Resistance to Donald Trump: a climate snapshot

Throughout Trump's presidency individuals and communities have risen up to protest his climate-wrecking policies. Read these tales of environmental resistance and inspire your inner activist.
  Published:  29 May 2019    |      3 minute read

Trump’s policies favour polluting industries that are driving the climate emergency – putting wildlife, nature and people’s health in danger.

And his lies about the climate have become the stuff of legend.

But he hasn’t been getting it all his own way. Environmental groups alone have launched nearly 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration. And even US states have been getting in on the action.

1. Keystone XL pipeline blocked

Despite the climate emergency – and the need to switch from planet-heating fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) to renewable energy – Trump is trying to build an oil pipeline running from the oil-rich reserves of Alberta, Canada, to the US.

The proposed XL pipeline would increase the flow of oil from Canada, creating more demand for oil and worsening climate chaos.

He’s been trying to build this thing since he was inaugurated in 2017. But a lawsuit by environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth US, has left him livid.

A judge has barred all work on the pipeline and ordered the Trump administration to review impacts related to climate change, cultural resources and endangered species.

People holding up a fake pipeline to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in Nashville, United States.
Nashville, Tennessee, United States

2. California defies Trump over pesticide linked to brain damage

Let's get things straight – California is not a beacon of environmental light. Far from it. The sunshine state has a dirty record of fracking and oil drilling.

But it has at least shown resistance to Trump's attacks on climate science, worker’s rights and immigration. And now it's banning a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, as Trump moves to keep the chemical in use.

Chlorpyrifos is widely used on crops such as almond, citrus and cotton. The Trump administration has rejected recommendations from its own chemical safety experts to ban the pesticide. But the home of Hollywood, and the origin of most of the nation’s fruits and nuts, is having none of it.

Almond tree in California
Almond trees in the US have been known to be sprayed with the pesticide, chlorpyrifos.
Credit: Pixabay

3. Environmentalists sue to stop Trump destroying iconic forest

Trump and his inner circle want the sound of chainsaws ringing out in the nation’s largest forest.

But he’s going to have to get past a lawsuit to stand any chance of logging the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

Conservation groups have sued the Trump administration to protect centuries-old trees and an abundance of wildlife, including bears, wolves and eagles.

It’s not looking good for Trump. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason. She’s the same judge who blocked the president from sticking a road through a national wildlife refuge – and ruled against him sanctioning oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Bald eagles in the Tongass National Forest
Bald eagles in the Tongass National Forest
Credit: Pixabay

4. Artists against Trump

We’ve lost track of how many popstars and musicians have told Trump to stop playing their music at rallies. It would probably make a fairly banging compilation: Queen, Neil Young, Adele, Pharrell Williams, George Harrison’s estate…

A US-born Belfast writer has gone one step further.

Edie Shillue has written a play about well-meaning mothers kidnapping Donald Trump. Mothers Out Front charts the story of defenders of the planet who, despairing over the lack of action on climate change, take matters into their own hands.

An environmental zine with an illustration of Trump in a gas mask, denying climate change
Artists of all types have been expressing opinions about Donald Trump's policies
Credit: Allan LEONARD @MrUlster

5. Funding Trump’s presidential opponents

What’s the best way to resist Trump’s anti-science, anti-environment polices? Defeat him in the next general election.

That’s the idea behind the ‘Beat Trump Presidential Climate Unity Fund’. Major green political groups have teamed up to form a fundraising power base. The money will first fund Democratic candidates that are serious about fixing the climate – and then the eventual nominee in their head-to-head challenge against Trump.

A protest in the United States against Donald Trump
Credit: Pixabay

6. Trump baby blimp flies again

When Trump came to the UK in the summer of 2018 he was greeted by a giant, flying, orange baby blimp and tens of thousands of people protesting against him.

You’d think he might have got the message that his bigoted, destructive views aren’t welcome on our shores, but he went back to the UK in June 2019... and even received the red-carpet treatment.

There’s a world of reasons to protest Trump, so Friends of the Earth joined thousands of others on Tuesday 4 June to march against the climate denier-in-chief.

Trump baby blimp flying at the Trump protest in London, July 2018
Trump baby blimp flying at the Trump protest in London, July 2018
Credit: James Guppy
Earth heads from Friends of the Earth protest Trump's visit, 2019
Earth heads from Friends of the Earth protest Trump state visit, 2019