President Obama celebrated Earth Day by visiting the Florida Everglades to give a speech dedicating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas house in Miami and to taunt Republicans on their ludicrous position on climate change. He began his speech by acknowledging the threat that global warming poses to the planet, despite the frigid winter that much of the East Coast experienced. The president even poked fun at Senator Inhofe for trying to disprove climate change by throwing a snow ball in the senate earlier this year. Without addressing climate change, Obama said, “there may not be an Everglades as we know it” in the future. “Action can no longer be delayed,” he continued, committing to work to push the US to lead the world in making a change.
In his speech, Obama focused on the importance of our National Parks, saying that preserving our National Parks is not only good for the planet, it is good business. According to a report announced in today’s speech, every dollar spent in the parks makes 10 dollars for the economy. In 2014 alone, 300 million visitors spent 16 billon dollars, generating some serious money for the economy and generating 277,000 jobs. In the past, the President has invested 2.2 billion dollars into restoring the Everglades and he proposed to invest 240 million more in restoring the water flow of the Everglades to help fight climate change and rising sea levels – calling on Congress to make it happen by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He also pledged 25 million to the National Parks for restoration and to the “Find Your Park” campaign.
Obama also announced that every fourth-grader will get a free pass for them and their families to visit and learn about our National Parks this year. He also announced that he was designating the newest national historic landmark at the Margery Stonem Douglas house in Miami. Going forward, Obama also said that he would focus on working with farmers to reduce greenhouse emissions – a major cause of carbon emissions in the US. “We don’t have time to deny the effects of climate change,” he said, and added that the Everglades stand to suffer more than many areas of the US. Obama urged Americans to take action by talking to their representatives, saying that if we take action now, we can solve the problem. According to Obama, if we have political will, we can save the environment while creating jobs and enhancing the economy. Refusing to say the words “climate change” isn’t going to make it go away, the President said.