Barack Obama Lauds Young People's Efforts to Address Climate Change in 'Dear Earth' Keynote Speech

The former Commander-in-Chief says in his address that he is "impressed" by younger generations' willingness to combat the issue

Barack Obama Delivers Keynote Speech In 'Dear Earth'

Former President Barack Obama delivers a powerful keynote address lauding young people's work on combatting climate change in a new YouTube Originals film called Dear Earth.

Produced by Done + Dusted, Strong Brew and Silverback Films, the 100-minute special addresses various "sustainability challenges" facing the planet due to climate change while offering solutions that filmmakers hope will "inspire change," according to a YouTube Originals news release.

In Dear Earth, which premieres Saturday, the former Commander-in-Chief praises younger generations for their efforts to address the ongoing crisis.

"What I'm so impressed by is the fact that you are not waiting for the people who got us into this mess to dig us out," he says of his interactions with young people through The Obama Foundation's work on climate change. "You're doing it yourselves, even if you are not old enough to vote."

Former President <a href="" data-inlink="true">Barack Obama</a> sits down for a one-on-one interview with Good Morning America Co-Anchor Michael Strahan for Juneteenth: Together We Triumph A Soul of a Nation Special Event airing Friday, June 18, 2021 on ABC.
Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty

Speaking up, he shares, "is how progress gets made" with issues like climate change — "maybe especially on a problem like that."

Though previous generations have failed to address the issue, Obama is confident that new generations won't follow suit.

"When you look at the history of so many social movements — whether it's the Civil Rights movement or decolonization around the world or anti-war movements — they're often started and sustained by young people," he explains, citing their understanding of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called "the fierce urgency of now."

"You don't see the way things are and assume that's the way they'll always be," he continues. "You can imagine something different and you're willing to put in the work to make it happen. That's what makes me hopeful about the fight against climate change."

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Barack Obama</a> Presidential Center

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

A spokesperson for the former president tells PEOPLE that Obama is scheduled to visit Glasgow next month for the United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP 26) "where he will meet with young activists engaged in the climate fight and deliver remarks putting the threat of climate change in [a] broader context."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

A local resident gestures as he holds n empty water hose during an attempt to extinguish forest fires approaching the village of Pefki on Evia (Euboea) island, Greece's second largest island, on August 8, 2021.

Among Obama's discussion points will be the "important" progress made since the Paris Agreement first took effect five years ago and the leadership of young people from around the world, the spokesperson states.

The former president will also push for "more robust action" for everyone from governments and the private sector to civil society "going forward."

Dear Earth begins streaming on YouTube on Saturday.

Related Articles