Climate Action

President Obama’s Act of Green: Standing Up for the Everglades

Billions of people around the world took part in Earth Day 2015, the 45th anniversary of the movement. They attended events to fight climate change, they planted trees, they cleaned up parks and streams; each act of green helps make Earth Day the most celebrated civic observance in the world. President Obama recognized the historic occasion by visiting the Florida Everglades to discuss the impacts of climate change on one of America’s most iconic landscapes. The Everglades, like our National Park System as a whole, not only provide great recreational opportunities, they also provide billions of dollars of economic activity for their communities and priceless ecosystem services. The Everglades are especially vital for Floridians, acting as a source of drinking water for more than one third of the state’s population. Unfortunately, climate change poses a very real threat to the Everglades and to the other national parks around the country. Climate change threatens America’s iconic landmarks and the communities they call home. It threatens our economy and our way of life. By traveling to the Everglades on Earth Day, President Obama again announced his intentions to take on climate change in a way that will protect the parks we love, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make our communities more resilient. He also made it very clear that we must continue to involve climate change in our discussions, an act recently barred in the very state that houses the vulnerable Everglades. Coinciding with his declarations on climate change, President Obama also announced a Presidential Proclamation recognizing the economic benefits of national parks, a new agenda to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure, and new conservation and climate resilience efforts. Efforts like these are part of the solution, but not all of it. We must continue to find ways to make our communities more sustainable, we must call on our civic leaders to make our cities 100% renewable, and we must take it upon ourselves to make every day, Earth Day. David Thomsen, Fellow