Life Wonders, Scott Pruit and 27 National Monuments

Side effects of the Trump administration are starting to materialize more and more; this past week’s news roundup features the hazy vibes surrounding EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the review of national monuments by secretary of interior and an awesome article on the way we humans have been frivolously referring to our natural world by means of inappropriate vocabulary.

Forget ‘The Environment’ We Need New Ways to Convey Life’s Wonders

“Environment”, “sites of special interest”, “no-take zones”, “reference areas”, “extinction”, and “ecosystem services”. This marvelous opinion piece written by George Monbiot for The Guardian approaches how the use of unsound terms has led us to speak about our planet and life overall in a rather unfair way. Parting from the fact in that “words process a remarkable power to shape our perception” and that “when certain words or phrases are repeated they can shape and reinforce a worldview” (Monbiot, G., 2017); he encourages us to begin speaking about the many fascinating expressions of life in a more humane manner.

We previously touched upon the exact same subject when writing about how Cecil the Lion’s Son Xanda was killed by a hunter; motivating people to substitute the term trophy hunting for another one that remains true to its corresponding action. It is extremely important to understand what some words imply. Monbiot, for instance, went ahead and highlighted “natural capital” as one of the worst terminologies ever employed by ecologists; as it portrays nature like a mere economic asset, when in fact its value goes beyond financial worth. If we were to lose all seeds, wildlife, forests and water in the planet; could we be able to re-invest the money we made from their destruction in order to bring them back? The answer is obviously no.

Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A Agenda in Secret, Critics Say

Who exactly is Scott Pruitt?

Well, let’s just say that this Republican politician and past Oklahoma attorney general is the personification of the saying that goes keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Why is that?

After having been elected attorney general in 2010, he pretty much spent most of his time warring against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); more specifically Pruitt disintegrated the Environmental Protection Unit in the attorney general’s office and then went ahead and suit the EPA a total of 14 times in the succeeding six years (Tarantola, A., 2017). His suits included going against the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, the Clean Power Plant, amongst eleven others; working with the support of leading energy companies such as Exxon, Devon Energy and Peabody Energy (EDF Action, 2017). Although he proudly identifies himself in LinkedIn as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” (LinkedIn, 2017), he now runs the place under the Trump’s administration.

As reported by recent interviews with current and former employees (Lipton, E. & Davenport, C., 2017), the dynamics at the agency have changed substantially; with Pruitt being a withdrawn and taciturn administrator who is constantly escorted by armed guards at the agency’s headquarters. His assistants on the other hand, have also gone as far as requesting agency’s employees to significantly alter a water quality regulation rule that affects the entire country, without keeping records backing up these changes; let alone having scientific studies supporting this decision.

After adding up what is now known from these interviews and looking at how more than 1,900 EPA webpages were shut down, it seems as if Pruitt’s strategy is to keep everything under the table; which is something that may very possibly have seriously consequences for the U.S. population, given that the EPA is concerned with not only the welfare of our national natural wonders, but with that of public health too.

27 National Monuments Are Under Review. Here Are Five to Watch

Speaking of U.S. natural wonders; at the moment 27 monuments find themselves under a thorough inspection that is being carried out by secretary of interior Ryan Zinke. The outcome, which should be ready by August 24, will determine which one of these marvelous lands will unfortunately be either shrunk or eliminated to be shifted back to state property (Friedman, L. & Popovich, 2017). The study is taking up lands that have been considered national monuments since 21 years ago, and according to The New York Times, the following 5 may be under the eagle’s watch.

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah
  • Bear Ears in Utah
  • Organ Mountains in New Mexico
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine
  • Papahanaumokuakea in Hawaii

EDF Action “Scott Pruitt’s Web of Fundraising and Lawsuits” (2017) Blog. EDF Action: Advocacy Partner of Environmental Defense Fund. 2017. Web. 15 Augusto 2017. http://www.edfaction.org/scott-pruitts-web-fundraising-and-lawsuits

Friedman, L. & Popovich, N. “27 National Monuments Are Under Review. Here Are Five To Watch” (2017) Climate. The New York Times, 11 August 2017. Web. 15 August 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/11/climate/doi-monument-review-five-to-watch.html

LinkedIn “Scott Pruitt” (2017) Profile. LinkedIn. 2017. Web. 1 August 2017. https://www.linkedin.com/in/e-scott-pruitt-3b771653/

Lipton, E. & Davenport, C. “Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda In Secret, Critics Say” (2017) Politics. The New York Times, 11 August 2017. Web. 15 August 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/us/politics/scott-pruitt-epa.html

Monbiot, G. “Forget About ‘The Enviornment’: We Need New Words To Convey Life’s Wonders” (2017) Envirionment. The Guardian, 9 August 2017. Web. 15 August 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/09/forget-the-environment-new-words-lifes-wonders-language

Tarantola, A. “Who Is Scott Pruitt, the New EPA Head?” (2017) Politics. Engadget, 2 February 2017. Web. 15 August 2017. https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/17/who-is-scott-pruitt/