So this was a long and hard-fought campaign. A lot of our fellow Americans are exalted today and a lot of Americans are less so, but that’s the nature of campaigns. That’s the nature of democracy. It is hard, and sometimes contentious and noisy. It’s not always inspiring. But to the young people who got into politics for the first time and may be disappointed by the results, I just want you to know, you have to stay encouraged. Don’t get cynical. Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference.
~ Barack Obama on Trump being elected president
UPDATE! Since I originally posted this, I’ve had an opportunity to sit in Green Diva Studio with Climate Mama (aka Harriet Shugarman) and chat about this concept of ways we can stay positive and how we can take action. Please listen to this great GD Feature and then read on for much more…
Like many Americans, I went to bed election night feeling a sense of dismay and doom. The hours that followed were a swift decline into despair as waves of reality hit relentlessly. Yea, it’s no secret I’m not a Trump gal. I’m ok with that.
But I’m not going to attempt to deconstruct the crime scene that ended up in a Trump Presidency. Nope. I’m bouncing through Elizabeth Kubler Ross‘ stages of grief like an emotional pinball from one emotion to the next as if there’s been a tragic loss. Sound dramatic? Maybe, but apparently I’m not alone.
In clawing my way to accept that this may be the current reality, I have had moments of clarity and have had wee glimpses of the path ahead. It ain’t no fairy tale, but there is light at the end of this dark trail.
If you love nature, the earth, clean air, clean food, healthy children, and have an affinity for creatures including humans (although there may be exceptions), you should be concerned. Trump’s first 100 days agenda, albeit sophomoric and filled with gaping holes, shows an intent to dismantle much of the environmental, social equality and healthcare progress made in the last 50+ years. You might think that’s hyperbole, but it’s not. I’m STILL rubbing my eyes hoping that I’m actually slumbering peacefully in my bed and this is just a Stephen King dream.
It’s not all bad, and thankfully it’s not all going to come to fruition, but here are some of the highlights of Trump’s agenda for his for 100 days:
I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward
cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure
He’s also declared his intent to back out of the Paris Agreement, which may not be as easy as he thinks to achieve, but it seems he is willing to consider withdrawing from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change) to get er done.
Rather than collapse into hopelessness, extra naps, chocolate and other more hazardous vices; I’m focused on finding ways to be part of the solution. Hoping to gather with some of my fellow green divas and green dudes and get busy.
10 ways to be a positive force in the midst of change
- Connect with your community ~ maybe it’s literally your neighborhood or town, maybe it’s a group of people who care about the same issues, maybe it’s your religious community. It’s important to connect with like-minded people who you can share your feelings and ideas with.
- Keep it positive ~ while it is tempting to join in some of the negativity out there, please try not to waste to much energy mucking around in the sludge. Whatever you do, please do no harm. There are so many constructive ways to channel all that anxious or angry energy. Keep reading.
- Find your balance ~ emotions are raw and it is easy to wobble into controversy from an unbalanced place. I don’t know about you, but when I’m not centered, it is much easier for me to react to things going on around me. I find a daily practice of prayer and meditation, walks with my woof, chats with the cats (yes, I talk to my animals and the cats are quite interesting actually) all help me. Whatever helps you find your core of peaceful strength and clarity, DO IT.
- Breathe. Pause. Release. ~ I’m not always great at this one and had to banish myself from social media for a couple of days recently because I allowed myself to get embroiled in controversy. I can disengage from the pointless and energy-draining arguments if I practice pausing before jetting off my important and seemingly brilliant reactions. When I do this, I find that 90% of the time, I don’t really need to respond and engage at all, and am able to release my mental grip and move on to more meaningful activities.
- Get grounded in reality ~ in other words, do your homework. I have a couple of environmental scientist friends who are great at reigning in my fears (or occasionally fueling them), by pointing me to credible, science-based articles or facts that help dispel some of the fears about what is happening, especially when it comes to the environment and climate change. It’s real to be sure, but my terror about what the new president has pledged to his base he would do was somewhat tempered by the reality of what his limits of power may be. Read this excellent article that outlines some of what Trump can and cannot do so easily regarding climate change and environmental rollbacks.
- Pick your battles ~ I believe we are hitting a cultural bottom of sorts and perhaps the silver lining is a very loud call to action (not arms). I don’t think of myself as complacent about climate change, but in the face of a Trump presidency, I’m acutely aware that I need to step up my activities to safeguard some of the momentum and great work that has been done, particularly in the last decade or so. But, lest I burn out from running from group to group pledging my soul to each one, I need to be clear about where I can be most effective and prepare for a focused effort. There are many issues that will be screaming for attention, what are you most passionate about? Find it. Do what you can.
- Pace yourself ~ speaking of burning out. There’s a lot of work to do, but it won’t be done in a week, or a month or even a year. The good news is that a Trump administration has the same time/energy constraints in many ways. We need y’all for the long haul here. Take good care of yourself so you can keep up that wonderful energy. We need it!
- Remain calm ~ while a lot of folks are taking to the streets in angry protest denouncing this election results, I’ve found it best for myself to work on stabilizing my emotions and dispelling the overwhelming fear and anger swirling around. Sometimes gathering with a mob of angry and disenfranchised individuals only results in greater anger and frustration (in my humble opinion). I am finding my mojo and waiting for some purposeful ways to gather with my peeps and take meaningful and peaceful action. I’m a peacenik what can I say.
- Be respectful ~ my heart aches from the growing number of stories of people experiencing hate talk or outright attacks. I have literally ranted and raged on Facebook denouncing this behavior. Ultimately, my best weapon is to make sure I don’t succumb to my urge to use capital letters, expletives and personal attack to try and defend my position (whatever it is). My best weapons are facts, credible sources and calm, thoughtful responses. And when someone isn’t respectful to me, I’m mostly good at not engaging and just unplugging from them whenever possible. We are all on this spinning ball of fun called earth together and if we don’t lead the way to a peaceful evolution/revolution… well, I imagine it could get really messy. Namaste people. Namaste.
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