Why I took the Plunge

 by FAN board member, Kelly Moltzen after her Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, January 28, 2017


Kelly Moltzen (center) with other plungers at 2017 Polar Bear Plunge

I took a Polar Bear Plunge today with the Franciscan Action Network and Climate Caretakers, a global community of Christians committed to prayer and action on climate change.  Companies that plunder land for oil and fracked gas, cut down rainforests, and use industrial agriculture contribute to air pollution and climate change, leading to extreme weather, droughts, sea level rise, and food scarcity. These lead to health disparities and hit the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world first.

Meanwhile, President Trump is allowing business priorities to come before democracy, through his executive actions and his Cabinet picks. As Naomi Klein said in The Nation, “It’s a corporate takeover….After decades of privatizing the state in bits and pieces, they decided to just go for the government itself.”  Unless we put a cap on the capitalist greed of Trump and his administration, it’s going to lead to a genocide.  I jumped in some icy cold water to raise money to help the Franciscan Action Network do climate justice workshops with the faith community. Now we need policy action. We need to reject Rex Tillerson’s nomination as Secretary of State and reject Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Tillerson has been working for ExxonMobil since 1975 and has been CEO since 2006.  Especially now after at least four senior officials at the State Department resigned Wednesday, we cannot leave the State Department in the hands of a man who was the chief executive of the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company. Companies like Exxon are a large reason why the whole climate denial industry exists.

Land grabs that companies like Exxon have done lead to outbreaks of violence over land and inability of people to access resources they need to survive. As a result, we have climate refugees and immigrants from our neighbors in the south, middle east and Africa, people who Trump is now banning from entering the U.S. Trump calls himself a Christian, but Pope Francis calls out the hypocrisy of calling oneself a Christian while chasing away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, or someone in need of help, citing Matthew 25.  In addition to the wall President Trump wants to build between the U.S. and Mexico, he has banned immigrants coming from seven countries just because they are predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia), but has excluded countries where he has business ties (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey).  Meanwhile, these seven are not the countries that Islamic terrorists have come from since 9/11, and being Muslim is not equated with being an Islamic terrorist.

Scott Pruitt is known for previously suing the EPA which he is now being selected to lead.  He has a history of having industry lobbyists draft letters which he put onto government stationary, that pressed the federal government to back down on proposals to tighten controls over energy production, such as oil and gas wells that can release planet-warming methane. In his confirmation hearing, Pruitt refused to commit to recusing himself from any existing open cases he brought against the EPA as Oklahoma Attorney General. This raises additional ethics concerns.

Let’s work together and stand with our brothers and sisters across the world, starting by rejecting Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA.

You can contact your Congress member by using the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. John Elwood from Climate Caretakers (who also did the Polar Bear Plunge!) has started a Facebook group called “Call Congress Today” where we can keep each other updated on the most pertinent calls to make about climate change and other important issues.

In solidarity,

Kelly Moltzen, MPH, RD
Program Manager, Bronx Health REACH
Board Member, Franciscan Action Network

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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