Sunday, December 11, 2016

Science in Fiction (#23): Black Moon by Romina Russell

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring Black Moon by Romina Russell!

Black Moon is book three in the Zodiac series. In the Zodiac world, the twelve Houses have autonomy on their planet. But each House begins to fall, and a terrorist group called the Marad begin to rise. The Master, a mysterious and unknown man (or woman) is rising, and wants to take over the Houses and control all the power. This series is set in an interplanetary world.

I'm going to preface this post by saying that I am going to tangentially relate Black Moon to the environmental topic I chose. There are plenty of good science-y issues and themes that I could discuss that directly relate, but I need to do a post on the following.

Today, I'm going to talk about all of the environment-related things that are going to change with the change in U.S. presidency in January.

(Tuck in, because this is going to be a looooong post.)

So everyone knows that this man was recently elected to be the 45th President of the United States... right? How could you not know.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Donald Trump is many things, a Republican and now President-Elect being two of them. Environmentally friendly, he is not. Here are all of the things that Trump/Congress will probably do/allow/support, in the years to come (I say "probably" but really it should be "most likely/definitely"):

- Eliminate the Clean Power Plan (i.e. Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act). This Plan is designed to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. That's a GOOD thing. Currently, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is above 400 ppm. That's not good at all! And Trump wants to get rid of this Plan? The Plan is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. It will most likely go to the Supreme Court in 2017... and it will most likely be decided by the final seat of the Court that is vacant (and that Trump will fill). See how checks and balances work (or don't)?

- Reduce spending on renewable energy to focus on more a “fossil fuel-centric” energy policy. Because, with oil being a non-renewable energy source, and natural gas extraction processes like hydraulic fracturing being terrible for groundwater quality, reducing spending on renewable energy is REALLY smart. 

- Pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is so important because it addresses climate change and greenhouse gas emissions among the countries that are a part of the United Nations. But since we know that Trump doesn't believe in climate change, why should he want the U.S. to be a part of the Paris Agreement? Right? RIGHT? Given that many industrialized countries look to and follow the U.S.'s lead on environmental issues, pulling out of the Paris Agreement would be horribly detrimental for the entire world

- Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) altogether. I'm trying to be as indirectly biased as possible, but how stupid can you get. Dismantling the EPA is without doubt the stupidest environmental decision Trump could make (though, let me not jinx anything). Can you imagine corporations being able to do whatever they want with no consideration to forests, the atmosphere, groundwater, endangered species, etc.? Losing the EPA would be huge. I feel like I can't even quantify how horrible that would be. Even massive budget cuts for the agency would have extremely negative consequences. Leaving environmental regulations to the states would not work, after having federal regulations for forty years. We need those regulations!

- Allow projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to move forward. I could write a thesis on the environmental justice issues with DAPL. And DAPL isn't the only project that threatens the livelihood of marginalized groups. Trump's exact words: “lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks to allow these vital energy infrastructure projects to go ahead”. Nothing about DAPL is as vital as access to clean drinking water. Nothing.

- Push for U.S. energy independence. I put this on this list because it doesn't sound like a bad thing. In essence, it's not; freeing the U.S. of dependence on other countries for oil and other energy resources isn't a bad thing. But that would mean cranking up the natural gas industry. Look, folks. I know the natural gas industry is a massively growing industry in the U.S., and that's awesome for jobs. But extraction processes like hydraulic fracturing? Have horrifying impacts on the environment. Specifically, on groundwater. Watch "Gasland".

- Repeal many of Obama's green policies in general. This is very general but I have no doubt that Trump and the Republicans in Congress will immediately start to implement new regulations (that will most likely benefit big businesses) and pull back much of Obama's solid environmental policies. Just look at what I've already said about the Paris Agreement, renewable energy, etc. Clean energy industries have really taken off during Obama's presidency, and U.S. coal production has gone done. But with the new administrator, this is most likely going to change, and not for the better.

- Place Scott Pruitt at the head of the EPA. So Trump/Congress really can't make the EPA disappear (though he can reduce federal funding to nearly nothing). Who does he put to lead the EPA? Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier who supports the fossil fuel industry and would most likely scale back many regulations on air and water pollution. 

I could actually keep going, but I won't. Really take a look at this list, friends. Obviously none of these things have come to fruition (yet?), with the exception of Scott Pruitt being chosen as the head of the EPA. But I will definitely circle back next year and keep myself and everyone updated on how things have changed. Because they will change. 

Perhaps Trump can't remove the EPA altogether (that would take a while). Perhaps the clean energy industry will flourish regardless of Pruitt. Perhaps we're all going to choke on air pollutants and die a fiery death because climate change is very, very real despite what our President-Elect seems to believe. He can keep shutting his eyes and pretending (and any of you climate-change-deniers can do the same); it's not going to go away.

Yes, I am very aware of what checks and balances are. Keep in mind that the Republicans (most of whom align with Trump, though not all) control the House and Senate (i.e. Congress). Trump has a seat to the fill in the Supreme Court, and perhaps more in the years to come. So. Go ahead and explain to me why you think "checks and balances" will restrain him (for those that want to make that argument).

Thoughts on the year to come, in terms of U.S. environmental regulation? The Trump presidency in general? 

(I welcome all comments and opinions but please keep in mind that this is my blog. Also, please don't try to argue with me when it comes to FACTS, like climate change is real. Cheers!)


  1. Most voters did not like either candidate. In fact, in my state, 75,000 ballots were left blank for pres. Trump has said things and then backtracked, so we will just have to wait and see. As far as the Paris agreement goes, we just don't have the millions of dollars to give to 3rd world countries that don't contribute anything. Whatever money we have could be better used to get our own country in shape.

    1. Unfortunately I mentioned very little about ballots, who I wanted to win, and funding for other countries. The Paris agreement has little to do with funding third-world countries' ventures in limiting energy use. It sets a cap of temperature rise and carbon emissions for the countries in the UN. Pulling out of that agreement would cause a massive Domino effect.

      It's not always about getting the USA in balance. In this case, it needs to happen, but we must also think about the rest of the world and the state of our planet. As the #2 carbon-emitting planet, we have that responsibility to the world (and not just ourselves).

  2. Climate change certainly IS real, and I am extremely concerned regarding the future of our children & this beautiful planet~

    1. I agree! Each generation should make their best effort in leaving a better world for their children... it hasn't happened in a long time, in environmental terms. :/

  3. Another great post for the month.

    It's very interesting for me to see things highlighted like this especially as I am not an American nor am I au fait with the politics and goings on although this will have a very real and far reaching impact on the world.

    I hope that somehow this isn't as bad as it sounds.... Let's just hope that whatever is done can be undone in the next term just as he is undoing the work of his predecessors.

    Again, great post and thanks for this feature.

    1. There will be enormous ripple effects from any/all of these decisions, should any of them come to fruition. I so want things to be better than they currently are and what is stated in this post but it's discouraging. We'll have to wait and see how Trump handles everything.

      Thank YOU, Di!

  4. Sobs. He just became president. And I feel like so much awful will happen now :( Aw. But anyway. As always, lovely post Alyssa. <3 Hugs.

    1. I know. :/ The whole world is tied to the United States, and this presidency is not what anyone needs, ever. We can only hope that things turn out better than we expect. D:

      Thank you, Carina!


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