Standing in front of one of the most breathtaking backgrounds of any during his time in office, President Obama used a speech at Yosemite National Park today to tout his conservation legacy while calling for more action to prevent climate change.
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"You can't capture this on an iPad, or a flatscreen, or even an oil painting," Obama said. "You've got to come in and breathe it in here yourself."
Obama's speech was a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, and a call for more Americans to take advantage of the great outdoors, with Obama expressing concern over children who had yet to ever visit a national park. Obama said his administration has established protection for more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters, and in the past has used several other family vacations to promote national parks.
"There's something sacred about this place, and I suppose that's why the walls of this valley were referred to as cathedral walls, because here at Yosemite we connect not just with our own spirit, but with something greater," Obama said. "It's almost like the spirit of America itself is right here."
Chief official White House photographer Pete Souza posted on his Instagram account photos from Obama's visit, including one image where Obama turns the tables on Souza.
Obama also used the backdrop to call for more action on preventing climate change, which he has said is the greatest threat facing future generations.
"This park belongs to all of us, this planet belongs to all of us, it's the only one we’ve got. And we can't give lip service to that notion but then oppose the things required to protect it," Obama said. "On this issue, unlike a lot of issues, there's such a thing as being too late."
Following the speech, Obama and the first family took off for a day-long hike around Yosemite.