Now, today is not just the third White House Science Fair.  It’s also the 43rd Earth Day.  So I want to give a special shout-out to all of the young people who participated, who focused their attention on how to harness cleaner forms of energy and how to create more energy efficiency.  So we’ve got young people like Caleb Meyer -- where's Caleb?  Caleb is way back there.  Stand up, Caleb, so we can see you.  (Applause.)  Caleb built a wind turbine that's small and fast enough to be installed on your roof or in your front yard.  

 

We’ve got Jon Kubricki and Bridget Zarych, who, together with their classmates, designed an inexpensive press that can recycle garbage like banana peels into briquettes as an alternative to using wood for fuel.  They're in eighth grade.  I don't know what you were doing in eighth grade.  (Laughter.)  That's what they're doing -- which could potentially help to reduce carbon emissions, save trees and deforestation, and reduce the amount of smoke inhalation that has an impact on people.

 

We've got Sara Volz, who is breeding new types of algae.  Where's Sara?  There's Sara.  (Applause.)  Sara is breeding new types of algae.  She stores this in a lab in her bedroom.  (Laughter.)  So, Sara, you have very supportive parents.  (Laughter.)  One reporter asked her, “Exactly what is growing under your bed that’s going to save the planet?”  (Laughter.)  And Sara’s answer was algae that can produce more oil for cheaper biofuels.  So, by the way, Jon Kubricki and Bridget Zarych, I didn't have them stand up.  I want to acknowledge them.  I saw them.  Maybe they're still cleaning their hands off.  (Applause.)  But there they are.  There they are. 

    

So I've got to say, young people like these, every one of them have these kinds of incredible innovations.  Some of them are already fully operational.  Some of them are getting fine-tuned.  But young people like these have to make you hopeful about the future of our country.  And it's also a reminder for us -- the adults -- we've got to do our part.  We've got to do everything we can to make sure that we are giving these young people opportunity to pursue their studies and discover new ways of doing things.  And we've got to make sure that we're also leaving behind a world that is safer and cleaner and healthier than the one we found.  That’s our obligation.   

 

And that’s why, over the last four years, we’ve made historic investments in the clean energy future that we need.  And today we import less oil than we have in 20 years.  Thanks to new fuel economy standards, by the middle of the next decade, cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we're generating from sources like wind and solar -- and, by the way, creating tens of thousands of good, American jobs in the process.  We're emitting less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

 

But we understand this is not enough.  We've got to do better.  And that's why we've got to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes investing in more biofuels and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and more solar power and more wind power, and more people going back to work building cars and homes and businesses that are more energy efficient than the ones that we've got right now. 

 

And that’s why I’ve proposed new job-creating investments in science and innovation.  And all these young people, as young as they are, they're all going to be going to college, and a lot of them are going to want to continue to pursue their research and pursue their dreams.  And if there is not the research grant pipeline in place, many of them will not have the resources to invent and discover the things that will make us healthier and make us more energy efficient and improve the quality of our lives. 

 

So this is not the time to gut investments that keep our businesses on the cutting edge, that keep our economy humming, that improve the quality of our lives.  This is the time to reach a level of research and development that we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race.  That's what we should be doing.  That's what we should be focused on.  (Applause.)  

 

And that should not be a partisan idea.  America has always been about discovery, and invention, and engineering, and science and evidence.  That's who we are.  That's in our DNA.  That's how this country became the greatest economic power in the history of the world.  That's how we’re able to provide so many contributions to people all around the world with our scientific and medical and technological discoveries.

 

     And that's what these young people here are all about.  And if extraordinary young people like all of you can use your talents to shape the future for our families and our communities and our countries, we’ve got a responsibility to make sure that they’ve got the tools to do it. 

 

So I want to thank all the Science Fair winners not only for the work that you guys are doing, but also the example that you’re setting for your peers and also for your adults -- the adults in your lives.  We could not be prouder of you.  And I want you to keep up your incredible work.

 

And part of the reason that we’re doing this here -- we celebrate our great football players like Victor, and we celebrate outstanding musicians, and that's all appropriate.  But we’ve got to make sure that we’re also celebrating every single day in our schools, in our classrooms, and in our country the outstanding contributions that scientists and engineers and mathematicians and engineers are providing to us every single day.  And we want you to know that you’ve got a whole country behind you as you pursue your dreams.  And your success is going to be our success, as well.  So way to go.