The Morning After

It’s been an intense 24 hours. My version of election day 2016 began with waking up at 4:45 am in order to dress, make coffee, walk the dogs, and get out the door in time to arrive at the polls by 6:00 am.  I wasn’t there to vote, having done so the previous Friday. I was there to work.

Having finally kept a long-standing promise to myself to support the scaffolding of our democracy while also witnessing the internal workings of the voting process, I volunteered for the Milwaukee Election Commission. Let’s just say that when I walked out of there at 10:30 pm, having spent most of the day on my feet triaging the flow as the official “greeter”, I was whooped. Next time I’ll wear sneakers and pack more food!

Though my work at the polls was absolutely non-partisan, I haven’t made it a secret that I supported the Clinton-Kaine campaign in the election, in no small part because the candidates had a proven track record on environmental policy that mirrors my own. The stunning loss, coupled with adrenaline from a long, highly focused day, and a growling stomach was enough to wake me up after three short hours of sleep. My brain just couldn’t quiet my concerns about what the newly anointed administration will mean for climate change and the panoply of water issues that are my life’s work.

After realizing that a cup of herbal tea, a hearty slice of my neighbor’s apple cake, and a chapter of my book weren’t enough to get me back to sleep, I turned to one of my favorite wastes of time and found that my concerns and questions were not unique.

Like me, @ILEnviroLawBlog immediately pondered what this might mean for environmental and public health safeguards that Americans count on to protect their air and water.


But the main focus, and even sheer terror, in the wee hours this morning was what this means for our extremely time-sensitive efforts to turn the tide on climate change.  Here’s a smattering of what I saw, with surely deeper and more thoughtful reflections to come.


Of course, I wasn’t the only one coming unglued at the news. As I predicted long ago (my sons can attest), the upset sent the markets tumbling. Did I really need another thing to worry about?


I’m normally someone who immediately starts laying out a game plan and gets to work in the face of disappointment or chaos, but this  morning I was glad to find a few outstretched hands urging me to step onto the suspension bridge and get going with the next leg of this journey.



In addition to Twitter, I also stumbled on Raj Shukla‘s comforting words from the River Alliance of Wisconsin, written about a month before the election, reminding me that the issues are still in front of us, and citizens will continue to engage:

Through August of this year, we’ve witnessed 16 consecutive months of record high global temperatures. The fall has seen major floods throughout Wisconsin … In the meantime, summer algae blooms dominated lakes and rivers, E. Coli continues to threaten drinking water in northeast, industry continues to strain local aquifers in the Central Sands, and families are at risk across the state because of lead pipes that carry drinking water… In the months and years ahead …(w)e’ll demand more from those entrusted with managing our fresh water resources. We will make new allies and build new partnerships that expand our reach and influence. And we will do all of it with a clear-eyed understanding that this moment requires an urgency unlike any other before.

And journey I will, but in the meantime a little humor helps.  I stumbled on this last night as we were closing down the Wisconsin polls. Thank you @susanorlean for bringing a little dark humor into my night.


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