And So It Begins …

The headline caught my eye immediately …

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

Needless to say, the headline alone made creepy music begin to play in my head and shades of 1984 ran through my mind. Red flags flew up and alarm bells sounded. Funny how two years ago I would have thought nothing of this headline.

The event at which three scientists were scheduled to speak is the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence, Rhode Island, and is hosted by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. The conference is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries. The three scientists who have been barred from speaking at the conference helped research and write the 400-page report on the state of the bay. Among the findings are that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in and around the estuary.

Much of the conference was to revolve around climate change.  Instead of the three scientists presenting the results of their scientific research, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, is scheduled to speak.  You will remember that Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who, as Oklahoma attorney general, actually sued the very agency he now leads more than a dozen times.

The three scientists, Autumn Oczkowski, Rose Martin, and Emily Shumchenia, were to speak on an afternoon panel entitled “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.” Given Mr. Pruitt’s and Mr. Trump’s views on climate change, and their unwillingness to accept responsibility for reducing carbon emissions in order to slow the effects on the environment, this stifling of data, or open discussion should come as no surprise.

EPA spokesman, John Konkus said that the three scientists would be allowed to attend the program, but not the morning news conference.  Perhaps Mr. Pruitt fears the scientists might comment. No surprise, but very disturbing.  We The People are not to be allowed access to facts, only to the ‘alternative facts’ that Trump & Co decide upon.  1984. Newspeak.

Since August, all EPA grant requests have gone through Mr. Konkus’ office for review. Konkus served on Trump’s campaign before he was appointed deputy associate administrator in the EPA’s Office of Public Affairs. At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with “Mr. Pruitt’s priorities”.  And we all know what those are … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Mr. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program. Eliminate.  Think on that one for a minute.

The EPA has removed most mentions of the words “climate change” from its website. Pruitt has declined to link carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, and in an interview with Time magazine last week said he intended to assemble a team of independent experts to challenge established climate science because, Mr. Pruitt asserted, it has not yet been subject to “a robust, meaningful debate.”  Nor is it likely to be under the “leadership” of Mr. Pruitt.

In other environmental news, the EPA is loosening regulations on toxic chemicals that may affect the quality and toxicity of drinking water, among other things that pose a threat to the health of people and the planet as a whole.  And Trump’s proposed budget includes funding for drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The refuge is an untouched region of Alaskan wilderness, supporting the habitat of caribou, wolves, polar bears and hundreds of species of migratory birds. I will have more about these topics in a future post.

I think we all anticipated these moves and more, but to wake up one morning and see in bold print that blatant censorship of real information is happening is sobering, to say the least. Censorship. The withholding of information robs us of the ability to decide for ourselves what to believe or disbelieve.  Trump & Co would have us believe only what they tell us to believe.  They would turn us into sheeple who have no need to think, for we are told all that we need to know by the likes of Trump, Pruitt, Sessions and the rest.  We The People will not stand for it, for I still have faith in our independent spirit.  I sincerely hope that the three scientists who were barred from speaking will speak out in other venues, will help the public understand the results of their research in spite of Big Brother.

Alternative facts … a lie by any other name is still a lie.

47 thoughts on “And So It Begins …

  1. Lord Above, this lot are such a bunch of klutzs!! In this age of internet if there is one way to have the opposition message becoming public is to try and officially stifle it.
    Sometimes I think there’s been too much marrying of cousins amongst Trump’s crew or there’s someone who is a deep plant from the opposition, because he and his bunch are gifting so much ammo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Y’know … I hadn’t thought about that until you mentioned it, but you are right!!! Just as the surest way to get somebody to tell something is to admonish them not to tell, this will also work in reverse. Pruitt & Trump just shot themselves in the foot, unless I miss my guess. I dunno why I didn’t think of that … too deep into the forest to see the trees, I guess. Or the smoke in the rabbit hole is affecting my brain. Too much marrying of cousins … yes, that could explain it. But … let them be stupid, for if they were smart and had their attitudes, we’d be doomed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, akin to George W. Bush’s White Council on the Environment, a former petroleum lobbyist, redacting the words climate change and global warming from scientific reports, Florida Governor Rick Scott requiring his staff to avoid using the same words in public (while surrounded by water on three sides and the #1 city in the world in terms of coastal assets at risk in Miami), or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker doing the same as Scott, when information is suppressed it is telling. Exxon Mobil is being sued in two separate lawsuits and being investigated by the SEC and two state AGs for misleading shareholders about climate change.

    Fortunately, cities, states, businesses and citizens are leaving Trump, Pruitt, Perry behind. Market forces and planning have killed coal and renewables continue to go like gangbusters. And, cities are sharing positive solutions. The US will blow past the Clean Power Plan requirements with just several states leading the way. It would be nice for others to publicly announce what is happening. Texas is a big mover in renewables as our other so-called red states. The mayor of Greenberg Texas said the financials support renewables as his city moves to 100% renewable power.

    Pruitt is trying to stop the train, but it has long since left the station. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • All true, and encouraging … but … Pruitt is moving toward ending tax credits for wind and solar energy, and at the same time give financial “rewards” to the fossil fuel industry for “keeping the electric grid stable”, or some such nonsense. He is as determined to undermine clean energy as Trump is to undo the works of Obama. This is truly the destructive administration … they do not wish to improve on anything, simply undo what was already working. Sigh. But let us hope the initiatives of the states and cities carry the day.


