FILE - Biden signs order

President Joe Biden signs an executive order intended to help restore national forests devastated by wildfires, drought and blight, during an event at Seward Park on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(The Center Square) – President Biden spent Earth Day in Seattle discussing his plan to help battle climate change as a couple hundred Seattleites advocated for him to do more.

The president drove past various signs reading “stop salmon extinction,” “we demand fossil free future for all” and cutouts of Biden saying “climate change is the existential threat to humanity.” But, the majority of Biden’s speech at Seattle’s Seward Park consisted of ways to fix the world’s climate-change issue.

“All you gotta do is look around: cities and states are acting, businesses are acting, I'm acting and we need congress to act as well,” Biden said.

Along with his speech, the president signed an executive order that is intended to help restore national forests that have been affected by wildfires, drought and blight. The order will require National Park Services, Forest Services and the Bureau of Land Management to identify threats to older trees and develop policies to protect them.

“I’m signing an executive order to strengthen our forests on federal lands and make them and the local economies they support more resilient in the face of wildfires,” Biden said

Biden called for action from officials and emphasized his willingness to execute eco-friendly legislation.

“My pen’s ready, my pen’s ready to sign and I am anxious to sign these [bills],” Biden said. “Get some of these bills to my desk.”

Despite the president talking about his willingness to help fight global warming, advocates for various climate-conscious organizations and Republicans say Biden needs to do more.

Kendra Ulrich, the shipping campaigns director for Stand.Earth, said that her team’s mission is “to get the shipping industry to decarbonize.” According to Ulrich, Seattle has more than double the excess mortality rate from exposure to ship exhausts compared to the global average.

“Yesterday, [Biden] announced $500,000 in zero-emission shipping, that is a pittance when we talk about this massive global pollution problem,” Ulrich said. “We’re calling on Biden to invest in a green corridor from Busan, South Korea to Seattle-Tacoma . . . as well as port infrastructure for renewable energy power to reduce localized air pollution.”

Washington Representative Mary Dye, a ranking Republican on the state House Environment and Energy Committee, released a statement that was critical of Biden’s appearance in Seattle for Earth Day.

“While the President and Governor [Jay] Inslee are using Earth Day for photo opportunities and media attention, I’m concerned they may be forgetting what really matters to the people of the state of Washington on this day,” Dye said.

Dye stressed how federal and state policies to prohibit logging “will lead to dangerous forests, more unharvested fuels, more wildfires which emit tons of carbon into our atmosphere, and will further hurt our timber communities, reduce jobs and make lumber for housing even more expensive and unaffordable.”

Amidst the backdrop of flowering trees and even a bald eagle, Biden signed his latest executive order with the confidence it will back-up his ambitious climate goals as president.

Biden ended his speech saying, “I think this is the beginning of a new day.”

Staff Reporter

Spencer Pauley reports on Seattle and the King County area of Washington. He was previously an independent filmmaker and worked on "The Clinton Affair," a documentary series investigating the impeachment proceedings of former President Bill Clinton.