Yesterday I read that Trump adviser Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, thinks that the green movement is the greatest threat to freedom.

He might be right. The green movement might be the greatest threat to his freedom to exploit and pollute the planet and foist the consequences off on other people. Liberals may be the greatest threat to his freedom to cut welfare, remove the minimum wage and then accuse people who can’t make ends meet of not trying hard enough. (Because, obviously, he worked hard for everything he has.)

(He also referred to scientists as the expertariat, a term of derision that (as far as I can tell from a quick Google) was coined by the alt-right to suggest that scientists are a body of unelected officials who are trying to rule the world. And, of course, the ‘people’ have currently fallen out of love with ‘experts’. It seems to me, with rising voter apathy and the election of the first American president with neither political nor military experience that they’ve fallen out of love with politicians, too.)

The Right are right – this is about freedom.

It’s about the freedom:

  • to live in a world that’s not controlled by corporate interests, putting profit before everything
  • to live in a world where the air is not so polluted that it’s killing us
  • to prevent pollution of our precious fresh water supplies
  • to eat food that’s nutritious and pesticide-free, and making us better, not worse
  • to avoid eating GMOs if that is our choice
  • to leave an inhabitable planet for the generations to come.

I want:

  • Freedom from fear of persecution because on some level a person seems different
  • Freedom from unwanted pregnancy and women being told what we can do with our bodies
  • Freedom from fear of violence
  • Freedom from propaganda, misinformation, fake news and alternative facts that degrade our ability to make our own choices.

What can we do?
I firmly believe that growing some of your own food, even if it’s just herbs on the windowsill, is a powerful political act of defiance. I was writing about leeks yesterday (for the second volume of the Small Harvest Handbook), and it made me smile, because plants are just so wonderful. That happy lasted for hours 🙂 So go sow some seeds! Spring is on the way.

We can celebrate that thousands of gay men have been pardoned, a hard won victory that may be getting a bit lost in the political melée. And that spikes installed to prevent homeless people sleeping outside a building have been removed after a Manchester woman covered them in cushions to protest. And that a petition against Trump coming to the UK on an official state visit got so many signatures that it has to be debated in Parliament. We can and do make a difference.

We can bear in mind that the media we’re listening to is biased, and we can look after ourselves so that we can stay outraged without losing our minds, because it looks like this is going to be a long fight.

Focus on what you have to offer. You may not be able to march or demonstrate, or to make financial contributions. But you can make a valuable difference, even if it’s just swapping one product from your weekly shop to organic or fair trade, or taking 5 minutes at lunch to walk to the independent sandwich shop. And you can sign up to YouGov so that your opinion counts in all those statistics that are quoted in the media. You don’t have to do everything; there are plenty of us!

Now, that’s all been a bit heavy, so here’s a picture of a really cute dog (which, as it happens, is avidly watching a red panda*, and about to try and jump into its enclosure!) to cheer you up:

Freedom: Cute dog watching a red panda

*Cute dog was on a lead and its owners were attentive. No red pandas were harmed 🙂