In the early winter months I enjoy photographing migratory birds, mushrooms and rain. Until a few days ago the mushrooms and rain were very scarce. But today I am able to sing a favorite song from my childhood: “I saw raindrops on my window, joy is like the rain. Laughter runs across my pane, slips away and comes again, joy is like the rain.” These words were penned and put to music by Miriam Teresa Winters, the Roman Catholic feminist who has called herself a “dissident in place.”
I think my palette, the earth, is getting short-changed these days, if not outright attacked. I don’t think her dissident children can simply protest “in place.” One new resolve for me is to contribute to the Environmental Defense Fund. The EDF helps mitigate climate change, repair damaged ecosystems, restore wildlife habitat and protect us and our food sources from toxic chemicals. In addition, it is advocating and litigating fiercely against attempts to roll back core environmental protections.
The Trump administration and Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt are championing 30 percent cuts to the EPA’s budget. That would take its funding to its lowest level since the 1970s. At the same time, industry insiders and lobbyists are being appointed to EPA leadership positions to oversee the polluting industries they come from.
The EPA is facing the largest cut of any federal agency, and this will mean the dismissal of thousands of scientists, engineers and others who help states prevent and clean up waste and pollution. The raindrops sliding across our windows these days have got to be tears of sorrow from Mother Earth.
“EDF doesn’t just talk about problems,” says Michael Bloomberg, an EDF supporter and founder of Bloomberg, L.P. “It helps design smart government policies, combines them with private sector know-how and creates solutions.” The rains, the birds and the mushrooms, just to mention a few, are depending on us.