For all of our lives we have heard it is we who hold the power and yet in these dark times there are those of us who panic and respond with violence or who become so demoralized as to simply give up. We all forget the power at hand.
The drastic EPA proposed cuts are only the beginning of the dismantling of the establishment that the Trump administration and the powers that be (ptb) are pursing. Whether those ptb are the big financial institutions, the deep state, the corporations, or special interest people like the Koch brothers, Soros, and others, there is one thing they all, every one of them, rely upon and that is the labor, income and spending of each and every person enrolled in their machines.
It is our choice on a daily basis as to how we raise our children, the sort of work we do, the way we spend our hard earned income, the things we vote for and the sort of lives we choose to live.
The reality is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been a mostly toothless apparatus for at least the past two decades. They get in their occasional bites but if they were so effective would we be having the problems we do today? Okay, we should concede that there have been good things that have happened with air and water quality but we all still live in places plagued by environmental disasters. Check your own home town by going to http://www.homefacts.com/ , then enter and search on your zip code, then scroll down and find / select Environmental Hazards. For me, and I live in a state which loves to tout its environmentalism, there are 222. Two hundred and twenty two!
We probably all know stories about people who have some problem happen on their land, my old friend John Fitch’s story comes to mind – and he initiated the investigation of a problem and only cared about wanting to do the right thing – but in the end the whole dismal situation nearly killed him and certainly hastened his end due to stress and worry. And yet state environmental departments let corporations, industries and other “friends” get away with much, much, worse leaks and spills and in many cases, such as the BP Oilpocalypse they did so to a shameful extent! In Florida the state and feds actually aided and abetted the spiller – significantly protecting them at both the state and federal levels.
So although it makes me cringe to see the dismantling of the EPA, because I’d much rather see it empowered and strengthened, it is more due to the ignorance and greed of those in charge than it is out of mourning for the tremendous works of the agency. And that goes hand in hand with the rest of the collapses we are witnessing in our societies, in our culture and our world as we know it.
But we can, each of us, choose to not be a part of what is happening in any number of ways. We know that regulations are important or else corporations, industries, and businesses of all sorts will try to make as much profit as possible without cleaning up their messes and doing the right thing. We know that because there are ENDLESS examples of it. So let US become the regulators. Here are just four ways to get started:
- Don’t buy products from companies that do not have values you believe in. Just stop it. Stop going for the bargain, stop going for the hurtful product, and make a moral choice where and how you spend your money. And make it known… start petitions, tell your friends, educate your children, talk about it large and wide. Choose not to buy products that harm our Earth (like those containing palm oil which is causing incredible damages), or going to entertainment events that abuse wildlife and marine life ( #emptythetanks ! ), or buying products from corporations that are profiteering off local politicians to sell back to you an item you require to live (like Nestle bottled water products). Sure it’s hard, you may have to do with less because it costs more, you may have to change life long habits but the point is you DO have the power at your hands to make these sorts of changes because at the end of the day the corporations rely on your money, your purchasing of their products, to survive! And if millions of us were to do make these different sorts of choices, then things would really change.
- Get out and protest, bring friends and drum up additional supporters when spills happen or when something harmful is proposed or in progress that is of great risk to you, your neighbors, and your communities.
- Opt out of the status quo. There has been a tremendous paradigm shift in the last fifty years. The lives our parents and grandparents lived are utterly different than where we find ourselves today.
- Get involved in local politics and in local environmental efforts like Riverkeepers or Mountain Protectors, etc.
There is no doubt these are easier to write about than to do but that choice, too, is up to you.
As long as you pursue a life of the stuff that constructs the status quo you are going to be more and more unhappy. Sure, you may win the lottery and come up good but chances are not what they were when our parents and grandparents were going through it. Here’s what I’m talking about:
- You work long and hard to help send your kids to higher education. They still need to take out student loans. They graduate deeply in debt, living with you, and unable to find work in their field.
- You work diligently and conscientiously for 10, 20, maybe 30 years only to find that you’ve been made redundant in your job, in your company, in your career and now you’re laid off. And then, if you’re lucky enough to find a job in your field, you’ve probably taken it at anywhere from $20k-$30k less than what you were making before and perhaps at a significant loss of benefits too.
- You spend your whole life feeding your 401K or other savings method to prepare for your retirement only to see the money lost due to some financial catastrophe of which you had no part.
- Your parents worked their whole lives to give you a better chance than they had and now they’re unable to live on their savings + social security which, after they pay taxes on it, is not enough to cover items they never expected to have to pay for like clean water and huge medical expenses because of poor health coverage or coverage their employer promised them and then failed to deliver and medicare doesn’t cover enough.
- The cute little dream house you bought in an area that was lovely is now – for all intents and purposes – worthless because of the nearby pipeline spill, or other spill (like those in the GoM and BP spill) or trucks and other degradation due to the fracking or some other industry, or your loss of assets (like your maple tree orchard) due to imminent domain for a new pipeline, or water contamination for scores of reasons, or surrounding industrial farms cross contamination, etc etc etc – name your poison. Then what do you do? It’s game over for your dreams.
- You qualify as “poor” but you’re nonetheless hardworking and striving for the American dream like everyone else yet your baby dies because here in the USA about six in one thousand babies born to poor to under priv families will die in early life. (Source)
- You now find yourself with diabetes or heart problems because you’ve done exactly what you’ve been programmed to do via the audacious advertising industry or co-opted professionals who do not have your interests at heart but their own profits.
- The ever present drive for more and more stuff has driven people you know into a greedy frenzy where the nuclear and extended families have all but disintegrated. It’s me first then maybe you!
That’s just a few examples but I’m sure you are getting the point.
There are alternatives and you can go there as deeply as you like OR you can sit back and panic and continue doing everything you’ve been doing. Is it better to bury your head in the sand or sit around complaining about what those in charge are doing to you? Neither.
In the words of Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them . . . “