Donald Trump doesn’t think climate change is happening — he apparently doesn’t go outside much these days, unless he’s in Florida — and he doesn’t think air and water pollution, the proliferation of plastic waste, or energy conservation are pressing issues.

He delights in rolling back half a century’s worth of environmental regulations, he takes pleasure in undoing what others — particularly Barack Obama — worked so hard to do to limit and reverse damage to nature and to Americans’ health and well-being.

He may not know it, but he’s swimming against the tide. The little inflated life ring around his tummy is somehow keeping him afloat, the little water wings on his arms are keeping him paddling. But more and more Americans are moving in the opposite direction.

Across the country, everyday people, organized groups and enlightened businesses are taking steps to mitigate and reverse the activities that are turning Earth into a disaster movie.

Many states have adopted wide-ranging climate laws of their own. California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Washington have set goals to get 100 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, geothermal or nuclear sources by 2050.

These are all states with Democratic legislatures, but among the 15 governors who have declared support for completely clean energy is Maryland’s Larry Hogan (R). He has allowed a new state law to take effect that would require half of Maryland’s energy to come from clean sources by 2030. He has also expressed support for expanding the mandate to 100 percent by 2040.

Just up the Atlantic coast, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced two weeks ago regulations that will require builders to consider the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, in order to get government approval for projects.

With 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, New Jersey is literally on the front line of the sea-level battle. A 2019 study by Rutgers shows those levels rising more than twice as fast as the global rate — 1.5 feet since 1911, compared with the worldwide mean of .6 feet. And nearly the same is happening in Maryland, studies show. Coastline sea levels in the Free State are forecast to rise an additional 1.4 feet by 2050 and 3.7 feet by 2100.

Maryland is also at the forefront of the growing effort to control plastic pollution. Last year, the General Assembly banned foam food and beverage containers, a threat to fish and other marine life. It was a movement driven, in part, by Baltimore Beyond Plastic, a high school group that first succeeded in persuading the city’s schools to give up polystyrene containers, then moved on to convince the entire city to do the same.

Still on a roll, the youth group next helped persuade the Baltimore City Council to pass an ordinance banning retailers from giving customers plastic bags, beginning next year. Stores will have to charge 5 cents for any alternative bag they provide, including ones made of paper. The goal is to encourage consumers to provide their own, reusable bags.

This year, the Maryland Legislature is tackling the Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act, a bill with more than 40 sponsors that would prohibit stores from using plastic bags for retail sales. The proposal, along with a companion bill in the state Senate, would also set up a Single-Use Products Workgroup to make recommendations on limiting plastic cups, straws, utensils and similar products.

Maine also adopted a foam packaging ban last year, and New York is considering a ban this year.

Dart Container, the heavyweight in producing plastic and foam containers, isn’t running up the white flag in the battle. But in response to public pressure, it has launched an effort to find ways to recycle its single-use products and is experimenting with alternative materials.

Other industries across the country are also seeing the future far more clearly than the president. Energy producers continue to move away from fossil fuels, shutting down aging coal-fired generating plants and moving toward renewable sources.

Automakers are pushing ahead with electric vehicles — and finding success in the market. Tesla’s stock market value is now more than $100 billion, second among carmakers only to Toyota’s $200 billion worth.

So we’re seeing more than a “grassroots” trend here. Some heavy hitters are in the game.

No matter. Donald Trump is unlikely to change course. In his mind, he doesn’t make mistakes. The only thing that will bring him around is saltwater lapping at the doors of Mar-a-Lago. And even then, he may see nothing but a hoax.

(5) comments

threecents

Maybe new housing and building developments should be required to have solar or geothermal.

MD1756

As progressive as Maryland is, I think it is a follower when it comes to environmental protection and it needs to do a much better job than it has. How about a few more billions spent on the environment? For example, the state should step in and mandate a solution between Frederick and Carroll counties to address cleanup of the Monocacy. Since Maryland is guilty of promoting population growth, then the state should pick up the slack when it comes to infrastructure shortfalls such as the WWTPs in Frederick. Instead of a fund to pay heating and cooling bills for the poor, how about investing in geothermal and/or solar at properties where poor people live or rent? That would reduce their utility bills while providing environmental benefits to all.

matts853

The richest counties in Marlyland are at the epicenter of the economic juggernaut that is the DMV. As long as the job supply is high, and the wages that come with them, politicians will continue to support development, regardless of party affiliation. And those politicians have a disproportionate amount of influence over the rest of the State. That’s why even progressive MOCO that professes to be “green” can’t wean themselves off of development. And we know that development and job growth generate more people who in turn burn more fossil fuels, stress the water supply, and generally degrade what little is left of the natural world in these parts. It’s all bad for us in the end, but yet we just keep making a bigger and bigger mess of things as we strive toward ever greater “prosperity”. I’m a hypocrite because my family is neck deep in this rat race we live in, the only difference is I’ve become enlightened to it over the years, which makes it a really bitter pill to continue swallowing on a daily basis. But there’s no going back to a natural existence. Besides most people are oblivious to the long-term damage we’re doing to the planet, or they just don’t care as long as their portfolios keep rising. So it’s looking more and more to me like we’re just building a house of cards. I do what little I can to mitigate my family’s contribution to climate change and trash, but it’s not just not possible for individuals to make a real difference without a political sea change towards an Earth first policy agenda. That’s just reality. But I don’t see that happening fast enough. It’s going to take a whole bunch more of natural disasters and economic hits before public sentiment goes solidly green. So I’m just about at the ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em phase. It would make a good sequel to Dr. Strangelove: ‘How I Stopped Worrying About Climate Change and Learned To Enjoy The Ride’...

mrnatural1

I wish I could disagree with your comment matts, but I'm afraid you're correct.

We are up against powerful forces, two of which are human nature and 'the tragedy of the commons'.

To a one degree or another, most people are greedy; selfish; short-sighted; and/or stupid. They do what is in their own immediate best interest.

No one 'owns' the atmosphere or the oceans so it's hard to convince people not to pollute them. And after all, it's just a little bit here and a little bit there. What's a bit more CO2 or plastic waste gonna hurt?

We already have 8 BILLION people, a few million more won't make a difference...

By the time people are fighting over land, food, water, and other resources it will be too late.

It is all but guaranteed that humans will destroy the Earth's ability to support life.

Dwasserba

"These are all states with Democratic legislatures..." Unaffiliated voters like me are taking note of which party headlines which efforts and plan to reward accordingly. Let the blind stumble on behind the huge rear end blocking their view of reality.

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