  3. Jill, perhaps the one thing on which we do not agree is man-made climate change. I am what you would call a ‘denier’ although I resent that label a little.
    However, denying these three scientists the right to speak is plainly wrong. This smacks of thought control by another name, the kind of thing George Orwell warned us about so many times.
    Not allowing a fully balanced debate, where all the different viewpoints are aired, is the mark of people who are probably wrong in their own views.
    Frankly, this stinks.
    Frankly Jill, you are good. ❤ ,3 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, as I recall, it is one of two things on which we disagree … the other being immigration. 😀 And as we long since ‘agreed to disagree’, I shall not call you a ‘denier’. Now moving on …

      I agree that denying these scientists a platform is unconscionable, and yet the same people fight to allow Richard Spencer the right to promote his hate and racist ideas on college campuses! But here’s one upside … the surest way to draw attention to the works of these scientists was to bar them from speaking. And now, everybody will be clamoring to find out what they had to say, and dollars-to-donuts, the public will care more now about their work than they would have if they had been allowed to speak. So, it may be that Mr. Scott Pruitt shot himself in the foot with this one. I hope so, anyway.

      Awww … thanks Jack! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m reading a terrific book now called Fantasyland — by Kurt Andersen — and this story fits right in. It seems like the party in power gets to decide what the prevailing reality is, and half the country lines up behind it. We believe what we want to believe.

    This kind of stuff is scaring the crap out of me because if reality is a majority-rule proposition, we’re toast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the recommendation … I just downloaded a sample to my Kindle! Yes, Kevin, these are certainly frightening times. I think, just like anything else, we took the relative stability of our nation for granted, for it was all we had ever known. And now, the nation is being ‘torn asunder’ and we are quite right to be a bit afraid, but we cannot let it paralyze us. Need to keep that fighting spirit.


    • You got that right, my friend! I would so love to see the end of the Trump era, for it is wearing thin. Getting old. Making ME old! But oh wait … I was already old! 😉

      Good to see you … I’ve missed you. Still working hard, eh? Take care and give yourself a break sometimes.


        • Oh yes I am … old, that is! In fact I think I probably have a few years on you! But, inside I am not old, so that’s what counts, yes? Don’t work yourself so hard that by the time Christmas does come you sleep through it!!! Been there, done that 🙂


          • They say a lady never reveals her age but I’m pushing 65 and PROUD I tell you. 😀 Seriously, I don’t feel old most of the time either, but Christmas really has lost its charm for me. So much effort for so little reward…
            When the kids were little, I loved choosing lots of little toys that I knew they’d love. Now we have a Kris Kringle for the adults. Definitely kinder on the wallet but….-shrug-

            Liked by 1 person

            • HAH … I knew I had a few on you … well, two really, for I am 66 last June. But when I read your comment about Christmas, I let out a whoop! Finally I have found a soul-sister, for I am exactly the same. I tried to talk my girls into not even having Christmas this year, but of course they aren’t buying that one. It is exhausting, and I just don’t feel the joy in it anymore. Don’t feel like dragging box after box of decorations out of the closet, baking for endless hours, shopping, spending, wrapping … I just want to ignore the whole thing, but I will not be allowed to. Sigh. But it lifts me to find some someone else who feels the same, for I was beginning to feel that I was alone in my feelings.


  5. Does talking about climate change without definitive constructive action change anything? I believe we have to start at the grassroots level, every single one of us can make a difference. For instance being in NYC i choose to walk, bike or take public transportation instead of owning a car, plenty of exercise. I use high efficiency solar panels to power my energy needs, and choose to eat raw vegan (much less carbon footprint: ie no cooking or factory farmed animals).

    The bonus of this lifestyle is radiant health, no doctors or toxic medicines! Every person on this planet can make a difference, we just need to raise our collective consciousness and save our environment!


    • Well, until we have a consensus to act, we cannot implement any plan, and we cannot get consensus without dialog, conversation, sharing of information. So in that sense, yes … it matters.

      But as to your other points, certainly we can each do our part, and many of us do. I have cut out any and all unnecessary car trips, turn the thermostat to a lower or higher temperature, depending on season, to save energy, keep lights out in rooms that are empty of humans, etc. And those are helpful things, we all must contribute. But the bottom line is that as long as factories are emitting massive amounts of carbon, power plants continue to burn coal, and the regulations we put into place for very good reason continue to be scrapped, all our sacrifices are overshadowed by the giant polluters. So, while we must all continue to do everything we can on a personal level, we must also fight for the U.S. corporations and government to get with the program.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hi Jill, so glad to hear you are conscientiously doing your part to combat global warming. All your points are valid and important, the biggest problem to overcome is multinational big-oil conglomerate which has huge vested interest in burning fossil fuels and they keep blocking Congress from approving alternative fuel sources.

        So while our world gov’ts talk about cutting emissions and adhering to carbon quotas at these meetings like the Paris Accord, countries with largest economies routinely break these quotas without penalty. So what this amounts to is alot of talk and very little action to effectively reduce global emissions.

        Here’s a great article from the NY times, highlighting our uphill battle. Of course Trump with his so called Midas touch would only make everything worse!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s