Resisting Our Way to the Future

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Halfway through the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s chaotic, scandal-plagued, reality-challenged presidency, the organic fertilizer is really hitting the fan. He has issued executive orders to undermine the Clean Water Act and roll back fuel-economy standards. Expected any day now are orders to expand federal coal leasing and dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Meanwhile, his proposed federal budget would gut the EPA. As for bad legislation currently in Congress that Trump could sign — which ranges from stripping environmental protections to making it legal to shoot wolves and bears from helicopters in Alaskan wildlife refuges — there is simply too much to list.

And that’s only the environment.

Even as Trump’s job approval rating hits new lows, just keeping up with the craziness can be exhausting. Even so, the question I get asked the most is “what more can we do to stop this?” The obvious answer is that we can keep on doing what we already are — resisting. Specifically, that means challenging regressive federal policies and legislation in the courts, holding legislators accountable, and participating in organized protests like the upcoming Peoples Climate March. We can donate to and volunteer with groups we support (like your local Sierra Club chapter or other local group), and vote with our dollars — by choosing to buy our food, bank our money, and otherwise do business with companies whose values we share. Perhaps most important of all, we have to join with our allies on building a movement that can turn the kind of outrage we saw at congressional town hall meetings all over America this winter into electoral power.

The Sierra Club, of course, is committed to all of this, and we want you to be a part of it. Visit our Resist Command Center online to find out what we’re doing and what you can do.

But there’s also something we must be careful not to do: lose sight of our vision for a better world. We can’t afford to focus all of our energy on reacting to the parade of bad ideas and morally bankrupt policies that are pouring out of Washington. We must also push back with better ideas and smarter policies for the world that we want to create. Whether it’s cities and states setting renewable energy goals, corporations adopting climate-sensitive policies, or researchers discovering new ways to increase the efficiency of wind, solar, and storage, progress is absolutely not going to stop in this country just because of Donald Trump. We need to recognize it, celebrate it, and defend it.

Fortunately, we have something on our side that genuinely frightens those in power today — we have the future. That future is coming whether Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Scott Pruitt, Rex Tillerson, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell like it or not. Here’s what it looks like: We will see our society powered by 100 percent clean renewable energy. We will see a more diverse and equitable United States. The nations of the world will work together to address climate change. And Americans will reject the idea that we can’t win unless we force others to fail.

Dad, husband, executive director of the @sierraclub, writer, Jersey Shore native, Little League coach, #Yankees fan, climate hawk. Optimist. Love the Bay Area.

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