ATTENTION ALL AMERICANS :
YOUR VOTE FOR THE PLANET ON NOVEMBER 8
As an environmental photographer and conservationist, I have never been more anxious than right now. That’s because one person is possibly about to have a more profound impact on the future of the natural world, of our planet, than at any time in our history. That person? If elected the next president of the United States, it is, of course, Donald Trump.
Donald Trump would, by a long distance, be the most anti-environmental presidential candidate ever. (And Mike Pence, the most anti-environmental vice presidential candidate ever).
He would be the only elected leader of 195 leaders on the planet that denies and rejects the science of climate change, referring to it as “bullshit” and “a hoax”, “created by and for the Chinese”.
As most of you must know by now, over 97% of climate scientists around the world believe that man-made climate change is real, and the biggest threat that has ever faced mankind. Even groups as generally ‘conservative’ as the Pentagon, the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the insurance industry all believe that climate change is a monumental threat to us all.
And yet....and yet the anti-science (almost exclusively Republican) crowd in America continues to willfully disregard the near-universal scientific consensus on man-made climate change. Their greed, ignorance and obstructionism, and deliberate dissemination of misinformation, is allowing, and will allow, many millions of people and animals to suffer and die, possibly for centuries to come. For me, these people are to be viewed as terrorists. And yes, I use the word “terrorists” deliberately. Because their actions are ultimately going to be the cause of much terror around the world.
If over 97% of doctors told you that based on multiple medical biopsies of your body, you had cancer, and that if you wanted to survive, you need treatment now, would you refuse to believe those doctors, and listen to those who said that that the biopsies were a hoax?
Of course, many people - like Trump and so many Republicans - may not care that man has killed all the animals and despoiled the earth, such is their focus on personal financial profit at the expense of all else. But as the environmentalist Judy Bonds once said, “There are no jobs on a dead planet".
If Trump should win, the consequences for the natural world would have a disastrous impact like no other election in mankind’s history. Trump has promised that he would reverse the U.S.‘s recent ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, currently the planet’s only hope of mitigating the worst of the cataclysmic damage. He has promised to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (I guess that Republicans are magically impervious to polluted air and water?)
The gap on environmental, climate and animal welfare issues between Clinton and Trump is and will be the largest in U.S. political history.
Trump’s campaign is, he proclaims, founded on a desire to smash the “rigged” political system. A great concept in theory. But coming from him, a profoundly hypocritical one :
A single event in recent years accelerated the existence of this rigged system like no other: the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court in 2010, ruled 5-4 by the conservative majority on the court. It allowed unprecedented amounts of corporate money to flood into politics and influence policy makers like at no other time in history, undermining the fundamental notion of democracy in America.
But it is actually Hilary Clinton and the Democrats who want Citizens United overturned. Meanwhile, Donald Trump loves it so much that he hired David Bossie, the founder of Citizens United, as his Deputy Campaign Manager. He wants more Supreme Court justices like those who voted in favor of Citizens United. In other words, Trump wants the system to stay just as rigged for the wealthy few like him.
So like so much else with Trump, his campaign, and such detailed policies as he has, are built on an enormous fundamental lie. Clinton’s lying has become an endless right wing talking point, but non-partisan Politifact has shown that whilst Clinton lies 25% of the time, Trump lies a whopping 75% of the time.
If Trump should win, American politics will never be the same. It will prove that the most outrageous of lies actually can succeed, can work and get you elected to the most powerful position on the planet. For Trump and his followers, no conspiracy theory is too extreme and absurd to be believed without any basis, whilst rational science is derided and mocked. In this current world turned-upside-down, fact has been reduced to opinion.
Obviously, this post does not begin to address all the other nightmarish aspects of Donald Trump’s intentions for an America under his ‘reign’. People are saying America is on the wrong course. Yes, it is in many ways, but Donald Trump will take it dramatically further off course. Meanwhile Hilary Clinton is the president who would work hard to reduce the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. For Bernie Sanders supporters (and I was one), remember that Clinton and Sanders voted the same 95% of the time whilst Clinton was in the Senate.
So the upshot of all this? You know that already:
You cannot claim to care about the environment and animals and then vote for Trump. You cannot claim to care about the environment and animals and then, if you live in a battleground swing state, vote for Johnson or Stein, thus potentially handing the Presidency to Trump.
So... please cast your vote for the planet, and vote for Hilary Clinton, who has a proven track record of voting to protect the environment.
And please cast your vote for Democratic senators and congressmen who support the protection of the environment and animal world. The League of Conservation Voters show that in 2015, the difference between the two parties on matters relating to the environment and animal welfare has never been more stark. In 2015, Democratic Party Leadership voted pro-environment 95% of the time, whilst the Republican leadership voted pro-environment just 1% of the time.
Every election is called “the most important election of our lifetime”.
Well, in 2016, for the planet, it is.