Remarks of Katherine Vargas, White House Director of Hispanic Media

Katherine Vargas
Katherine Vargas, the Director of Hispanic Media at the White House.

Hi everybody.  I’m Katherine Vargas, the Director of Hispanic Media at the White House. This Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home.  And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.

The fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for  our lives.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  Some of the world’s top scientists in the world are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe.

Climate change widens health disparities across the country, threatening low-income communities and minorities who are disproportionately suffering from chronic health conditions, such as respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular disease.

Also, new Hispanic immigrants are more vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate, as they often live in more segregated residential areas that are more isolated from mainstream institutions.

On Earth Day, the President will visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy. Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.

So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored. We’re taking steps to waste less energy, with more fuel-efficient cars that save us money at the pump, and more energy-efficient buildings that save us money on our electricity bills.

Because of these actions, our carbon pollution has fallen by 10 percent since 2007.  We’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China has committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And we’re enhancing our cooperation on air quality and climate policy with Mexico.O.

We’re fighting against climate change to protect our cities and our families from disaster and harm.  It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.  This is the only planet we’ve got.  And years from now, we should able to look our children and grandchildren and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.