Earth Day: Celebrating Successes, Acknowledging Challenges

Statement by Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council
“Today, on the 38th Earth Day, we are looking at a new set of environmental challenges. Fortunately, we are faced with a new set of chances as well. We have had many successes since the first Earth Day in 1970. Our air and our water are cleaner; we produce more energy from clean renewable sources; and the bald eagle is no longer an endangered species. But there is much left to do. Some of the problems we face are harder to see than in the past but they are just as important.
“Global warming is the greatest challenge we face today. But the challenge is far from the whole story. We should look at it as an opportunity to strengthen our economy by redirecting our manufacturing base towards clean energy. Doing so will produce jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. Developing the clean energy sources we need will provide jobs for carpenters, computer technicians, drywalling and lighting contractors, electricians, and many more.
“Momentum is on our side to reduce global warming pollution. We have the resources, the ingenuity, and the recognition from companies, citizens, and all three presidential candidates that something must be done soon. There is growing public and political support for measures that will reduce global warming pollution while rewarding innovation and strengthening our economy.
“Today, we celebrate our past victories in our state capitals, Washington, and most importantly in our communities. But we also acknowledge the many tasks before us. We continue the fight to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, to keep our communities safe from pollution, and protect our treasured public lands.”