‘Protect our parks, and protect this planet for generations’

Amid the woods and waterfalls of Yosemite National Park in California, one of America’s first and most famous national parks, President Obama had this warning on June 18:

“Make no mistake. Climate change is no longer just a threat. It’s already a reality.”

Obama said other ecological treasures of the U.S. park system are at risk, from the glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York harbor.

Taking in a view of Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, he said, “You can’t capture this on an iPad.”

Obama recalled his first visit to Yosemite as an 11-year-old, witnessing a moose drinking from a lake, a passing herd of deer and a bear with her cub.

“That changes you. You are not the same after that,” he said.

Obama spent the weekend on a working vacation in Yosemite and New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, with first lady Michelle Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia. The first family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.