POLITICS

Obama Visits Faraway Speck Of Sand Furthering His Legacy Of Conservation

Protecting the Hawaii monument, the president said, will ensure it remains “a precious resource for generations to come."
President Barack Obama looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on the Midway A
President Barack Obama looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on the Midway Atoll, September 1, 2016.

In a gesture that speaks to his legacy of conservation, /twitter.com/POTUS?lang=en"}}">President Barack Obama traveled Thursday to a remote spit of sand and coral in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, to see for himself the very monument that six days earlier he quadrupled to create the largest protected marine area on the planet.

Air Force One touched down on picturesque Midway Atoll ― the site of a deadly and decisive battle six months after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor ― at approximately 11:30 a.m. local time, according to a White House press pool report.

After Obama “emerged from the plane smiling and wearing sunglasses,” the press pool noted, he was greeted by the atoll’s 40 inhabitants. The president then paid a visit to the Battle of Midway memorial before delivering a short statement at Turtle Beach.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, where Midway is located, is a “spectacular” ecosystem, home to thousands of species, Obama told those gathered on the atoll’s white, sandy shoreline. Protecting it, he added, will ensure it remains “a precious resource for generations to come.”

“I look forward to knowing that 20 years from now, 40 years from now, 100 years from now this is a place where people can still come to and see what a place like this looks like when it’s not overcrowded or destroyed by human populations,” Obama said.

President Barack Obama speaks to media as he tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwe
President Barack Obama speaks to media as he tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016

Over the last week, the president has made a serious push for conservation and stressed the urgency of combatting climate change head on. In addition to his massive expansion of and subsequent visit to Papahānaumokuākea, Obama addressed Pacific island and conservation leaders in Honolulu on Wednesday, the eve of the world’s largest conservation event. And before his trip Thursday, the White House announced $40 million in programs to help island nations and other communities vulnerable to climate change. 

Below, take a look at photos from Obama’s historic trip to Papahānaumokuākea ― a place that clearly deserves mankind’s protection:

The wing tip of Air Force One can be seen as President Barack Obama lands at Henderson Field to visit the Papahanaumokuakea M
The wing tip of Air Force One can be seen as President Barack Obama lands at Henderson Field to visit the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
The view out the window of Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, over a nearby island as the airplane approaches
The view out the window of Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, over a nearby island as the airplane approaches Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016. 
President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival to tour Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Nation
President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival to tour Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama greets workers after landing aboard Air Force One at Henderson Field to visit the Papahanaumokuakea Ma
President Barack Obama greets workers after landing aboard Air Force One at Henderson Field to visit the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama smiles as he looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midwa
President Barack Obama smiles as he looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S., September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama pays his respects at a memorial to the Battle of Midway monument during a visit to the Papahanaumokuak
President Barack Obama pays his respects at a memorial to the Battle of Midway monument during a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks to reporters during a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway
President Barack Obama delivers remarks to reporters during a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown (L) gives President Barack Obama at tour of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine
Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown (L) gives President Barack Obama at tour of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama visits the Battle of Midway Navy Memorial during a tour of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marin
President Barack Obama visits the Battle of Midway Navy Memorial during a tour of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.
A Tropicbird chick nests on the ground, where President Barack Obama and his golf car motorcade passed on a visit to Papahana
A Tropicbird chick nests on the ground, where President Barack Obama and his golf car motorcade passed on a visit to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama, alongside refuge manager Bob Peyton, looks at a map of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine N
President Barack Obama, alongside refuge manager Bob Peyton, looks at a map of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.
President Barack Obama tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
President Barack Obama tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with from Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.
Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown, right, gives President Barack Obama at tour of Turtle Beach at the Papah
Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown, right, gives President Barack Obama at tour of Turtle Beach at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S. September 1, 2016.

Heading to Midway Atoll on Air Force One, we just passed Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

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