A Funny, Humanizing Global Warming Quote from Barack Obama

  • Published on November 6th, 2008

Newsweek has released a new, intriguing article in their “Secrets of the 2008 Campaign” series.

Barack Obama Might Be Our Next Great Environmental President

Among the juicy tidbits is a pre-debate quote from Barack Obama about the challenge of solving environmental problems.

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The package of secret tales includes stories about how both campaigns had their computer systems hacked, how Sarah Palin walked into a briefing in only a towel, and also has some worrisome anecdotes about increased threats of violence against the Obama family.

It would be folly to try to explain the context of the quote about going green from Obama myself, so here is the Newsweek segment verbatim:

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

To read Newsweek’s article that is full of great conversation fodder, click here.

Photo Credit: Obama Biden Campaign Website

About the Author

Levi Novey is a conservation professional who has received a bachelor's degree in History from Tufts University and a master's degree in Conservation Social Sciences from the University of Idaho. He worked for the U.S. National Park Service for 10 years, as a park ranger in 6 national parks, as a social science researcher in 5 parks, and as the science communicator for a Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Network that serves 9 parks. He has authored several scholarly papers as well as several guidebooks to U.S. national parks. Levi also has taught an undergraduate Environmental Communication Skills course at the University of Idaho, won several photography contests, and regularly enjoys visits to parks, protected areas, historical sites, museums-- and just about anywhere where he can learn something new about the world. He currently lives in Peru, with his wife Alicia, and their daughter Coral.

5 comments

  • wJust out of curiosity, where do you live? I can only assume it is nowhere in the drought-stricken Western half of the United States or the growing dustbowls of Central Africa. I doubt farmers in these areas see any winning combinations in increased temperatures and declining precipitation.

    Source: Red Green & Blue (http://s.tt/12AvK)

  • It would be folly to try to explain the context of the quote about going green from Obama myself, so here is the Newsweek segment verbatim:

    The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, I don t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, `You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it. So when Brian Williams is asking me about what s a personal thing that you ve done [that s green], and I say, you know, `Well, I planted a bunch of trees. And he says, `I m talking about personal. What I m thinking in my head is, `Well, the truth is, Brian, we can t solve global warming because I f–ing changed light bulbs in my house. It s because of something collective .

  • John-

    Just out of curiosity, where do you live? I can only assume it is nowhere in the drought-stricken Western half of the United States or the growing dustbowls of Central Africa. I doubt farmers in these areas see any winning combinations in increased temperatures and declining precipitation.

  • This election saw most Global Warming initiatives fail, for good reason. The principle reason is that most consumers, farmers, ranchers and foresters understand two things. First, global warming is good, not bad. Second, carbon in general and carbon dioxide in particular is good, not bad. Higher average temperatures together with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reduce crop failures and improve crop, grazing and forest production. Those two factors are the principal forces greening the planet and feeding all of us today. Liberal and eco-cults want to torpedo that winning combination. Why? Perhaps readers have some ideas here.

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