On Earth Day, as every day, we must ensure that our nation leads the way to protect this precious planet. This is a fundamental responsibility, as people of every faith share a common interest in making sure our air is clean, our water drinkable, and our environment is more sustainable for our children.
But to ensure that legacy, we must correct the path we tread today. A millennium and a half ago, the earliest religious scholars wrote, “When God created the first man, he took him around to all the trees in the Garden of Eden and said to him: ‘See my handiwork, how beautiful and choice…Be careful not to ruin and destroy my world, for if you do…there is no one to repair it after you.”
In these past 1,500 years, our Creator must truly be troubled at the manmade damage to his handiwork – especially in the last oil-driven century. The effects of human activity on earth are easy to see. Pollution that has spoiled our water, our air and our soil. Wildfires, dangerous weather patterns, and drought that threaten our safety and our health.
Each day that we do not act, we threaten our very existence. So beginning today, we must become better stewards of the earth. We can start with a clean energy revolution that protects the planet, grows the economy and makes this country safer.
Its benefits extend beyond just our environment – it will improve this weakening economy, one that sees new oil and gas price records shattered every day, including yesterday and today. Investing in a better environment means investing in jobs in places like my home state of Nevada – the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.
And that is why, between the last Earth Day and today, this Democratic Congress has taken decisive action. We made the U.S. more energy efficient and independent, raised fuel-efficiency standards, and set ambitious standards for renewable fuels grown in America. And we improved our nation’s water infrastructure and provided Western wildfire relief.
But we have much more work to do to reduce carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy and lessen our dependence on oil. This is only the beginning.
We will all ultimately leave this planet to our children. But before we pass it on, we owe it to them to repair what we have ruined.
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