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From the Editor

There’s a Crack in Everything

Just a few days after the US elections it’s already clear that difficult times lie ahead. The multiple reports of hate and bigotry coming in from across this nation have made the prospect of the next four years under a Donald Trump presidency seem nightmarish to many. The future of our lands and waters too, is in grave peril. There’s no escaping the fact that under a climate change denying president and a right-wing GOP, many of the environmental protections we have fought so hard for over decades might get rolled back. At immediate risk are Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate accord, and the powers of the EPA. Trump has also prioritized removing restrictions against coal, oil, and natural gas extraction and reviving “vital energy infrastructure projects” like the Keystone XL pipeline.

True, there’s no saying whether Trump will follow through with all his bombastic campaign promises, but based on the fossil fuel execs and climate deniers he has tapped for key positions on his transition team, the coming years are sure to bring increased federal leasing of lands for fossil fuel exploration, cuts to climate and clean energy research programs, and fewer protections for critical lands and ecosystems.

Internationally, it’s game over for US leadership in the international climate policy arena, which spells disaster for efforts to cap global emissions.

No doubt, the work to protect our lands and waters, our communities, and our nonhuman fellow beings has just gotten 10 times tougher.

But, as always, the cracks in our body politic are already letting the light through.

In November, voters in several states sided with the environment and public good. Conservative states such as Iowa and Florida embraced wind and solar energy. Voters in Massachusetts approved an animal welfare measure outlawing the extreme confinement of livestock. California and New York continue to work on their own emissions-reduction plans, and the transition to a low-carbon economy is moving apace, led by cities, towns, local municipalities, and businesses that have voted for a healthy environment.

Meanwhile, grassroots justice movements are gathering strength like never before. The ongoing struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has brought together a broad coalition of indigenous communities, environmentalists, and social activists, is a shining example of this. Not only is the movement raising key questions about how we relate to the natural world that sustains us, but as with this election, it’s also refocusing our attention on what political activist Angela Davis calls “the intersectionality of struggles” for environmental, social, and political justice. (See “Nations Rising”)

We are at an extraordinary moment in time. Big battles lie ahead that will test the foundations of this democracy and either shake or reestablish our faith in humanity. For all of us working to build a humane, just, and sustainable world, this is the moment to come together and stand strong.

Let’s get working.

Maureen Nandini Mitra signature graphic

   

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Comments

I am a Kenyan journalist based in Nairobi After going through the Earth Island Journal, which I landed at ‘FundsForWritersMarkets’ link, I am appreciating the big resource that you are in terms of story destinations and research knowledge.

However, currently, I’d like to inquire whether you accept stories from this part of the world. I would like to contribute stories for the journal. A number of exciting aspects from here. The biggest forest complex is at the mercies of illegal loggers and grabbers (who are converting huge tracts of land into farms). At the moment when Kenya starting to step up forest cover to the internationally accepted 10 per cent, the activities in the forest are reversing gains of up to 6.7 per cent cover. In the process accelerating surface run off of rain water, raising soil erosion volumes, downstream this water is cutting farmlands. The impact of this surface run off has seen homesteads separated from blocks of their farmlands by deep gullies. More worse, it is contributing to silting of a major soda ash production in Lake Magadi (It hosts a breeding ground for the lesser flamingos). The actions upstream are also affecting tourism, which also forms Kenya’s economic backbone.

Another exciting story is the upgraded efforts by animal welfare bodies for a better treatment of the donkey across East Africa. Brooke International is funding donkey welfare projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Somali among others.

If these two story ideas interests Earth Island Journal, kindly let me know.

I thank you in advance.

By George Kebaso on Sun, January 08, 2017 at 9:31 am

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