The United States joins countries around the world today in commemorating Earth Day. Ever since I was involved in the first Earth Day in Massachusetts, way back in 1970, this has always been a day to reflect on our environmental challenges and our responsibility to safeguard our God-given natural resources on a fragile planet we share with the rest of humanity and which we must protect for future generations.
This year’s Earth Day theme, the Faces of Climate Change, puts a special focus on the very real impact climate change has on people everywhere, and demonstrates just how clearly connected we all are. What one country does impacts the livelihoods of people elsewhere – and what we all do to address climate change now will largely determine the kind of planet we leave for our children and generations to come. As was clear in President Obama’s second inaugural address and in his State of the Union message, the United States is committed to meeting this challenge head on, working in cooperation with our partners around the world through ambitious actions to reduce emissions, transform our energy economy, and help the most vulnerable cope with the effects of climate change. Dealing responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change was a focus of my recent trip to China, and it is a challenge I will be engaging to meet everywhere I travel as Secretary of State. If ever there was an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.
The science is screaming at all of us and demands action. From the far reaches of Antarctica’s Ross Sea to tropical wetlands in Southeast Asia, we have a responsibility to safeguard and sustainably manage our planet’s natural resources, and the United States remains firm in its commitment to addressing global environmental challenges.