By Dylan Deprey
Kate Strassman was never really into politics.
She was a middle school teacher, and an environmental advocate.
Leading up to one of the largest presidential elections in United States’ history, Strassman took it upon herself to research issues including climate change.
As Trump’s inauguration day nears, Strassman sings protest songs, wields a protest sign and passes around clipboards petitioning to save the environment.
“It is just time to take action, we can’t sit at home and just let things happen anymore,” Strassman as she stood in a blistery Wisconsin snow.
Advocates from around the country urged their senators to vote against Trump’s “climate denying” cabinet during the Day of Denial on Monday, Jan. 9.
Neither the dropping temperatures nor sudden snowfall flurries could stop the Water Protectors of Milwaukee and 350 Milwaukee from protesting outside the Federal Building in Downtown Milwaukee.
“It is time we take a look at what’s happening, the nominees we are opposing here are very close to the fossil fuel industry,” said Linda Frank, a protestor at the event.
Trump stated earlier in December that he wanted to assemble a brain trust of billionaires with little-to-no connection to the government entities.
Environmental groups across the country felt that if appointed, Trump’s cabinet would threaten to reverse climate treaties, roll back EPA protections, and promote dirty fuels at the expense of a clean energy future.
The four cabinet nominees include: Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State; Scott Pruitt, Enivronmental Protection Agency (EPA); Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy; and Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior.
“Trump’s cabinet picks are like having a stalk of foxes guarding the hen house, but Trump’s foxes are on steroids,” said Bob Peterson, former MPS teacher.
Tillerson was a former Exxon Mobil CEO. He has acknowledged CO2 and its warming effects on the atmosphere, but is also under investigation for deliberately misleading Americans about climate change.
Pruitt, former Oklahoma governor, was selected to head the EPA, but has been actively involved with multiple lawsuits attacking the EPA.
Perry, former Texas governor, campaigned to dismantle the Energy Department, and has claimed climate change as a “phony mess.”
Zinke, has publicly stated that he did not support climate change science, and also supported coal mining on public lands.
“When Dick Cheney was vice president, he said that if there was a 1 percent chance Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction we should go to war. Now, we have 97 percent of climatologists saying that humans are the factor in climate change,” said Dennis Merrit, Citizen’s Climate Lobby.
Members of both organizations met with Sen. Ron Johnson’s staff aide to discuss the and the presidential cabinet nominee’s stance on climate change and fossil fuels, and delivered a letter to Johnson to take into his votes throughout the week.
“We’re all for energy, we’re in favor of jobs, but we are not in favor of old technology that are devastating to our world,” Frank said.