David beat me to a post on Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Wesleyan on Sunday. The part about climate change and clean energy was good, but what I found most encouraging was at the beginning, when climate change was cited, along with hunger, war, and economic strife, as an area where our personal lives and the life of the nation should be aligned:
[Y]ou are about to enter a world that makes it easy to get caught up in the notion that there are actually two different stories at work in our lives. The first is the story of our everyday cares and concerns — the responsibilities we have to our jobs and our families — the bustle and busyness of what happens in our own life. And the second is the story of what happens in the life of our country — of what happens in the wider world. It’s the story you see when you catch a glimpse of the day’s headlines or turn on the news at night — a story of big challenges like war and recession; hunger and climate change; injustice and inequality. It’s a story that can sometimes seem distant and separate from our own — a destiny to be shaped by forces beyond our control.
And yet, the history of this nation tells us this isn’t so. It tells us that we are a people whose destiny has never been written for us, but by us — by generations of men and women, young and old, who have always believed that their story and the American story are not separate, but shared.