Why We Would Miss Barack Obama | Dive Your Choice

President Barack Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago was an emotionally appealing one last Tuesday, one continuously being interrupted by applause and incessant chants of “four more years” from the crowd. In my opinion, despite it painting somewhat of a grandiose image of the administration with the illustrations of changes and achievements brought about during his presidency (just my personal opinion), there is one important legacy that his administration left for generations to come, but one that most people would have deemed not of the utmost importance – the legacy of environmental conservation.

Environmental issues, I would say, is one of the last few issues politicians address/promise to solve during a campaign, much less even putting it on the table for discussion and debate. Social issues that touch different communities that elicits the most votes, usually are queued up first, and environmental issue is one that is often overlooked, or in some cases, taken very lightly. Most governments are pretty reticent about it, even when the situation has become perilous. 

So it really stands out for me when you have a head of state who understands the repercussions if we do not lay our attention on environmental conservation; the long-lasting benefits that will last for generations when it is done right.

“The Ocean President”
“This administration has made the ocean a centerpiece for international diplomacy,” says Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist and former administrator of NOAA. “They used to be out of sight, out of mind. The only people who would talk about ocean issues were science ministers or fishery ministers. Now, when the President talks to other heads of state, oceans are often on the agenda.”

Let the numbers do the talking.
1. Quadrupled the size of Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to 583,000 square miles—twice the size of Texas.

2. Expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument sixfold.

3. Added the first marine monument in the Atlantic, a conservation zone that spans over 4900 square miles.

4. In the final months of his term, successfully persuaded 24 countries in the world to set up world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea off Antarctica

5. In the same month, created an 112,000 square mile “climate resilience area” off the west coast of Alaska.

Obama once said. “I spent my childhood on those shores, looking out over the endless ocean, and was humbled by it. And I know that, in a contest between us and the oceans, eventually the oceans will win one way or the other.  So it’s us that has to adapt.  Not the other way around.”


Well, the path has been laid out. Whilst we cross our fingers and hope that the next person in office (uh-hem, maybe not), continues to uphold and preserve the legacies, as individuals, there is something each one of us can do to protect what is ours, for us, and for generations to us.

Yes we can.

And yes, we will.

Credit to Ed Yong’s The Atlantic‘s article for information in this article. 

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