Today marks the arrival in Stockholm of a person who personifies American leadership and great science: Dr. Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy. We at the U.S. Embassy are thrilled that Dr. Chu has come to Sweden for Nobel week. Dr. Chu is a former Nobel Laureate, sharing the prize for physics in 1997. He has run a national laboratory, is the holder of ten patents, and has published nearly 250 scientific papers — a background that spans invention, scientific collaboration, and real results on turning new ideas into action.
In announcing Dr. Chu’s selection as U.S. Secretary of Energy in 2009, President Obama said, “The future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy. Steven has blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies.”
While I am not a scientist, I am passionate about the environment and where our world is going. I feel most at home in the calm and stillness of nature. There’s a place in Virginia where my family has gone for years, in the Blue Ridge mountains, for hiking and hunting, where the changing of the leaves marks the passage of time — and where every once in a while if one is very lucky one can see a black bear or wild bobcat. When my family first moved to Washington DC in the 1970′s, the Potomac River used to freeze practically every year. Now it rarely freezes at all. I want my daughter and all of our children and grandchildren to live in a safe, prosperous and healthy world. And I am very happy that the person in the United States leading our pursuit of alternative and renewable energy brings a genuine and accomplished scientific background to this challenge we all share.
I’ve been in Sweden as Ambassador for 19 days now. One thing I hear from practically everyone is how important it is that we strive to find new solutions to energy challenges and global climate change. It’s widely recognized that this is a challenge that does not recognize borders and national boundaries. To make sure that we get the resources and technology to the countries that really need it, without losses through bureaucracy and corruption, the United States at this moment is collaborating with other nations, including Sweden, to put the essential mechanisms and governance in place to actually implement the important international agreements already made in Copenhagen and Cancun.
Here at the U.S. Embassy, we are working hard every day through the Swedish American Green Alliance (SAGA) to do things that make a difference — sharing technology, ideas and approaches and facilitating dynamic partnerships between Americans and Swedes. And we want to welcome you to take part — please visit the SAGA website to see the best of what is happening on sustainability – in Sweden, in the United States, and more and more in partnership between our countries. If you see something already happening in which you would like to be a partner, or have your own story to share so those who many want to partner with, or learn from, you can see it: send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Change starts with an idea, which by working together we can make reality. But it means you need to share that project you are working on, or that “light bulb” idea in your head with the SAGA network so that we can all work together to tactically implement it. We are all in this together.