I know the difference a generation of young Americans in motion can make.
I was in college at a time of great political ferment and fundamental changes to our social fabric: the Civil Rights Act, the beginning of the counterculture and the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that set us on a disastrous path of deepening involvement in Vietnam.
When I came home from war disillusioned, I joined with millions of young people who marched against Richard Nixon's Vietnam policy, against racial bigotry, against gender bias, and we changed our country for the better. We read Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and our generation formed the bedrock of the activism that gave America its first Earth Day and the modern environmental movement.
Now, it's time for a new generation of Americans to get in motion -- because the very survival of our planet depends on them.
Now is the time for young people who learned to flex their political muscle last November to shift into high-gear and get Washington to take on our historic legislation to combat global climate change.
Starting today I am challenging young Americans throughout the country to make their voices heard on this urgent matter. I am doing this through the Organize to be Heard Challenge.
Please visit http://consequence09.org/challenge for more information on the campaign.
I need you to help America seize control of our energy, economic and security future, and the future of generations to come.
Don't think you can't make a difference? You already have. In the last election, more than 24 million 18-to-29 year-olds went to the polls because it was time for a change. This critical mass of young people -- the Millennial generation -- changed the direction of our country in a profound way on education, the economy, foreign policy and, of course, global warming.
But you can't stop now. We face a threat to the very existence of our planet. Rising sea levels, drought and famine will not stop without action -- action now.
We can put America back in charge of its energy future. We can invest in our economy and create clean energy jobs. We can strengthen our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. And we can secure our future by eliminating harmful pollution that threatens us all.
We can do all of this. We can do it together. And that, I can assure you, is what we've always done in America and what we can do again.