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#Obama Takes to #Instagram to Spread #ClimateChange Message

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As modes of communication change, methods of inspiring and influencing people change too. Awareness and action campaigning has been forever changed in the wake of social media and anyone who wants to get an important point across needs to not only be able to understand that, but take full advantage of it. It looks like Obama is one of those people.
During his recent 3 day tour of Alaska, Obama took custody of the White House's official Instagram account, eschewed the usual photographs of school visits, fundraisers and John Kerry in favour of a series of stunning shots of the last frontier. More than that though, each lake, mountain and glacier was twinned with an important message about the impact of climate change, penned by the president himself.
As global warming continues to rise, it's the colder, more northerly parts of the planet which will most notably suffer the brunt of it, so Alaska is an ideal platform to make the case for greater environmental action. a global treaty is currently being pushed which would force many countries to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. Each image posted has pulled in hundreds of thousands of likes and comments, all agreeing that there is a serious need for further action.
A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on
While out there, Obama also joined Bear Grylls to film an episode of Running Wild which will be themed around the impact of global warming on Alaska. Both this and the decision to use Instagram as the primary conduit for this message suggest that Obama and his administration are particularly interested in addressing a younger audience, since really, the care of the planet is gradually being passed down through the generations and if younger people can better understand and communicate that, environmental movements will gain a significant amount of momentum.
A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on
The initiative is not without a twinge of controversy though. Shortly before Obama left for Alaska, the US congress approved a request from Shell to commence a new crude oil drilling operation in the northernmost part of the state. Obama has been heavily criticised for this decision, and a quick look through the comments on any of the Instagram pictures will find a significant number of people accusing him of hypocrisy, especially considering how fresh in the world's collective memory the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico still is. Obama has defended his decision, stating that the US economy still relies on oil, and that Shell are taking every safety precaution they can, but Greenpeace and other environmental agencies are still doing everything they can to stop it from happening.
Despite this, the message Obama is spreading through this Instagram campaign remains laudable and is clearly reaching a great deal of people. Moreover, he's setting a great example for other world powers about how to effectively communicate important messages. One can only hope that whoever ends up succeeding him next year is similarly savvy.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#Obama Takes to #Instagram to Spread #ClimateChange Message Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, September 06, 2015 Rating: 5

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