An Environmental Crime In Its Own Right

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With Trump, Pruitt et al poised to slash federal regulations aimed at curbing climate change and thus ensuring the survival of the only planet we've got, a self-described "anonymous environmental activist collective" snuck into the uber-pricey Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California to carve out six-foot-high letters spelling “NO MORE TIGERS, NO MORE WOODS” at hole No. 5, which they deemed "the most picturesque" spot on the course. The action was the latest in a flood of challenges to proposed, devastating loosening of climate-change provisions and other deadly changes, including a letter from 30 prominent climate scientists blasting Pruitt's denial that human beings are changing the Earth's climate as akin to "escaping gravity when one steps off a cliff."

The action targeting the "King Puppet's" California course - former farmland turned into an 18-hole "ultimate luxury public golf experience" and the most expensive golf course ever built, with a $695 annual membership fee and additional $160 fee for each game played despite some hilariously bad reviews - was "a protest piece against Trump’s administration’s handling of our environmental policies,” said the activists, who also filmed it. "We felt it necessary to stand up and go take action against him.” “Tearing up the golf course felt justified in many ways,” one told the Washington Post. “Repurposing what was once a beautiful stretch of land into a playground for the privileged is an environmental crime in its own right.”

The charge is borne out by the land-and-water-guzzling realities of Trump's other courses. New Jersey's Bedminster Club uses 312,000 gallons a day, paying a discounted rate, versus an average family of four's usage of 400 gallons, and his much-opposed Aberdeenshire Scotland course built on 4,000-year-old sand dunes, despite protestations it would be "environmentally perfect," has been a disaster. Though it just dissolved its environmental oversight group, a report found serious damage to dunes and wildlife, fewer than 200 of a promised 6,000 jobs have materialized, and the course's neighbors, many of whom fought bitterly against it and lost water for years thanks to its construction, hate Trump with a passion.

In British filmmaker Anthony Baxter's 2011 documentary "You've Been Trumped," he explores the powerlessness faced by communities when big money like Trump's "comes in promising the world and delivers very little.” In the film, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says, "Whenever you see environmental injury and destruction, you see the subversion of democracy." In that light, the coverage of the TIGERS/WOODS action is telling. The Washington Post's initial story said the activists "pulled off a daring act of defiance." That prompted outrage from Eric Trump and other defenders of the inalienable right to private property - the Post "should be ashamed of themselves" - after which the wording was changed to “pulled off an elaborate act of vandalism.” The change was made, said an editor’s note, "to more accurately reflect the nature of the actions" - like much else in life, depending on your perspective.

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An earlier protest at the Scotland course featuring swastika-themed balls. Photo by Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images

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The Scottish people have not been shy about expressing their opinions.

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