In terms of the economy, President Barack Obama was dealt a tough hand even before he took the oath of office--and he's been trying to figure out the best way to play those cards ever since.
According to economists, the recession officially started in December 2007, nearly a year before Obama was elected president, and the financial crisis hit full force in late 2008, several weeks before Obama assumed his presidential responsibilities.
Given that 2012 is a presidential election year and Obama is running for a second term, Republicans in the House, the Senate and along the campaign trail are criticizing the president almost daily for not rebuilding the U.S. economy and putting Americans back to work.
It's not for lack of trying. Looking back at the three State of the Union addresses Obama has delivered during his years as president, the economy has been his clear and consistent focus.
And while he has taken numerous actions on his own authority, and proposed a number of different measures that Congress could adopt to help achieve that goal (most of them never acted upon), one thing has never changed. Year after year, the cornerstone of Obama's plan for U.S. economic recovery and future growth has been clean energy.
Take a look at the highlights of President Obama's State of the Union addresses from 2010, 2011 and 2012 to see how they compare:
If you're concerned about specific environmental issues, you're probably trying to do something about them. Some of those actions may extend to what you put on your dinner plate.
See how other readers of this website are changing their diets and eating habits to address their environmental concerns and reflect their environmental commitment--and join the discussion.
You've seen it a hundred times and probably never given it a second thought -- the offical seal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Follow the link to see the seal again and to find out how it came to be.
Every time we are exposed to radiation, whether from a medical X-ray or a nuclear accident, government officials quickly reassure us that the amount of radiation we are likely to receive is perfectly safe.
Many medical experts disagree, arguing that radiation exposure is cumulative and no amout of radiation is truly safe. Learn more.
In his third State of the Union this month, President Barack Obama again called on Congress to end federal subsidies and tax breaks for big oil companies.
Obama said the money would be better spent developing clean, renewable energy that could one day replace oil and help make the United States energy-independent.
Read an earlier take on the question of taxpayer-financed subsidies for oil companies.
If you had only half an hour to do something to protect and preserve the environment, how would you spend it?
Learn how you can make a difference in 30 minutes or less each day.
With oil pipelines and offshore drilling back in the news nearly every day, maybe it's time to take another look at why oil spills are a problem for the environment--and for the people who depend on the land and the sea for their livelihoods.
Learn more about oil spills and how they damage the environment.
The Obama administration today rejected TransCanada's application for a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sand fields of Alberta, Canada to U.S. oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposed pipeline would cost an estimated $7 billion, span six states, and stretch across more than 1,700 miles--some of it through environmentally sensitive areas and past communities of people who are worried about the potential health effects of possible oil spills, air pollution, water contamination and greenhouse gas emissions.
Supporters argue that the pipeline is needed to create jobs and reduce America's dependence on oil from nations that are sometimes hostile to U.S. interests. Opponents say that the uncertain number of jobs the pipeline would create--many of them temporary low-paying jobs rather than the permanent high-wage jobs usually cited by pipeline advocates--are not worth the health and environmental risks the pipeline poses.
Learn more about today's decision and what comes next.
On Wednesday, the EPA issued the first national standards ever created to improve air quality by reducing mercury and other toxic air pollution from U.S. power plants.
Millions of Americans will breathe a little easier because of the new standards, which will prevent many serious health issues and premature deaths each year, save billions of dollars in health care costs, and create thousands of new jobs without creating significant hardships for the power industry.
To learn more about the new standards, see: EPA Issues First National Standards to Reduce Mercury from Power Plants.
Peace on Earth doesn't just apply to resolving war between nations or feuds with your in-laws; it's also a good long-term goal for reducing humankind's harsh treatment of the environment.
Learn how following a few simple steps can help you have a green Christmas that will be as much a celebration for the planet as it is for your family.