With around a quarter of the world’s population under lockdown, global air and water pollution is down dramatically. Without doubt, this is an enormous benefit. It’s easy to think that the pandemic is a good time for environmental recovery. Here’s why that’s completely wrong.
Ever eager to speed up the climate crisis, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reduced its already abysmal efforts to fight environmental crimes during the pandemic. This has experts very worried that this will cause even more deforestation in the Amazon than before the crisis, which is terrifying considering the Amazon saw the highest level of deforestation in a decade last year.
With the pandemic under control in China thanks to Beijing’s imposition on what amounted to martial law, their pollution has rebounded almost to its full extent before the pandemic. There’s some worry too that polluting could “rebound with a vengeance” as companies try to make up for lost time, potentially overwhelming any benefits the Earth saw in the short period of respite during the pandemic lockdowns.
Finally, we get to Trump. Like Jair Bolsonaro, Trump seems to have an aggressive hatred of the environment. His slash-and-burn, anything-for-a-profit, manifest destiny mentality has come to the forefront. Notably, he’s insisted that Americans can ease social distancing and even go back to work by Easter, which would almost certainly make the spread of the virus worse. On top of this, he and a number of conservative pundits have literally said that older people, who are believed to be the most vulnerable to the virus, would rather die than see the economy go down the tubes. It is safe to say that these people have absolute lost their minds, assuming they had any to begin with. If this is Trump’s response to human lives—what has he done to the environment?
He’s executed it. Quietly, Trump has directed Executive Branch agencies to indefinitely let companies pollute air and water without the risk of being sanctioned. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency has “suspended its enforcement of environmental laws during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.”
Do you like existing or care about anything else existing? If so, this should disgust you. Have that disgust dictate how you vote in November.