Children and adults are getting ready for Halloween. It appears that one of the current top selling items is some version of a Trump costume.
Anyone going the political route will be perfectly synced with the recently released Chapman University Survey of America Fear Waves 4 (2017). It enumerates the top 10 things scaring Americans – and it isn’t spooky skeletons, witches, or black cats.
In a random sampling, two-fifths of those surveyed put environmental issues on their list. The remaining causes for apprehension included North Korea, the spine-chilling potential of a third World War, ghastly health care scenarios, debt disaster, and government corruption hocus-pocus.
The American public is getting a grip on how the current administration, with EPA head Scott Pruitt at the helm, remains obsessed with keeping fossil fuels and toxic chemicals viable by a steady dismantling of environmental and health regulations.
- 48 percent expressed worry about the changing climate and global warming. Surely, the spate of recent hurricanes has ratcheted up that reality, as Americans see homes flooded and families displaced. The fires on the west coast are the flip side of extreme weather disasters.
- 44.9 percent listed air pollution as a cause for anxiety. With a push to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the walk-away from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the ongoing disregard for environmental justice parity, this is not a surprise. We all need to breathe.
- 50.4 percent have palpable angst about the pollution of their drinking water. The Flint water crisis is a real horror story that most Americans can’t believe has happened in their country. Three and a half years in, the situation has combined economic distress, government mismanagement, and public health ramifications. A spooky tale that turned out to be true.
- 53.1 percent express alarm about the state of oceans, rivers, and lakes. This is the first time that national and international bodies of water have been specifically singled out. Concerns about pollution and degradation (Think seas full of plastic detritus and disappearing coral reefs) put this as third on the list – above not having enough money for the future or high medical bills.
The Chapman study makes a point of underscoring that this year is unique, because environmental topics have now cracked the top 10 fears in a list of eighty potential classifications.
Could Donald Trump be the reason? It’s reasonable to think that he and his anti-environmental stances and actions are more than just “hobgoblins” of the mind.
When he was a candidate for president, Trump spoke with regularity about the climate change “hoax,” and how he planned to gut the EPA. Now that he sits in the Oval Office, Trump has been rapidly signing Executive Orders and has overturned twenty-five rules to date. Highlights include:
- Methane reporting requirement
- Decision on Keystone XL pipeline
- Decision on Dakota Access pipeline
- Freeze on new coal leases on public lands
- Proposed ban on a potentially harmful pesticide
- Offshore drilling ban in the Atlantic and Arctic
- Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews
So, when you celebrate Halloween this year, just remember that among American’s greatest fears – zombies came in at the bottom of the list (# 78) with only 5.3 percent and ghosts (#79) at 4.3 percent.
It appears the country is most petrified of the cauldron being stirred in Washington. And this is bad news for the health of our children.