My Earth Day at the White House: Obama Calls for Climate Action

I celebrated Earth Day in a garden this year, the Rose Garden. I was honored to attend a White House reception marking Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, and under beautiful spring skies, we cheered President Obama as he recalled the great strides America has made in protecting our environment over the past four decades.

But the event wasn’t just about the past. It was most definitely about the future too.

President Obama affirmed his support for passing clean energy and climate legislation, which he said, “will safeguard our planet and spur innovation and help us to compete in the 21st century.” 

The president’s call to action drew rousing applause from the business owners, members of Congress, and environmental leaders gathered together in the garden.

Everyone in the audience is looking ahead to Monday’s release of a clean energy and climate bill drafted by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman. President Obama’s comments will add to the growing momentum behind real climate action.

After the speech, I had a chance to talk briefly with the president. Sigourney Weaver and I handed him a copy of the Acid Test, NRDC’s film about how soaring levels of carbon dioxide are dangerously altering the chemistry of the world’s oceans.

I was thrilled with President Obama said he would screen Acid Test for his wife and daughters.

It was a gratifying end to a day in which I had accompanied Sigourney to the Senate Hearing on the Environment and Economic Impacts of Ocean Acidification, where she testified along with diving industry representatives, scientists, and a passionate fisherman from the Gulf of Mexico. Each one of them said we must act now to protect our oceans from further devastation. (You can hear Sigourney talk on CNN about the issue here.)

It was great to spend this Earth Day in Washington among so many leaders who understand the urgent need to pass clean energy and climate legislation.

Passing a law that will slash dangerous pollution, create green jobs, and put America on a path to clean energy would be a fitting tribute to the millions of Americans who have kept the spirit of Earth Day alive for the past 40 years. A safer, more sustainable future is surely a cause for celebration.

I explain more about what Earth Day means to me and where I think the country can go in this clip taken just before I went to the White House today.