Trumping the Enviroment

I walk these woods that are so dark and daring to the senses.

In the rural backbone of New Hampshire…one learns to feed…

‘the copious array of instinctive beauty.’

Leaving the wise to wonder of human’s veracity.

Rumble with rush.

Trash weeds of jumble.

I often wonder,

‘how is it…others are less humble?’


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December 18, 2017

President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will no longer regard climate change by name as a national security threat.

The stance marks an abrupt turn from the Obama administration, which in 2015 described climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security,” given its effects on natural disasters, conflicts over food and water, and refugee crises.

In contrast, the Trump administration’s national security strategy, published Monday, discusses climate change only within the context of U.S. energy policy.

“Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system, [and] U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests,” the report reads. “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”

As National Geographic has previously reported, humans’ dramatic alteration of the global climate is not only scientific fact, but it also poses numerous security threats to the United States and the world.

Depending on the region, extreme weather events—such as droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, and torrential rains—may become more frequent and intense under climate change, posing threats to military installations and civilian communities alike. As weather patterns change, some disease-bearing creatures such as mosquitoes will enjoy longer active seasons over wider areas, exacerbating threats to public health.

In addition, rising seas threaten to cripple coastal military infrastructure, an ongoing concern at the U.S. Navy’s installation in Norfolk, Virginia. Melting ice means that the normally ice-clogged Arctic is poised to transform into a major shipping route, altering regional geopolitics. Warmer, more acidic waters will kill off many coral reefs, which supply food and income to millions. And as sea levels rise, flooding will displace coastal populations.

“We’ve seen that 700,000 refugees coming from Syria have shaken the European Union to its core. Take that number and multiply it by 100 who would be forced to leave the coasts, and that’s the kind of change we are going to unleash upon ourselves,” said David Titley, a climate scientist at Penn State University and retired U.S. Navy rear admiral, in a previous interview.

“The impacts of that on security or economics are fundamentally unknowable,” he added. “But anybody who thinks that’s not a huge risk is probably smoking something.”

Despite Trump’s change in emphasis, it’s possible that U.S. government research on climate change will continue—under an assumed name. Since Trump’s inauguration, U.S. government websites seeking to scrub “climate change” from their records have opted to swap out the phrase for the word “resilience.”

For instance, a division within the Department of Defense’s environmental research programs that had been named for climate change is now named for “resiliency.” An EPA web page devoted to “climate ready” water management now discusses “resilient water utilities.”

What does President Trump’s national security strategy say about “resilience,” then?

“Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover rapidly from deliberate attacks, accidents, natural disasters, as well as unconventional stresses, shocks, and threats to our economy and democratic system,” the report states. “Through risk-informed investments, we will build resilient communities and infrastructure to protect and benefit future generations.”


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