“Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness”!
For those of us old enough to remember, these quotes came from the DC comic character Bizarro. (For those not old enough to remember, in this “Time of Trump,” it might be worth looking up the 1950s comic character.)
Bizarro was the imperfect, upside-down duplicate of Superman who lived on the planet Bizarro, where everything was the opposite of life on Earth. Ugliness was revered, and beauty was hated.
While it might not be fair to call President Obama Superman, Trump is doing his best to play Bizarro to the Obama legacy. His penchant for ugliness is clearly seen in his upside-down, bizarre attacks on “all Earthly things” and the Obama-era environmental protection policies.
Methane emissions are 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere, exacerbating global climate change. So, of course, Bizarro/Trump moves to roll back Obama’s methane-emission rules. This is so bizarre that global oil and gas companies distanced themselves from the decision.
Tailpipe emissions account for about two thirds of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. California, supported by Obama, has been the leader in reducing GHG tailpipe emissions. So, “naturally,” Bizarro/Trump wants to force California to produce more tailpipe emissions (even though major car companies do not want him to do so).
Bizarro/Trump does not see/understand the ugliness of climate change that, here on Earth, is clearly visible in the aftermath of stronger hurricanes, more severe fires, and parched landscapes. Obama ensured that America, participating in the Paris Accords, would be the world’s leader in fighting climate change. Trump did the opposite by pulling us out of the Accords, and he bizarrely left our seat vacant at the G7’s forum on fighting climate change.
Obama expanded our national parks. Trump is reducing their size and opening them up to mining and oil and gas development. Obama’s clean water regulations placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near wetlands, streams, and water bodies. Trump is repealing these protections, which would allow polluters to dump harmful chemicals and pollutants into many of our nation’s wetlands and streams. Obama protected the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), our last remaining pristine wilderness, from oil and gas development. Trump is hell-bent on opening up ANWR to oil and gas development.
These reversals are “upside down.” This is especially so with regard to Trump’s attack on the Endangered Species Act.
All of us at some time or another have gasped at the awesome, refreshing beauty of a forest, a mountain lake, or an estuary, especially so when we catch a glimpse of the wildlife which inhabits these special places. Without the species, animals, and plants, the beauty is diminished, and our natural ecosystems’ ability to preserve our environment is harmed.
Biological diversity provides us with “ecosystem services”: clean water, pure air, productive soil, recycled nutrients, food, and a regulated climate. The myriad species which have evolved over eons in our ecosystems have created a balance that is absolutely essential to the ability of ecosystems to provide their life-giving “services.” This truth is at the heart of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
This year, a United Nations panel on biodiversity released a report warning that as many as one million plant and animal species were at risk of extinction worldwide.
Trump’s response: The Interior Department announced rules that will weaken how the ESA is applied. For the first time, regulators would calculate economic costs when deciding whether to protect a species from extinction. These decisions have always been made solely on the basis of science “without reference to possible economic or other impacts.”
Trump is trying to turn our beautiful earth into Bizarro Land, a place that hates beauty and loves ugliness. Our votes can stop this in 2020.