- IS FARMING AN ACT OF HOPE – OR REBELLION?
We’re here today to draw attention to the increasing threat to Earth’s climate created in less than 100 days by the Donald Trump presidency. Trump shows as little regard for climate science as he does for Federal judges or the news media. For Trump, climate change is simply a hoax put forth by the Chinese.
LET’S LOOK AT THE WHITE HOUSE RECORD: After his inauguration Trump declared himself an environmentalist, then promptly approved the Keystone XL pipeline. Next Trump began an assault on science – and our future – with an order he claimed would “end the war on coal.” In reality, it is a declaration of war on Earth’s climate. The order tells every federal agency to purge its rules of anything that might inconvenience the fossil-fuel and nuclear-power industries. In addition, the order revokes several of President Obama’s executive orders. One of them encouraged private industry to respond to climate change in innovative ways; another asked the military to assess possible climate-induced upheaval abroad. Trump called for a scrubbing of any reports or rules developed under Obama’s orders, thus killing any insights that might have resulted from them.
Worse, Trump’s order also tells the government to ignore information. The Obama Administration created a working group to determine the “social cost” of greenhouse-gas emissions. Trump’s executive order disbands that group and tosses out its findings.
Among other malicious acts Trump repealed both the Stream Protection Rule that prevents mining companies from using our waterways as dumps, and the Clean Water Rule which apparently threatened how his 12 golf courses use water.
After these acts of climate policy vandalism, Trump headed to his Mar-a-Lago golf course, a luxury property that will – in time – return to being part of the Atlantic Ocean floor.
MEANWHILE AT THE E.P.A.: Trump’s executive order directs the E.P.A. to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, which would have kept almost nine hundred million tons of carbon out of our atmosphere. Trump’s budget proposes a 25% reduction in EPA funding and the scrapping of 55 major programs. He even ordered that a climate change page be deleted from EPA’s website. (Public outcry got the page restored.)
Not to be outdone, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt ordered that virtually all actions taken by the agency anywhere in the country had to be submitted to him for personal approval – or more likely, cancellation. His first victim was a staff recommendation to ban a certain Dow pesticide. Given that Dow’s CEO is a Trump buddy, Pruitt overruled his staff. Going one step further to please the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt announced that the EPA was no longer interested in collecting data on the methane that oil and gas companies release into the atmosphere.
Here’s a question; an answer; and another question:
- Why in God’s name is Donald Trump attacking our planet this way? For all his talk of American greatness, Trump’s actions on climate change represent an historic abdication of leadership. Or do they? Maybe something else is happening.
- Think about this: From the stocking of Trump’s Cabinet with Generals and greedy billionaires, to the attempt at destroying Obamacare, to the details of his “tax plan” – which promised a blatant looting of the public and a trillion dollar bonanza for billionaires – what we are witnessing is full-scale class warfare – a brazen attempt to further divide the nation between “owners” and workers, in short, a new Feudalism.
As the impacts of climate change mount, the non-billionaire population will be reduced to dependency and despair and thus less and less able to resist the will of the strong. They’re not draining the swamp, they’re pulling us into it. How this 1% ruling class expects to avoid climate change, I can’t begin to imagine.
Now this question: Can we stop this insanity? – or at least avoid becoming collateral damage in this war? Let’s look at an important example:
If there’s one threat posed by climate change that really hits home, it would be disruption of our food supply. Over the years, filling this basic need of life has become more and more dependent on complex systems with little room for error.
Thomas Jefferson envisioned the United States as a vast land of yeoman farmers, people whose very independence grew from their husbandry of the earth beneath their feet. Since 1900 the number of farmers has dropped by 90%, while America’s farm land has been taken over by huge agribusinesses. There are still farmers, but only a few of them raise food for themselves, their families, and their community.
Today the food that sustains virtually every American is grown, processed, marketed, and delivered by faceless, distant entities. Today corporations manufacture a narrow selection of over-fertilized, insecticide proof, genetically modified, machine harvestable, standardized ‘products’ sold as “food.” Unfortunately, these products are impoverished – lacking flavor and nutritional value.
This picture of the state of our food supply could well apply to almost every other aspect of modern life. When did we stop being citizens and start being “consumers” defined by what we own and not who we are? We need to fight back – to reclaim our personhood – and our rights. It all starts with local individual and community action. But, we already know that in Tennessee. Many great ideas on fighting – or avoiding – outside power can be found close to home.
In East TN, we have such examples as the Highlander Center and Narrow Ridge; in Middle TN the Farm and its many spin-offs are thriving. Across the state farmers markets are growing
And, here in South Knoxville – in the heart of Vestal – at the Sustainable Future Center we are establishing a Permaculture Institute to revive, expand, and share those skills that Jefferson called the basis of freedom in America.
So, let’s fight climate change and the class warfare forces. We can start by taking back control of our most basic need – the food that keeps us alive. The Sustainable Future Center is my personal way to fight back. What will be yours?
Look for us on the web, or on Facebook. Better yet, come to Vestal and see for yourself. Perhaps you will find your own answer to my original question:
Is farming an act of hope – or rebellion?