s just hot here? A few days ago I was driving and my on-board thermometer was reading 25°C. At half past two in the afternoon. And this was just a localized reading, while I was in one of those small scale “storms” I mentioned earlier. Within twenty minutes, as I drove not too far away, the temperature rose to a more normal 31°C. Picture was taken after the temperature started increasing. Wanted the picture at 25°C, but oh well.
If global temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius (this is a real possibility in the near future given current trends) it’s going to be curtains for us here in the tropics. Not just Trinidad. We will be unable to farm the land, it will just be too hot. Crops will not grow. Unable to feed ourselves from the land, it’s your guess to what will ensue.
You may feel the need to argue that we are a small country, and our impact is not significant, but what we do now is very damning to our health in the future. It’s damning to our health now, for crying out loud. On one clear day I was able to see our capital city of Port of Spain from a distance. Everywhere was clear that day, as it had been raining for a few days prior. You know how the rains seem to wash the dust out the atmosphere, right? Well, over Port of Spain hung this disgusting looking smog. This is not photoshop. Above the cloud you can see the top of the Northern Range, crystal clear. For all of you who live, work or frequent Port of Spain for whatever reason, please look at this image carefully, and evaluate what you are doing to make a difference, be it positive or negative, in this situation. This is what you’re breathing every day.
And what can we do? If the government of our deity-country of the USA is being irresponsible, that means that we must also follow suit?
I’ve mentioned before, the government of a democracy is a reflection of the people. If we like shit, the government will be on shit. So let’s not like shit. If you as a single person decide to do something as small as not litter, maybe your neighbour may follow suit. And if your neighbour reflects your positive attitude, then maybe so too will his/her neighbour. And so the circle continues. Of course, there will be naysayers and scoffers as with everything, but you can’t depend on the fact that just because a creature has a brain it uses the damn thing.
We as a people need to communicate to the powers that be that we wish to live clean. Then maybe, just maybe, the government will decide to do something about it. Then maybe some other regional territories may follow suit. Who knows? The important thing to do is to look at your reality. If you can live responsibly then your purpose of providing for the next generation has been fulfilled.
I understand that many of us cannot see far into the future, I understand that many of us cannot see beyond what directly concerns us. So it’s fine if you disagree with me, just don’t say that no-one told you.