Here are the winners:
Hall of Fame
1. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe ( 91% of the vote) – an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, she is director of the Climate Science Center. She is an evangelical Christian who believes that science and religion do not have to conflict with one another. She has been a persuasive spokesperson for action on global warming and supports a Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal to address the issue.
Award: An appreciation of climate science by conservatives.
2. The Standing Rock Sioux (5%) – for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect their water quality after it was routed through their reservation due to concerns of other communities for the same reason. Facing militarized police forces and North Dakota’s most severe blizzards and sub zero winds they prevailed in efforts on the reservation and in the media capturing the support of much of the nation.
Suggested Award: A proper, nonpolitical environmental review before any more construction.
3. President Barack Obama (2%) – for coordinating and implementing a global climate pact signed by 195 countries, including the US, even in the face of a Congress that would stop at nothing to prevent it. President Obama managed to tie the US Paris agreement to a previous treaty to avoid a possible defeat in Congress.
Prize : Clean air and water for our grandchildren as his legacy.
4. China (2%) –for announcing an investment of $361 billion in renewable energy by 2020 (and probably taking the global lead in green tech – a sad, missed opportunity for the US, but a great achievement for our shared future). China has also just cancelled the construction of 100 coal fired power plants to be replaced with wind and solar energy.
Award : Being able to go outdoors in the cities without a mask.
Hall of Shame
1. The Palm Oil industry (91% of the vote.) – Palm Oil is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in US grocery stores, creating a skyrocketing demand for the oil. This demand has led to the burning of millions of acres of tropical rain forests and jungles, caused the loss of wildlife and eco-system, contributed to climate change, and spread corruption to local and national governments. It is also responsible for human rights violations as corporations often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples from their lands and its production has led to child labor violations and modern day slavery.
Suggested Award : A boycott of all conflict palm oil products.
2. Trump voters (5%) – for electing a President more than willing to undo even the modest progress the Paris Agreement would/could have accomplished – and most certainly will work to enable completion of the Keystone Pipeline, and push the Dakota Access pipeline in which he seems to have a financial interest. He has promised to remove/rollback decades of regulations designed to improve the quality of our air, water, and soil.
Suggested Award: May you drink water approved by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.
3. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin (2%) – for appointing a real estate lady to head the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), scattering the DNR programs among five agencies making conservation more costly and less effective, halting enforcement of environmental regulations, and scrubbing anything involving Climate Change from DNR computers.
Wished for Award: A resounding defeat in the next election.
4. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (2%) – chairman of the powerful House Committee on Natural Resources, with sway over issues ranging from energy production to mining, fisheries, and wildlife across one-fifth of the nation’s landmass. He wants to overturn Obama’s Bear’s Ears monument, taking the land away from a coalition of native American tribes so it can be broken up and sold to mining and lumber interests. He introduced a Constitutional amendment that would take away the right of the President to designate national monuments, and has fought to weaken environmental laws and neuter federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service.
Award: Perhaps having the federal agencies return the favor.
It looks like 2017 will have some epic battles between conservationists and corporate polluters. Please keep in mind those who affect the environment the most for good or ill for your 2017 nominations.
(c) 2017 – J.C. Moore