President Obama shines spotlight on parks for Earth Day week

 

 

President Obama and the White House are calling attention this week to the impact climate change will have on parks and other special landscapes.

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The White House is planning events all this week, with a focus on Obama’s Earth Day trip Wednesday to the Everglades National Park in Florida.

“This Earth Day, we’re far beyond a debate about climate change’s existence,” top Obama adviser Brian Deese wrote Monday in a public email. “We’re focused on mitigating its very real effects here at home, preparing our communities where its impacts are already being felt, and leading an international effort for action.”

Deese said parks like the Everglades receive Obama’s attention when it comes to fighting climate change.

Florida and the Everglades are at a unique risk from climate change, he said.

“As the sea levels rise, the shorelines erode, and that salty water travels inland, threatening the aquifers supplying fresh drinking water to Floridians,” he wrote.

“That doesn't just destroy a beautiful and unique national landscape. It threatens an $82 billion state tourism economy, and drinking water for more than 7 million Americans — more than a third of Florida's population.”

Obama will be in the home state of presidential candidate Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean MORE (R-Fla.) and potential GOP candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, two Republicans who doubt the scientific consensus that human activity significantly contributes to a warming climate.

Under Florida’s current governor, Rick Scott (R), the state's Department of Environmental Protection reportedly banned its employees from referring to climate change in official communications, an allegation Scott denied.  

On Monday, the president will issue a proclamation on the impact of national parks on local communities.

Throughout the rest of the week, the White House will announce four natural landscapes where it will focus conservation efforts and new funding to protect parks and help farmers and ranchers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Deese said.

The White House is also asking its social media followers to submit their favorite natural areas that are at risk from climate change.