Barack Obama hails youth efforts to tackle climate change in Dear Earth opening speech

Barack Obama gives a speech in “Dear Earth”

Former President Barack Obama gives a powerful opening speech praising the work of young people in the fight against climate change in a new YouTube Originals film titled Dear Earth.

Produced by Done + Dusted, Strong Brew and Silverback Films, the 100-minute special addresses various “sustainability challenges” facing the planet as a result of climate change while offering solutions that the filmmakers say “will inspire change” , according to a press release from YouTube Originals.

In Dear Earth, which begins on Saturday, the former commander-in-chief congratulates the younger generations for their efforts to deal with the current crisis.

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“What impresses me the most is the fact that you don’t wait for the people who got us into this mess to dig us up,” he says of his interactions with young people at work. of the Obama Foundation on Climate Change. “You do it yourself, even if you are not of voting age.”

Former President Barack Obama sits down for a one-on-one interview with Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan for the Juneteenth: Together We Triumph A Soul of a Nation special event airing on Friday, June 18, 2021 on ABC.

Former President Barack Obama sits down for a one-on-one interview with Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan for the Juneteenth: Together We Triumph A Soul of a Nation special event airing on Friday, June 18, 2021 on ABC.

Jeff Neira / ABC via Getty

Speaking, he shares, “this is how progress is being made” with issues like climate change – “maybe especially on a problem like this.”

Although previous generations have failed to solve the problem, Obama is convinced that the new generations will not follow.

RELATED: Children born in 2020 will face 7 times more extreme weather events: study

“When you look at the history of so many social movements – whether it is the civil rights movement or decolonization in the world or anti-war movements – they are often started and supported by young people,” explains he, citing their understanding of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the fierce urgency of the present moment”.

“You don’t see how things are and assume that this is how they always will be,” he continues. “You can imagine something different and you are willing to work to make it happen. This is what gives me hope in the fight against climate change.”

Barack Obama Presidential Center

Barack Obama Presidential Center

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / getty

Dear Earth features multiple addresses, musical performances, comedy shorts and other special appearances from several climate-conscious celebrities such as Billie Eilish, Jaden Smith, BLACKPINK, Lil Dicky, SpongeBob SquarePants, Pope Francis and Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

A spokesperson for the former president told PEOPLE that Obama was due to travel to Glasgow next month for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) “where he will meet young activists engaged in the fight against climate and deliver a keynote address changing the climate threat [a] broader context. “

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A local resident gestures as he holds an empty garden hose during an attempt to extinguish forest fires as they approach the village of Pefki on the island of Evia (Evia), the second largest island in Greece, August 8, 2021.

A local resident gestures as he holds an empty water pipe during an attempt to extinguish forest fires as they approach the village of Pefki on the island of Evia (Evia), the second largest island in Greece, August 8, 2021.

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP via Getty

Among Obama’s talking points will be the “significant” progress made since the Paris Agreement entered into force five years ago and the leadership of young people around the world, the spokesperson said.

The former president will also push for “more robust action” for everyone, from governments and the private sector to civil society “in the future.”

Dear Earth starts streaming on YouTube on Saturday.

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