You Know What’s REALLY Scary? Another Four Years of Trump

By Miro Korenha and Monica Medina, Co-Founders and Co-Publishers of Our Daily Planet

It’s Halloween — a time when people think scaring each other is fun. But this year, we are afraid — very, very afraid — of what might happen on global warming and the environment in the United States if Donald Trump, the Freddie Krueger of climate action and conservation, wins a second term in the election. Talk about a Nightmare on Elm Street.

It’s frightening to think about what our country will look like after four more years of Trump.  But in the spirit of the season, let’s try to picture it.

Climate change will worsen and our country will be a series of disaster films.  After a summer of record-breaking “gigafires” (yes, that’s a thing now) across the West, as well as a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, The Day After Tomorrow is beginning to mimic real life. While the United States has seen a trend of decreases in emissions, those were largely the result of a legacy handed to Trump and we’ll need immediate and comprehensive action on climate change to sustain them. The planet will likely warm for some time to come, but the key is HOW QUICKLY this will happen for our Earth to remain habitable for humans. There’s absolutely no plan to address climate change under a Trump administration, and worse yet the President’s objective is to help the scariest polluters to keep doin’ their thing. 

After the Trump Team’s hit job on water regulations, the Clean Water Act will be a ghost of its former self. We will start to see our precious water supplies disappear further and become contaminated. Just this week we learned that Trump wants to drain a spooky swamp — but not the one in DC — instead his carve-up of the (ghoulishly-named) WOTUS rule will lead to more mines in pristine places like Georgia’s spectacular Okefenokee Swamp (which is more than 440,000 acres in size), and also the gorgeous Boundary Waters wilderness of Northern Minnesota, not to mention the most valuable commercial fishery in the world, Alaska’s Bristol Bay.  We know he said he will study Bristol Bay after his boys put saving it on their holiday wish list, but do we really believe that Slashin’ Don won’t green light the mine once the election is safely behind him? There is gold in those hills, so we doubt it — it is all about the money.  

And drinking water after eight years of President Trump will be a witches brew of toxins like pesticides, PFAS, lead, and coal ash. EPA refuses to regulate to limit the amount of these chemicals that can be dumped by polluters into streams and groundwater, and they also refuse to enforce against big corporations like oil companies and coal plants for violations of the few regulations that remain on the books. Infrastructure week will never happen, no matter how many Halloweens President Trump has in office.  It’s just a pretend promise — one he makes so he can say he’s doing more for Black Americans than anyone since Abraham Lincoln, but we know it is just a costume.  

But like Freddie Krueger, President Trump seems to be determined to go after children, especially Black and brown ones.  He has cut key programs that protect children — whether it is funding to clean up contaminated drinking water in schools, to pollution from coal plants and refineries and even cars that drive up rates of asthma in Black kids in frontline and fenceline neighborhoods to allowing the spraying of pesticides and oil and gas development near schools.  Even research about how toxins impact children has been cut — research that has been going on for decades.   And not just kids — the elderly and poor people too.  If you are vulnerable, as Senator Harris might say, watch out, he’s coming for you.

We know that air pollution is a killer but instead of being the action hero we need, President Trump has allowed air pollution to increase on his watch. From gutting the Clean Air Act to shredding methane emissions standards set by President Obama during a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system, four more years of Trump will undo decades of bipartisan regulatory protections that keep us healthy. There was work to do before Trump to increase our air quality, but with a second term, we can forget about any progress. 

Oh, and if you thought that oozing green slime was only out of Ghostbusters think again! Nitrogen pollution from factory farms is wreaking havoc on our waterways and causing widespread, putrid, algal blooms that kill animals, threaten our drinking water, and cost tourism-based industries hundreds of millions of dollars. But once again, Trump undid protections for our waterways from this type of nutrient pollution without any other plan to protect the “crystal clear” waters he brags about. Fixing our longstanding problem of runoff pollution requires smart policies, but instead of rolling up his sleeves, our current Secretary of Agriculture is shivering in fear that Europe’s push to clean up agriculture will catch on in the U.S.

It’s all enough to make you want to Scream

We’re aware that environmentalists often get accused of “fear-mongering” but there’s no exaggeration here. We’ve had four, very long years of massive rollbacks of the very environmental protections that generations before us fought to enact. These protections are what prevent big polluters from using our planet as a sewer and they help save lives. Let’s not see the sequel of this horror flick, please make sure you vote in this election!

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