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December 7th, 2009
11:49 AM ET

Climate challenge demands political leadership

Nasheed: U.S. President John F. Kennedy chose to go to the moon. Our generation must choose to remain on planet Earth.

Nasheed: U.S. President John F. Kennedy chose to go to the moon. Our generation must choose to remain on planet Earth.

Mohamed Nasheed
President of the Republic of Maldives
Special to CNN

In September 1962, at a rally at Rice University in Houston, Texas, President John F. Kennedy told the American people: "We choose to go to the moon."

The speech set out Kennedy's historic vision for American involvement in space. At the time, the United States did not possess the knowledge, had not acquired the expertise or fully budgeted the money to make the pledge a reality. Yet Kennedy's bold announcement inspired a generation of Americans to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Seven years later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their famous first step onto the lunar surface.

As world leaders prepare to leave for the Copenhagen climate change talks, to tackle the great challenge of this decade, we need a global vision equal to Kennedy's. Sadly, this political leadership is presently lacking.

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Filed under: Environmental issues
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    What was subject only to environmentalists and scientists now is everyone's business. United States, China, Brazil and India have announced targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. For two weeks, the world world will look at Copenhague. I hope the leaders can find the best solution.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm |