The Daily PlanetWatch for Tuesday, August 13

Thomas Schueneman

Thinking about the latest environmental news headlines every weekday afternoon from the Daily PlanetWatch
  • Trump administration significantly weakens Endangered Species Act. We'll focus our comments on one story today - the announcement from the Trump administration regarding its "overhaul" of the Endangered Species Act.

    The gut-rending convulsions of Donald Trump's chaotic mind reels unending through the American psyche. Whether weaponizing the sound bite is a stroke of evil genius or the amoral befuddlement of a demented mind (aided by those willing to follow along for their own Machiavellian ends), the result is the same: a citizenry pummeled into numbness, a sense of trust and common purpose reduced to fear and loathing.

    When the next toxic tweet or sudden about-face in public policy is announced, we shudder, perhaps, but keep moving. We just need to make it through the day. Tomorrow will be something new.

    I invite just a brief pause to consider the salvo dropped yesterday regarding the Endangered Species Act. The ESA is the model global framework for species protection. An example of American leadership that doesn’t involve wealth accumulation, military prowess, or consumer markets.

    There are many facets to today’s announced roll-back of the ESA. I’d like to focus on just one: the allowance of “economic considerations” for determining the status of a species as endangered or not.

    To its dying breath, a growth-obsessed economy will attempt to wrap itself around the natural world, consuming it whole while always expecting more. At every turn, doubling-down to squeeze the last bit of life from the planet for short term economic gain. A borrowed future that can never be repaid.

    And so it is with the plants and animals. Subsumed into an economic equation of “endangerment” that makes sense only in our delusion.

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