Over the past five or six years I have been truly blessed to have met, and gotten to know and become friends with so many different people in the Indianapolis activist community. I think of the expression, they “feed my soul”.
As things have evolved on many different fronts, we have realized we need to become better organized ourselves, both so we can better support each other, and be more effective in engaging many more people in our efforts. Led by Aghilah, who works at KI (Kheprw Institute), we are beginning to do that. KI is creating the website, Rise Up Indy, that we hope will be a central place for the activist community to do their own organizing, and be a place where those who are interested can come to find out how to engage in the issues they are concerned about.
Another piece of this is to spread news via podcasts. Ra Wyse, who also works at KI, produces podcasts. A few of us are gathering at KI this afternoon for our first session, which will be on what we think the local effects of the Trump/Pence administration will be. With some hesitation, I agreed to talk about how this might affect environmental issues. My hesitation was/is because I’m not sure what will happen. But I guess none of us really does, but we should at least be exploring the possibilities, especially since Trump has indicated he is for further fossil fuel development. Indeed, this is one of the problematic aspects of his administration, in that he is heavily invested in the company building the Dakota Access pipeline. And Governor Pence has always been a strong ally of the coal industry in Indiana.
In particular, Trump has said he would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline if the U.S. got some of the profits. Oil, gas, and coal stock prices surged, and renewable stocks fell after Trump’s election.
Perhaps most problematic are his statements that climate change is a “hoax”. Whereas the scientific evidence is absolutely clear that we must dramatically reduce burning fossil fuels now if future generations are going to have a viable environment to live in. We are in an environmental emergency, that will lead to (continued) disasters if not addressed immediately.
Trump has selected Myron Ebell, a well known climate skeptic, to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Speaker Paul Ryan: “There are so many more things that I am excited about. Think about the laid-off coal workers now who see relief coming. Think about the farmers here in Wisconsin who are being harassed by the EPA in the waters of the USA. ”
It looks like we are heading for an epic conflict between the Trump administration and the environmental movement.
What does this mean, locally?
Basically we will probably see all kinds of legislation at the Federal and state levels that will promote the fossil fuel industry and gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
On our part this will probably involve the re-activation of the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. I had been one who had planned to be arrested if it came to that, and was relieved when President Obama decided to deny the permit.
Another will be that the Indianapolis Riverside community water contamination situation will probably not receive funding from the EPA for cleanup as a superfund site.
The main focus of our local environmental efforts recently has been to support the water protectors in North Dakota, as they try to defeat the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have had two large, peaceful gatherings aimed at increasing public awareness about the pipeline, and will be having another this week with the focus on the banks financing DAPL.
What is concerning is what the reaction of the police will be to our continued peaceful protests.
It also seems we have an urban versus rural disconnect regarding environmental concerns. It seems people in rural America are often alienated by urban environmentalists, who haven’t engaged with people intimately connected to the environment on their farms. We need to find a way to address this.
Finally, as always, the real key to addressing environmental damage is to be the change we want to see ourselves.