Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Earth Day 2000
April 22, 2000
KC, thank you!
Denis Hayes, thank you for the amazing energy you've put into this event.
Welcome to all of you. I'm proud to be here. Today is a great, great day.
I look out at this crowd, I see hundreds of people who are dedicated to protecting our earth, and not just in theory but in action. I see people who see global warming for what it is - a global warning. But one heck of an opportunity for our state.
The old thinking? If it's environmentally smart, it's economically diseased. Our new thinking? If it's environmentally smart, it's economic good sense.
About 90% of the electricity we consume comes from fossil and nuclear fuel - "dirty energy." Scientists predict that in just 50 years, clean sources will supply half of the world's energy. We're looking at a potential market of trillions of dollars. And here in Washington we've got a seedbed of Clean Energy Industries.
Siemens Solar in Vancouver provides 20% of the world's solar cells. Trace Engineering in Arlington makes solar power systems. They've grown from a handful to 600 employees in just a few years. Applied Power in Lacey is the world's second largest solar integrator. Avista in Spokane will be one of the world's first companies to ship fuel cells for home use. And they just got a patent for fuel cell technology!
So we are going to nurture that industry - our clean energy industry - to let it blossom, let it grow. I'm setting clean energy priority policies. Utilities must now tell consumers what kind of power they're using, kind of like the ingredient list on a box of cereal, because I'll bet once people know what they're consuming, their "energy tastes" will change to the healthy alternative - to "Clean Energy Now".
But none of this is really about a dollar amount. It's about creating a sustainable environment and a sustainable economy. This is really about the survival of our planet. Each of us, businesses and individuals, must change our habits, and put the earth first. State government should set an example, and we are.
Here are the facts. With the way we live now, neither our environment nor our economy is sustainable. We're on a downward slope. Where it ends, we don't want to go. What we're talking about is a major shift in how we live. So our children's children have a place to live.
We're in a race between two things. On the one hand, our ever-escalating ability to harm our earth. On the other, our growing awareness of ways to live here without destroying our earth. Which will happen first? Will we spiral down or will we create a sustainable environment?
Let's win this race. Let's put Earth first. Let's not wait until it's too late. Let's do it now. Clean Energy Now.
Thank you very much.