Things don’t always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change, if we act. Which is where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history.
—Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Nation Books: 2006)
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States threatens to be catastrophic for Utah’s public lands and Utah’s environmental quality. People who oppose conservation of public lands often say, “I like things how they are. Please don’t change it.” What they fail to realize is, things are how they are largely because citizen environmental groups have been fairly successful at mitigating or stopping some of the worst anti-environmental ideas.
In the past, federal regulations have enabled citizen input on public lands management and helped communities reach decisions that protect environmental values. A Trump administration threatens to undo these regulations, which conservatives deride as “overreach.” With Republicans in control of both the U.S. House and Senate, we can expect to see all kinds of bad environmental legislation come back from the dead.
Amy Brunvand is an academic librarian who currently works in the University of Utah Sustainability Office, coordinating sustainability education, research and initiatives at the University.