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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Challenges Americans to Take Action to Improve the Environment in Honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day Features New Earth Day Page to Serve as a Resource Guide

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today challenged Americans to take action in their homes, communities, schools, or businesses to improve the environment in honor of the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2010.  In conjunction with the video message of President Obama, the White House unveiled as a resource guide for all those interested in learning how they can help make a difference in their community.

The full text of the video is below:

“Forty one years ago, in the city of Cleveland, people watched in horror as the Cuyahoga River – choked with debris and covered in oil – caught on fire.

Images of the burning Cuyahoga shocked a nation, and it led one Wisconsin Senator the following year to organize the first Earth Day to call attention to the dangers of ignoring our environment.

In the four decades since, we have made remarkable progress. Today, our air and water are cleaner, pollution has been greatly reduced, and Americans everywhere are living in a healthier environment. We’ve passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and founded the Environmental Protection Agency. And in Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River is cleaner than it’s been in 100 years.

But the true story of the environmental movement is not about the laws that have been passed. It’s about the citizens who have come together time and time again to demand cleaner air, healthier drinking water and safer food – and who have demanded that their representatives in government hold polluters accountable.

That progress continues today, as individuals and entrepreneurs across the country help lay the foundation for a Clean Energy Economy – one solar panel, smart meter and energy efficient home at a time.

Since taking office, my Administration has been a partner in the fight for a healthier environment. Through the Recovery Act, we’ve invested in clean energy and clean water infrastructure across the country. We’re taking the necessary steps to keep our children safe and hold polluters accountable. And we have rejected the notion that we have to choose between creating jobs and a healthy environment – because we know that the economy of the 21st century will be built on infrastructure powered by clean energy.

But even though we’ve made significant progress, there is much more to do. And as we continue to tackle our environmental challenges, it’s clear that change won’t come from Washington alone. It will come from Americans across the country who take steps in their own homes and their own communities to make that change happen.

That’s why, as we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I want to leave you with a challenge.

I want you to take action – in your home or your community; at your school or your business – to improve our environment. It can be as simple as riding the bus or the subway to work, making your home more energy efficient, or organizing your neighbors to clean up a nearby park.

Just go to to learn how you can help. And then tell us your story about what you’re doing to make a difference.

In the end, it’s people like you – the small business owners and community leaders; the teachers and the students; the young people and the grandparents – who have made Earth Day so successful.  And it’s going to be up to you to make an even bigger difference over the next 40 years.

So let’s get to work. Together, we can continue to make progress towards a cleaner environment and a healthier planet.”