The following is excerpted from a televised speech Jimmy Carter delivered on April 18, 1977. –When considered in the context of the Iraq war and the ongoing difficulties in the Middle East and the growing issues caused by global warming, it is remarkable Carter’s foresight and disappointing that we did not heed then what could have saved us so much now. I have to wonder when I watch documentaries dealing with World War II - "we" were fighting the good fight then... weren't we? We would have done anything. We were fighting for our lives. We were fighting to save the world. Now, like an addict or an alcoholic we just can't bring ourselves to see the problem. The only way the fighting ends in the Middle East is if there is nothing to fight over. The only way to save our environment is to actually make the hard choices. I for one will take my ration card now:
Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.
It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.
We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.
We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.
Two days from now, I will present my energy proposals to the Congress. Its members will be my partners and they have already given me a great deal of valuable advice. Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices.
The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.
Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the "moral equivalent of war" -- except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.