Recent news reports detail 95 instances where the Trump Administration has begun or completed meaningful rollbacks of federal environmental protections. I don’t consent to that; I suspect that most readers of this piece do not consent to it either. Some of us used the public comment process to register our opinions about the importance of the preservation of basic environmental protections. Nothing has yet stopped the Administration from their relentless dismantling of almost 50 years of environmental protection. It has, however, been important to create a record showing that there remains widespread support for the environment.
The question I pose to all of us to think about is: What can/will I do about this in 2020? This year will determine if these rollbacks are an aberration or if they become locked in, a reflection of a frightening new reality and lack of caring about protecting our home base. So, yes, keep commenting on the next round of rollbacks but also recognize that such actions are not enough to stem the tide. Different and more aggressive actions are required to exert the influence the environment needs in this next election cycle. Engagement in races in other states may be needed (NH, just a drive away, is very nice in February I’m told). The Post Office delivers mail from Cape Cod to Kentucky and Maine every day. Investigate and support candidates who would be strong on the environment or are opposing those who are particularly bad on the issue. If you vote in Massachusetts you can still support attractive candidates in other states; that is what I am doing this year. If you enjoy the Cape in the summer but vote in your home state you are well situated to help change the political outcomes across the nation. Your state and Cape Cod will all benefit from the removal from public office those who promote and support rollbacks, regardless of their state of origin. These are things you can, and must, do. Doing nothing is consent.