President Barack Obama has embarked on a landmark trip to Alaska, making him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the arctic.
The president is there to shed light on the growing environmental issues the region faces, particularly global warming. He also officially renamed the country’s tallest mountain from Mt. McKinley to Denali, in homage to the region’s native population, which the White House says is facing major challenges due to climate change.
The name change has received backlash from some politicians who say the name honors the legacy the 24th president of the United States, William McKinley and thus should not be changed.
Nevertheless, Obama led the charge during his visit today and officially renamed the 20,237-foot mountain, breaking a 40-year impasse over its name.
Today we’re returning Mount McKinley to its native name – Denali, a step to reflect the heritage of Alaska Natives. pic.twitter.com/WyzQImKymX
– President Obama (@POTUS) August 31, 2015
This week during his visit, according to reports, Obama will be participating in activities that will take American citizens into a first-hand tour of the effects of global warming, including a hike on a melting glacier near the town of Seward, visit with coastal village fishermen in Dillingham, and an appearance on NBC’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls, with Survival Expert Bear Grylls.
“This is all real. This is happening to our fellow Americans right now,” Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.
The state sees sometimes debilitating disasters, including wildfires, accelerating ice melt in the arctic, disappearing glaciers, and relocation of residents in villages forced to move away due to rising seas.
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