President Obama's "Running Wild With Bear Grylls" Appearance Is The Perfect Way For This POTUS To Bid Farewell To The White House
We're in the era of New Obama. New Obama is openly emotional, candid with press, militant about gun control, and taking a hard stance against the War On Drugs. New Obama went to prison with VICE, tears up at the idea of his kids going to college, and... is going to Alaska with Bear Grylls. Yup: President Obama will appear on Running Wild With Bear Grylls, NBC announced Tuesday, to talk climate change and do God knows what else in the Alaskan wilderness (build a fire? Set up camp?! I admit, I went camping once and a branch smacked me in the forehead, and that was the end of that).
NBC's official press release about the collaboration notes that "Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to receive a crash course in survival techniques from Bear Grylls." (You don't say!) The two will come together in a remote region of Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the Alaska wilderness, and the show will air later this year. Grylls' show, now on its second season, has certainly seen its fair share of celebrities — Zac Efron, Kate Winslet — but, given that Obama will remain the leader of the free world until very early 2017, this is a radical move for the president.
But New Obama is used to being radical. Now in the final quarter of his presidency, and well aware that he'll soon be "former President Barack Obama" for ever and ever, Obama is steadily ticking items off his to-do list. Openly criticize Congress for not honoring the wishes of the American people? Check. Commute sentences of low-level drug offenders? Check. Condemn Bill Cosby, tackle climate change, make sure the public knows he's as sick of the relentless march of gun violence as they are? Check, check, check. Hang out in the wilderness with Bear Grylls and learn how to survive in the middle of Alaska? Sure, why not?
And while Obama will certainly use the opportunity to show off another side of himself — vulnerable, isolated, and quite possibly at risk of being attacked by a bear — his appearance on the show will serve a greater purpose: Educate the American public on climate change. Unbelievably, thanks in part to far-right politicians, many Americans still don't really believe global warming is happening, or that it's man-made. Fighting climate change has been at the heart of the second half of Obama's presidency, and it may even be a cause he'll continue to champion once leaving the White House.