Forty years ago, Earth Day began in the United States as a “teach-in” – a day to educate people about the environmental challenges facing our planet. Today, we know more than ever about the challenges of preserving our environment – from clean water to climate change – and Earth Day has evolved into a call for sustainable solutions and local action all over the world.

The Obama administration has taken concrete steps toward achieving these goals. Under the President’s leadership, the United States has reengaged in international climate negotiations and we are more aggressively working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. And at the State Department, we are elevating environmental issues in our diplomatic relationships and forging new partnerships to better engage on those global challenges.

Last year, the State Department challenged our more than 60,000 employees worldwide to lessen the environmental footprint of our diplomatic work, and this year we are launching the Greening Embassy Forum to share what we’ve learned.

Today, environmental awareness and activism are on the rise across the world – proof that Earth Day’s teachings have begun to change all of us, and change the environment we share. We have come a long way these last 40 years, but we have so much more to do. And we need your help to do it.

So Happy Earth Day. Let’s make our country and our world as green as possible in the years ahead.