On April 22, millions of people from around the world joined together to celebrate Earth Day - an annual event that seeks to "diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement."
But this weekend on Earth Day, President Trump relayed a very different message. Instead of paying homage to environmentalism, Trump used the occasion to applaud his own efforts to roll back key environmental regulations.
"We know that it is impossible for humans to flourish without clean air, land, and water," the President's statement reads.
"We also know that a strong, market-driven economy is essential to protecting these resources. For this reason, my Administration is dedicated to removing unnecessary and harmful regulations that restrain economic growth and make it more difficult for local communities to prosper and to choose the best solutions for their environment."
The assertion reveals just how little President Trump knows understands the history of Earth Day.
The very first Earth Day took place on April 22 way back in 1970, and the event was widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.
After the inaugural event, the "passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed."
Funnily enough - these are the exact "unnecessary and harmful regulations" that President Trump was referring to in his Earth Day statement.
In January, for instance, the Trump administration announced plans to undo a key policy under the Clean Air Act. This particular policy, which has been around for 20-some years, maintains strict standards for major sources of air pollution.
Environmentalists responded immediately.
"This is among the most dangerous actions that the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken yet against public health," said John Walke, the director for clean air issues at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"Rolling back longstanding protections to allow the greatest increase in hazardous air pollutants in our nation's history is unconscionable."
Just a month later, the Trump administration announced it would also be suspending the Clean Water Act for two years.
"Communities across our country can't just 'suspend' their need for clean water anymore than they can suspend their need for the sun to come up, which makes this ridiculous giveaway to polluters all the more galling," said Dalal Aboulhosn, Deputy Legislative Director for Land and Water for the Sierra Club.
When it comes to the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), things aren't much better.
The GOP bills currently proposed in Congress would allow the Fish and Wildlife service to deny animal protections based on economic considerations – even if the scientific findings are in direct opposition – and they would limit the enforcement of ESA protections across the US.
Right now, there are more than 500 species in the US that are waiting to receive protections. But if President Trump gets his way, the Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which allocates funding for species and habitat conservation, will run dry in 2019.
The Center for Biological Diversity has called the Trump administration's 2019 budget proposal a "death sentence for Endangered species."
By no means has the Trump administration just stuck to these three environmental policies.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris agreement, proposed expanding offshore drilling, suggested gutting the nation's fuel efficiency standards, slashed the size of several national parks and monuments, and started the process to roll back several Obama-era environmental regulations.
In other words, Trump has tried to undo pretty much all of the work that the Earth Day movement has spurred on since its creation in 1970.
The hypocrisy was not lost on those who frequent Twitter.
So, Trump's Earth Day message is, essentially, "damn the Earth; full speed ahead!"— Joel Klebanoff (@JoelKlebanoff) April 22, 2018
I'm still wondering how removing regulations designed to protect the environment is good for the waterways, natural resources and wildlife. The removal of these regulations is merely a licence for big business to profit from invading and despoiling all of the above.— Werner Ott (@kapboy59) April 22, 2018
Trump celebrates Earth Day by touting his massive roll back of environmental regulations that protect Earth.— Victor Laszlo (@Impolitics) April 22, 2018
So I assume that on the Fourth of July he will announce our surrender to the British.
Your comments @realDonaldTrump are the antithesis of what Earth Day is about.— Gizmo & Ginger's Dad (@blackhawks1114) April 22, 2018
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