President Obama spent part of Earth Day yesterday in the River of Grass.
Speaking at an Earth Day event in Florida’s scenic Everglades National Park Wednesday, President Obama sought to imbue his environmental message with urgency.
“We do not have time to deny the effects of climate change,” Obama said. “Nowhere is it going to have a bigger impact than here in South Florida.”
“Here in the Everglades you can see the effect of a changing planet,” Obama continued. “This harms freshwater wildlife. The salt water flows in aquifers that flows into the drinking water of 7 million South Floridians.”
“If we don’t act, there may not be an Everglades as we know it,” he added.
The location of Obama’s speech was both symbolic and politically charged, with the low-lying Florida peninsula especially vulnerable to sea level rise. It’s also home to several prominent Republican politicians, like Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush, who have all cast doubt on climate change.
The White House made sure that “climate change” got mentioned.
“If it’s not true, we look forward to them contributing to the discussion about one of the most important issues that we face,” Schultz responded to reporters, according to the White House pool report. “If the Scott administration is now joining the rest of us in confirming the impacts of climate change on both the environment and the energy sectors, we welcome that change in position on the governor’s part.”