Obama Becomes First Sitting President to Visit Arctic, Use Selfie Stick

President Obama concluded his three-day, dad-on-vacation-themed trip to Alaska on Wednesday by giving a speech on climate change in the remote town of Kotzebue and chronicling his adventures with a selfie stick. It’s unclear why Obama didn’t ask one of the dozen or so people in his entourage to man his camera, but perhaps he didn’t want to be merely the first president to venture above the Arctic Circle. “We’ve been able to spend the day out here just learning more about how the glaciers are receding,” Obama said while filming in Kenai Fjords National Park. “It’s a signpost of what’s happening with a changing climate … This is worth preserving.”

As the AP notes, Obama made no major policy announcements in Alaska, but by posting images of himself enjoying the state’s natural wonders, posing for a Rolling Stone photo shoot, and taping an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls, he hoped to capture the attention of Americans who aren’t heavily invested in environmental policy.

During his speech in Kotzebue, Obama highlighted his administration’s ongoing efforts to fight climate change, including its push to finalize a global agreement on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions at a United Nations conference in Paris next year. “I don’t need to tell people here in Alaska what’s happening,” Obama said. “I’ve been trying to make the rest of the country aware of a changing climate, but you’re already living it.”

In Firsts, Obama Sees Arctic, Uses Selfie Stick