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Happy National Wildlife Day! The holiday, now in its tenth year, serves to celebrate and raise awareness around endangered animals throughout America's wild lands. It's fitting, then, that America's president is just getting back from his tour of Alaska, a state that's home to some of America's wildest lands and wildlife.
Between hiking along glaciers, visiting the Arctic, and being spawned on by salmon, Obama has taken plenty of actions of legal significance on his brief vacation. These include renaming America's tallest mountain, checking out endangered species and pressing for support for his efforts to address climate change. Oh, and he also teamed up with reality star Bear Grylls for a quick lesson on wilderness survival skills, should he ever get stuck alone in the tundra.
Visiting Glaciers to Push His Climate Agenda
Obama's three day tour focused heavily on the impacts that climate change is having on the land of the midnight sun. With just a year and a half left in office, Obama is pushing an ambitious, legacy-making environmental plan. His climate change agenda focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting clean energy development, and preparing for inevitable climate change impacts.
Facing a hostile Congress, much of the President's environmental agenda focuses on utilizing existing laws in order to address climate change. The results have been mixed so far. In June, the Supreme Court set back an attempt by the EPA to reduce emissions for coal power plants by regulating mercury.
Obama's trip focused mainly on the third prong of his climate agenda, highlighting the impacts climate change is already having on Alaska. He visited glaciers that are melting away as global temperatures increase and native villages threatened with inundation. All that trekking through the state involved plenty of run ins with wildlife as well.
After a fishing trip, Obama stopped to look at the salmon he caught. Picking one up, it "began squirting at his shoes," CNN reported. The salmon had dropped its eggs all over the President's loafers. "He was happy to see me," Obama said.
The President also took time to team up with a human named Bear. Obama filmed a segment for Bear Grylls' reality show "Running Wild" in which Grylls takes celebrities out in the wilderness to teach them basic survival skills. It's not exactly Nixon on Laugh In, but it should be compelling T.V. nonetheless.