Obama on the Record: Earth Day

It is true that the United States has been slow to participate in this kind of a process. But those days are now over. We are ready to engage – and we are asking other nations to join us in tackling this challenge together, including those nations that have not been quick to act.

All of the steps we have taken in just these first three months represent perhaps more progress than we have achieved in three decades. We are beginning the difficult work of reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We are beginning to break the bonds of fossil fuels. We are beginning to create a new, clean energy economy – and the millions of jobs that will flow from it.

Yes, there are those who still cling to the notion that we ought to continue on the current course. That government has neither the responsibility nor the reason to address our dependence on energy sources that undermine our security, threaten our economy, and endanger our planet.

But there is also a far more dangerous idea – the idea that there is little or nothing we can do. That our politics are broken, our people unwilling to make hard choices.

Implicit in this argument is that somehow we have lost something important. That perhaps as a result of the very prosperity we have built over the course of generations, we have given up that fighting American spirit, that sense of optimism, that willingness to tackle tough challenges – and the determination to see those challenges to their end.

I reject this argument. I reject it because of what you are doing right here at Trinity. I reject it because of what I have seen across this country, in the eyes of the people I’ve met, in the stories I’ve heard, in the factories I’ve visited, in the places where I’ve seen the future being pieced together – test by test, trial by trial.

Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be bumps along the road. There will be costs for our nation – and for each of us as individuals. There is no perfect answer to our energy needs – and all of us will have to use energy more wisely. But I know that we are ready and able to meet these challenges. All of us are the beneficiaries of a daring and innovative past. I am confident that we can be – that we will be – the benefactors of a brighter future.

That can be our legacy. A legacy of vehicles powered by clean renewable energy traveling past newly opened factories; of burgeoning industries employing millions of Americans in the work of protecting our planet; of an economy exporting the energy of the future – instead of importing the energy of the past; of a nation once again leading the world to meet the challenges of our time.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

(Source: White House)

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