Yesterday, President Obama headed west to speak at the 20th anniversary of the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit and the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders in his home state of Hawaii. In both remarks, he shared his personal views on why combating climate change and protecting our nation's lands and waters is more important than ever.
Here are a few key quotes to take away from his remarks:
"The challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected."
“Conservation is critical not just for one particular spot, one particular park, one particular lake. It’s critical for our entire ecosystem. And conservation is more than just putting up a plaque and calling something a park. We embrace conservation because healthy and diverse lands and waters help us build resilience to climate change. We do it to free more of our communities and plants and animals and species from wildfires, and droughts, and displacement. We do it because when most of the 4.5 million people who come to Lake Tahoe every year are tourists, economies like this one live or die by the health of our natural resources. We do it because places like this nurture and restore the soul. And we want to make sure that’s there for our kids, too”
"No conflict between a healthy economy and a healthy planet."
“We’ve proven that the choice between our environment, our economy, and our health is a false one. We‘ve got to strengthen all of them together."
Watch the President's speech at Lake Tahoe:
"A changing climate threatens even the best conservation efforts."
“A changing climate threatens even the best conservation efforts. Keep in mind, 2014 was the warmest year on record until, you guessed it, 2015. And now 2016 is on pace to be even hotter. For 14 months in a row now, the Earth has broken global temperature records. And because climate and conservation are challenges that go hand in hand, our conservation mission is more urgent than ever.”
"Over the past seven and a half years, America has worked to generate more clean energy."
“Over the past seven and a half years, America has worked to generate more clean energy, use less dirty energy, and waste less energy overall. And it’s made a difference. Our investments have tripled wind power, multiplied solar power thirtyfold, and, in many places, helped clean energy become cheaper than dirty energy. And we did all of this while fueling the longest uninterrupted streak of job growth on record.”
Watch the President's speech in Hawaii:
"We have to row as one. If we do, we might just save the one planet that we’ve got."
“When it comes to climate change, there is a dire possibility of us getting off course, and we can’t allow that to happen. That’s why our united efforts are so important. Government has a role to play, but so do scientists and inventors and investors, all working to revolutionize clean energy production. Entrepreneurs and academics and leaders in this room are collaborating across continents. And everyday citizens of the world are going to have to push their own communities to adopt smarter practices, and to push those of us in positions of power to be less concerned with special interests and more concerned about the judgment of future generations.
And that’s why we’re all here. That’s what this is all about. And for me, this is especially meaningful. I was telling my staff, a lot of my life started about a mile radius around here. My mother and father met probably a couple hundred yards from here. It’s true. I went to school about a mile from here. I was actually born about a mile from here. My grandmother and my grandparents lived most of their lives a short way away from here.
And so since Malia was born, since my oldest child was born, I’ve brought them her every Christmas for the last 18 years now. And I want to make sure that when they’re bringing their children here, or their grandchildren here, that they are able to appreciate the wonders and the beauty of this island and of the Pacific, and every island.
So I know you have the same feeling, and that’s why we’ve got to ‘unite to move forward.’ We have to row as one. If we do, we might just save the one planet that we’ve got.”
Jazmin Kay is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy.