New CAN Working Group to Push Back Against Trump Administration Assaults 

The focus of this working group is to push back against the damage being caused by President Trump’s assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), his other extreme de-regulatory measures, and his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Although Trump has been resisted so far on some of his major legislative misadventures, his administration has made steady progress gutting environmental and other safeguards, particularly at the regulatory level, and by withdrawing the US from the international climate cause. To combat all this, national and even international action is vital, as is local. It is true that figuring out how people operating in everyday life can affect such big picture change is not easy. It demands creativity, a can-do attitude, and is absolutely essential if we are going to resolve the climate change crises.

This is an enormous task. We are looking for a group of people to help us explore how we can contribute. Here are some ideas: researching where things stand and likely future developments, identifying both pressure points and sympathetic elements within the government and elsewhere that can positively respond to our influence, enhancing organizational partnerships and alliances that are smart and strategic, and coming up with specific advocacy strategies, tactics, and actions that can be successful. What are your thoughts and ideas?

We need to do the research, including utilizing the knowledge that others have already developed. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel and we do want to identify any holes and gaps that can be creatively filled. We want to learn about national organizations that are already up to speed, knowledgeable, and effective. We want to forge strategic alliances. We already work with 350.org (they have a recent book, Against Doom with lots of great ideas). Indivisible is a likely organization to partner with. Other organizations such as Food and Water Watch, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Conservation Law Foundation, and sources, such as Bill Moyers and Trump’s own tweets, come to mind. Alliances don’t mean just responding for instance to 350.org’s to calls for action. We also want to be more proactive than that,  maybe by helping such organizations be more effective by having their initiatives enlivened and refreshed by input from local people like us.

We need to develop effective strategies/tactics/campaigns. For instance, how can we support people in affected organizations (US Environmental Policy Association (USEPA), etc. deal with Trump’s de-regulatory inroads. He uses executive orders to reduce non-executive oversight, appoints a director to the agency who opposes the work of that agency, cuts the agency’s budget, reduces any new hires, restricts the flow of information from that agency to the public, and tries to neutralize agency experts by re-assigning them to irrelevant jobs they are not interested in. One idea is to invite speakers from affected agencies to talk about the extreme de-regulatory environments they now find themselves in.

In addition to gutting the USEPA, and other agencies through various de-regulation efforts, there is also the issue of Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and from similar agreements. Obviously, this operates at the international and even global level. But even here, we may have an effect, for instance by supporting city, state, and regional efforts and pledges to continue to meet Paris climate objectives, and being at least knowledgeable about post-Paris international/global efforts to keep up the anti-climate change fight. Here as well, there may be ways we can lend our support.  

Hopefully the above provides some specific ideas to get the conversation started. The bottom line is that strictly local efforts, though essential, are not sufficient and this working group will help with a more comprehensive approach and perspective big enough for the daunting task at hand. Please email Joshua Epstein at joshepst@yahoo.com if you are interested in getting involved or want to learn more.