Earth Day, 2017 Should Be The Next Massive Rally

earthphotoThe 47th Earth Day falls this year on April 22, a Saturday.  The fortuity of a weekend date makes Earth Day the perfect opportunity to marshall the energy of the wildly successful Women’s marches around the world to demand that Congress and the Trump Administration protect our planet (hat tip to Emmett Fellow Julia Forgie for suggesting the idea).

Perhaps no policy area has faced more immediate attack from the new Trump administration than the environment.  Today, he signed executive memoranda reviving both the Dakota Access Pipeline  and the Keystone Pipeline.  He also ordered Environmental Protection Agency employees not to speak to the press or disseminate information on social media.  Yesterday, he ordered a suspension of all new business activities with outside contractors and EPA.  On the same day, the Center for Disease Control announced it was canceling a conference on the public health effects of climate change.   On Saturday, just as Trump was inaugurated, all mention of President Obama’s climate polices was scrubbed from the White House website.  In place of the climate policies, Trump and his staff spelled out his new energy plan, predictably called “An America First Energy Plan.”  The plan announces that the new administration will get rid of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan, which includes the Clean Power Plan and fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. The Waters of the United States is also on the chopping block. In place of these policies, the Trump Administration will  focus on the fracking of shale gas and reviving the coal industry.  Last week, The Hill leaked a Trump Administration report that recommends gutting clean energy programs in the Department of Energy, including eliminating the Office of Electricity, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, which as the Hill explains, “focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” And of course Trump has proposed that Scott Pruitt  head EPA even though Pruitt has sued EPA 13 times, including to invalidate both the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Air Act mercury rule.  Rick Perry, the DOE Secretary-designee, once proposed eliminating the agency Trump has tapped him to head. Trump has also said he will “get rid of” the Paris Agreement, removing the U.S. from it leadership role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

I realize that some advocates have proposed a march on April 15, Tax Day, to demand that Trump release his tax returns. I support a demonstration to get him to do so.  But I have a hunch that a call to protest Trump’s environmental policies will generate more passion and intensity and greater attendance.   The earth is under assault like never before.  The NoDAPL protests generated massive public attention and at least a short-term victory for protestors.  We have just experienced the hottest year on record, hotter than the records recorded in 2014 and 2015.  Arctic sea ice hit record lows every day in December. Bleaching of Australia’s Great Coral Reef has left it almost dead.  California is only slowly recovering from record drought.  Sea level rise is already causing coastal flooding. Incidents of massive flooding around the globe are commonplace.  We don’t have the luxury of four years of environmental rollbacks.  We need to demand — loudly, clearly, and in huge numbers —  that  Trump and  Congress protect our planet. Earth Day is the perfect day to do so.

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Reader Comments

7 Replies to “Earth Day, 2017 Should Be The Next Massive Rally”

  1. I completely agree that we need to keep the momentum going. We need citizen engagement now more than ever. Several organizations share this line of thinking and are organizing the People’s Climate Mobilization on April 29, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Although not taking place on Earth Day as suggested here, the Mobilization has proven successful in previous years and is bound to see a solid turnout. (More info can be found here:

  2. Ann said;
    “…..We need to demand — loudly, clearly, and in huge numbers — that Trump and Congress protect our planet. Earth Day is the perfect day to do so…..”

    Dear Ann,
    Instead of protesting on Earth Day, why not just stick to protesting on Legal Planet which is online 24/7 and delivers much better results. I have been protesting on Legal Planet for several years now and it finally paid off big time, far better than that silly women’s march. Do your protesting on Legal Planet and forget about Tax Day and Earth Day which are a big waste of time. Legal Planet rules the environmental universe.

  3. I second Darcy’s comment. A protest in DC on Earth Day would undermine local events, which have already been planned. Instead, let’s aim for a big turnout on April 29th.

  4. Prof. Carlson, thank you for your initiative, but we must accelerate our efforts even more today because Washington politicians are accelerating their attacks against environmentalists due to the oppressive power of money over far too many corrupt politicians while climate changes keep accelerating faster than we predicted.

    I shall never forget the first Earth Day in 1970 when comic strip character Pogo helped call attention to Earth Day with a most famous poster by Walt Kelly: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Today in 2017, the enemy is a greater threat to our civilization than we ever imagined in 1970.

    Rachel Carson was the greatest environmental scientist in the 20th century, and her 1962 book “Silent Spring” motivated us to end the destructive era of DDT. This was in spite of the fact that she was even attacked by other scientists who were controlled by the power of money that Ike gravely warned us about in his 1961 Farewell Address. No environmentalist has achieved anywhere near this magnitude of success since.

    We most desperately need another Rachel Carson today, and I hope that is you.

  5. I believe that “Earth Day” April 22nd is the day to March on Washington. I am
    already to make posters and gather people right now. We need to make a decision soon to make the massive statement that needs to be made at this time for all life seven generations in the future.

  6. I’ve been calling for a #EarthDayMarchOnWashingtonDC for the weekend of April 22. Ive been doing this on my Twitter account (@AshleyWilkes) tweeting this message every day Trying to raise interest. We need to get public awareness raised as to the importance of this type of March. Imagine at least 5 million people marching from all over the country to the Washington monument in protest of Trump’s insane actions as our President. Please send me a tweet if you want to be part of this or if you have already gotten something started so I can join in with my experience and expertise.

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

READ more