2016 is finally coming to a close.
For those who care about the environment, the only choice is to look forward toward mobilizing in 2017 -- with the goal of keeping progress from backsliding.
Easier said than done?
True, there will not be a pro-active partner in the White House. However, the biggest take-away from this deadly election cycle is that grassroots action is the key to the success of any movement or ideology. Change emanates from the strength at the bottom, creating a shift that may be slower than desired -- but that in the end yields a monumental force.
Too many people are already throwing up their hands, convinced that there is nothing that they -- as an individual -- can do.
There is a much bigger picture here. What cannot be overlooked is the essential hyperlocal aspect of the struggle.
Has your district been gerrymandered so that people faced with environmental-justice challenges are not being equitably represented? Does your councilperson share your alarm about particulate matter in air pollution or the high rates of asthma in children? How about your state senator?
Do you know where your elected officials stand on state-based deregulation or why the electrical industry is pushing to restructure itself to become a "tradable commodity?"
I recently read Frackopoly by Wenonah Hauter. One of the biggest insights culled from her well-researched book was how actively interconnected fossil-fuel companies, finance, government, media, and influence have become. Hauter introduces her story with the evolution of today's top fossil-fuel companies. They evolved out of the 1911 Supreme Court decision to break up the Standard Oil monopoly, which was divided into thirty-four companies, because it violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
In 1946, Congress opened up public lands that were not yet developed, making them easier to lease and accessible to the grasp of fossil-fuel interests. In post-World War II America, there was an expansion of infrastructure devoted to pipelines. It is during this period that fossil-fuel interests began to seek out connections within Congress, in order to exert their influence and become active players.
Hauter revisits the history of the CIA's involvement in the 1953 coup against the democratically elected Iranian government. The purpose was to secure the oil-resources connection. In a deja vu scenario, Trump has spoken about taking all the oil in Iraq as part of his "plan" to defeat the Islamic State.
By 1980, Hauter writes that those in the gas and oil sector began aggressively working to defeat those in the House and Senate who didn't support their agenda.