Albuquerque, Apr 22, 2011 -- Forty-one years ago, a group of dedicated citizens decided to take action to make their local communities cleaner and healthier, and from this spirit, Earth Day was born. Since then countless Americans have made a positive impact on our planet, and now President Obama is calling on all of us to pitch in.
As a result, thousands of people throughout the country are volunteering in their communities today and throughout the month of April. To recognize Earth Day, I’ll be in Ruidoso, NM on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Rural Development. We’ll be touring a recently constructed $8.7 million wastewater treatment plant financed by the USDA with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Their new wastewater plant will help prevent groundwater contamination that could occur without proper sewage treatment and protect one of our most basic needs-clean drinking water.
Earth Day reminds us of the critical role we all play in protecting the Earth. Every day we face serious challenges to our nation’s natural resources: climate change, air and water pollution, loss of open space, and a lack of connection between our nation’s population and the great outdoors.
We have a strong appreciation for the environment in New Mexico. We’re surrounded by natural beauty and we understand that it’s a large part of what makes us who we are. It’s simply our natural instinct to not only protect it but make sure that we are able to enjoy it for many years to come.
This idea isn’t lost on the citizens of Ruidoso and Lincoln County. They’re working on the long term sustainability of their communities in and around the Lincoln National Forest. Not only have they completed work on a new wastewater facility but today they will be holding a Lincoln County Renewable Energy Conference. It is a great opportunity to hear from renewable energy providers and experts in the field about how we can better use renewable energy to power our homes and businesses.
Utilizing the power of resources like the sun and the wind in a place like New Mexico just makes common sense. It provides an economic benefit for those who want to save on energy costs and reduces our need to draw from finite resources.
Earth Day provides a terrific opportunity to lead by example and show our children and grandchildren things they can do every day to protect the Earth. So I urge everyone to use today to reflect on what we can do in our daily lives to support the preservation and restoration of our important natural resources.