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Obama: Protect Planet for Future Generations

  • VOA News

FILE - President Barack Obama speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 15, 2015.

FILE - President Barack Obama speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 15, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Americans to do all they can to preserve the country's "natural treasures."

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said the United States is "home to some of the most beautiful God-given landscapes in the world... from the Grand Tetons to the Grand Canyon, from lush forests and vast deserts to lakes and rivers teeming with wildlife."

The president said "it's our responsibility to protect these treasures for future generations, just as previous generations protected them for us."

WATCH: President Obama delivers his Weekly Address

President Obama says he has set aside more than 1 million square kilometers of public lands and waters for the current and future generations to enjoy, preserving more land than any other president.

Arctic communities at risk

In his efforts to highlight the effects of climate change, Obama is the first sitting president to visit a community north of the U.S. Arctic Circle. Scientists and activists have warned that the temperatures at the Arctic are increasing at more than twice the average global rate. Loss of Arctic snow and ice is accelerating the warming of the planet as a whole, they say.

President Barack Obama looks at Bear Glacier, which has receded 1.8 miles in approximately 100 years, while on a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Resurrection Cove, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Seward, Alaska.

President Barack Obama looks at Bear Glacier, which has receded 1.8 miles in approximately 100 years, while on a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Resurrection Cove, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Seward, Alaska.

The president said Saturday that over the past six years, the U.S. has worked to prevent the worst effects of climate change by "generating more clean energy and lowering our carbon emission." He said, "And because America is leading by example, 150 countries, representing over 85 percent of global emissions, have now laid out plans to reduce their levels of the harmful carbon pollution that warms our planet."

Scientists have warned that letting global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will bring extreme weather and rising seas that would affect populations all over the world.

President Obama said the U.S. will "keep doing what we can to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it's too late. After all, as Pope Francis reminds us so eloquently, this planet is a gift from God — and our common home. We should leave it to our kids in better shape than we found it."

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