The (Christian) Book of Revelations portrays Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse –- War, Famine, Death, and Pestilence. The Book says they will bring on the apocalyptic End of Days.
President Trump is doing his best to bring on the planetary disaster of climate chaos, the End of Days for the web of life in which the human species has lived its entire history.
Indeed, unprecedented droughts and floods are already bringing on Famine and Death, planetary heating is spreading tropical diseases into much broader regions endangered by Pestilence, and climate-caused hunger is bringing on civil Wars like the one in Syria. Worse is on the way.
So to make sure that new attacks on Mother Earth are thwarted, we too must do our best.
This letter to you invites you to an unusual number of explorations of our own and other websites. You may not need to pursue them all. But your own efforts to heal our wounded Mother Earth and defend American democracy from its worst attackers since the Civil War -- will be stronger if you connect your heart-felt passion with knowledge in your head.
There are two avenues open to us in challenging the Trumpist attack on Mother Earth.
One is bring our own energy into direct opposition: our votes, our letters to the editor, our prayers and public vigils, our bodies on the line in civil disobedience.
The other is to create Islands of Transformation in myriads of our neighborhoods, in many of our cities, and in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. Transformation groups that pursue real flesh-and-blood alternatives :of reducing CO2 emissions through energy conservation and renewable energy, while making neighborhoods neighborly, ending local epidemics of asthma and cancer, and building a political base for taking back the people’s government for the People.
In the second half of this essay, we willl explore in more unfolding, these different ways of challenging Apocalypse. First let us face what it is we need to challenge.
To make sure that this real Apocalypse goes forward for the sake of multiplying corporate Super-Profits, Trump has begun by issuing his own decrees:
- He is trying to reinstate the Dakota [Oil] Access Pipe Line that violates US treaties with the Sioux Nation, violates US law that requires environmental impact statements, and may poison the Missouri River from which millions of Americans drink, while transporting oil to worsen the burning of earth, our common home.
- He is trying to reinstate the XL Pipeline that is intended to bring the most CO2-filthy oil on Earth, Tar Sands oil, to refineries in Texas for burning Earth by multiplying CO2 emissions.
Both were halted by the Obama Administration –- but only, let us remember and take note to guide our future -- in response to enormous public pressure.
Trump also appointed real Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to his Cabinet: four Cabinet members who are ready to carry out as policy their master’s contempt for climate science and his passion for the Carbon economy that is heating up the Earth.
The new Cabinet is full of Robber Barons -- an enemy of public education in charge of education, an enemy of racial justice to head the Department of Justice. Yet it will have more Carbon Pharaoh Arsonists than any other kind of anti-democratic mogul.
For Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson from Exxon -- the Big Oil corporation that has known since the mid-‘70s (from the work of its own in-house scientists) that burning oil threatened the planet, but chose to lie and purchase lies in public rather than change its business plan.
Their lies prevented effective public action for an entire generation – public action that could have prevented the climate crisis, and could have saved many lives from flood and famine. There is simple truth to the slogan, “Exxon lied and people died. Homicide or genocide?”
In his confirmation hearings, Tillerson expressed reservations on climate change and said that he did not view it as the imminent national security threat that the Pentagon and many other experts do.
So dishonest, destructive, and disastrous have Exxon’s actions been that even the Rockefeller Foundations -- built on the money that came from the Rockefeller ancestors of Exxon -- have taken on Exxon’s lies. For a full explanation of Exxon’s perfidy, see two excellent articles in the New York Review of Books:
And a dozen State Attorneys-General, led by New York’s Eric Schneiderman, are investigating whether Exxon’s lies constituted crimes of racketeering. Congressmen who feed hungrily at Exxon’s trough have tried to subpoena several of these Attorneys-General and such Earth-protective organizations as 350.org and Friends of the Earth, to intimidate them from pursuing the truth about Exxon. See details at --
Continuing on Trump’s real Four Horsemen of the real Apocalypse:
For head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney-General Scott Pruitt, who has sued EPA to cancel many of its efforts to control CO2 emissions – including the crucial Clean Power Plan. Pruitt says he doubts “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
To lead the Energy Department, Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, Mr. Perry called the established science of human-caused climate change a “contrived, phony mess.”
To head the Interior Department, which oversees US public lands and makes decisions whether to lease them to Oil and Gas corporations, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke. About climate change, he said: “It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either. You don’t dismantle America’s power and energy on a maybe. We need to be energy independent first.”
What shall we do?
One path is to put our minds and words, our hearts, our bodies, in opposition to these Four Horsemen and their boss. Punish Exxon, prevent the Dakota and XL Pipelines, defend our national arks and public lands from depredation of our forests for the sake of coal and oil an unnatural gas and the others that are already despoiling large regions of America.
How to do this?
(1) Boycott Exxon, picket Exxon stations, support the Attorneys-General that are investigating Exxon, tell your Senators you oppose confirmation of Exxon’s chief as Secretary of State (call 202-224-3121), visit the home offices of Senators and local offices of Exxon.
(2) The Standing Rock Water Protector resistance to the Dakota PipeLine is rooted in prayerful love of Mother Earth. Get your religious congregation or community, your meditation group, your parents’ group, your labor union to show up again and again at local offices of the Army Corps of Engineers to insist they refuse permits for the Dakota PipeLine. Create ceremonies that affirm: “Water is Life!”
Special possibility: This year the Jewish festival of Tu B'Shvat -- the ReBirthDay of earthly trees and of the supernal Tree of Life -- falls on Friday evening February 10/ Saturday February 11. Gather perhaps on Friday afternoon at your local offices of the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a miniature Seder that celebrates the Four Worlds of Kabbalah in both their physical and spiritual aspects: Earth (food and forest; physical actuality), Water (“Water is Life”; emotion and ethics), Air (climate; creative intellect), and Fire (renewable energy; Spirit). See --
(3) The weekend of Friday, March 31, to Sunday, April 2, precedes the 50th anniversary of April 4, 1967, when Martin Luther King spoke his most profound, prophetic, and provocative sermon –- “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” In it he namd Racism, Militarism, and Materialism” as three deadly “triplets” endangering America. On the March 31-April 2 weekend, gather in churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other communal settings to read the speech and apply it to activism today. See <https://MLK50@org>
(4) On Saturday, April 29, there will be a massive Climate March on Washington, intended to be as committed and high-spirited as the People’s Climate March in New York City (between 300,000 and 400,000 people), plus demands for specific actions by federal and state governments. SAVE THE DATE – and we will get back to you with details about the March and its Faith Contingent.
Another path is to create our own alternatives, working at the levels of neighborhoods and city and state governments to create renewable energy that meets our needs while reducing the global wounds inflicted by unchecked emissions of CO2 and methane.
This approach would also include conserving energy –- using mass public transit instead of autos to get around, and insulating our homes and workplaces. And reducing the amount of meat we eat, since raising cattle pours more methane into Mother Earth.
We strongly recommend creating neighborhood solar and/or wind co-ops. We will explore this with you in more detail. Meanwhile, check out <http://www.communitypowernetwork.com>
With blessings that from this work flow Truth and Wisdom, Justice and Healing, Shalom, Salaam, and Peace for all of us and for Earth, our common home.