President Obama joined Bear Grylls — the TV host and survivalist who regularly consumes the excrement of other species — on Running Wild with Bear Grylls on Thursday. The purpose of the show wasn’t just to fulfill the president’s lifelong dream of eating salmon a bear spit out (although, kudos for marking that one off the bucket list, POTUS) — it was to show the world what climate change looks like up close.
The duo treked to the Exit Glacier in Alaska’s Kenai Mountains, where they encountered bear fur, though no actual bears. Grylls warned Obama that the most dangerous time to encounter a bear is when it’s eating, protecting its young, or fornicating, to which the president replied, “I think that’s probably true of humans as well.” Good point.
The two also discussed what they are most afraid of (Obama: Michelle; Grylls: cocktail parties), as well as remedies for flatulence, and more notably, the effects of climate change on the area. Exit Glacier is a part of the Harding Ice Field, which has shrunk an astounding 812 feet since 2008.
“When you see this glacier,” the president said, “it gives you a sense of the magnitude of them. But what you’re also reminded of is how far it’s already receded just since my presidency. It underscores once again why it’s so important for us to pay attention to climate change and understand there’s something we can actually do about it.”
What the president did not do, however, was drink his own urine.
“I suppose, in extremis, it’s something that I would do. If the alternative was death,” the president said when Grylls suggested he try it. “It’s not something I’d make a habit of. And I probably wouldn’t do it just for a TV show.”
And that, ladies and gents, is what a president sounds like. Unlike some people.
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