Catalyst Spring 2017
First Principles

Facing Down the Wrecking Ball

Wrecking ball

Photo: ShooteRhys/iStock

By Ken Kimmell

UCS President Ken Kimmell

The wrecking ball that is the Trump presidency is taking aim at so many important victories we have achieved together. Just recently, the Trump administration has taken initial steps to weaken or repeal fuel efficiency standards for cars as well as the Clean Power Plan—the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. And what the administration can’t kill with rollbacks, it is trying to eviscerate with severe and misguided budget cuts to key science-based agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Department of Energy.

But a resistance is forming, far and wide, from the “fact-based” community—those of us who insist that evidence and science undergird our policies across the board, not only on climate change but also on immigration, health care, reproductive rights, nutrition, and many other issues. That community showed up in droves at the Women’s March the day after the inauguration and at the airports when the president’s Muslim ban was announced. And now, as we go to press, that community is readying to come together again in hundreds of events on April 22 for the March for Science and on April 29 at the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC. I am proud that the Union of Concerned Scientists is partnering with both of these events and that so many of our staff members and supporters will be in attendance.   

I joined the 2014 climate march in New York City, and I saw firsthand how that march helped galvanize public support that paved the way for the international agreement on climate change reached a year later in Paris. The gains from that very agreement are now threatened and, for that reason and many others, we must join together to march again; we must form a giant human barrier in the path of the wrecking ball to stop it before lasting damage is done. And then we need to sustain that energy to continue our resistance, standing up for facts, evidence, and the science-based safeguards we all depend on.

Ken Kimmell Photo: Richard Howard