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President Obama makes conservation issues a theme of inaugural address

January 20th, 2009

Just a few minutes ago, President Obama delivered his inaugural address. Including a profound call to action to build and rebuild our nation, the new president mentioned the urgency and importance of conservation issues to the new administration and to America’s future, issues such as generating renewable power and threats to our planet’s health.

The new president said [emphases added]:

“….[F]or everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do….”

Sandwiched between national security messages, the president spoke eloquently about the challenges of climate change, and America’s role to counteract them:

“….We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you….”

In words directed to the world’s poor, President Obama spoke about America’s new role under his presidency:

“….[W]e pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it….”

His address concluded with words intended to inspire and gird Americans for action:

“In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

To those of us who work for environmental conservation, to protect the clean air, water and land from which our prosperity arises, those who help us through your volunteerism, support and involvement, and those of you who serve our state and our nation as elected officials: we’ve got work to do.