President Obama made two significant speeches, both at the UN, this week: One on the reduction of national and global emissions and climate change, and another outlining the need for nations to realize the interconnectedness of major issues (climate change, the economic recession and peace). In both, it was so refreshing to listen to an elected official official and actually believe in the subject(s) of which he was speaking.
Obama's promise to stay on course with climate change reduction targets for 2020 and 2050 is an immense statement of America's mindset and, greater, an obligation to the global community. Click here to listen to Obama's speech and commentary on the address.
The enormous size of the U.S., both its geography and population, makes it difficult for individuals to align on actions to reduce their carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. Obama did acknowledge that the U.S. would continue to invest in cleaner energy technologies, even during this trying economic time. The government can impose all the sanctions, plans and taxes nationally, but it comes down to low income Americans as well as those who don't have access to information and, conversely, those who choose to continue to ignore the reality of our actions on the environment to change their habits.
Although "change" seems to be catchphrase of this administration, it needs to happen. But, change is only as powerful as the people who choose to act and share a willingness to make life better for current and future generations. Otherwise, it remains just an empty, gimmicky political tactic.
Click here to read the transcript from Obama's address to the UN today.