President’s Day is around the corner and throughout history there have been some environmental champions in the White House that should be noticed. Here’s a list of 5 eco-friendly Presidents in chronological order, and few highlights from their tenures from Environmental Graffiti Magazine:
In 1862 Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At the time more than 90 percent of Americans were farmers, so this was an important and powerful department. The USDA still has a major impact on our environment, as does U.S. agriculture. In addition, in 1864 Lincoln signed a bill which established protection for the Yosemite Valley in California, protecting the valley’s trees.
Teddy Roosevelt is more famous for his environmental actions than any other president in history. A committed outdoorsman, he made conservation of America’s natural resources a cornerstone of his policy. He repeatedly lobbied Congress to pass measures for the conservation of forests, water, soil and wildlife. He created the National Wildlife Refuge System. He designated Pelican Island, Florida, the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. He proceeded to place large areas of land under federal protection during his presidency, about 230 million acres in total.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC helped decrease unemployment during the Great Depression as part of FDR’s “New Deal” putting more than 2.5 million people to work from 1933 to 1942, planting millions of trees, opening summer camps, and generally improving America’s infrastructure and environment. In addition, FDR pushed a lot of legislation through Congress during his time in office, including the passage of the Soil Conservation Service and the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.
Richard Nixon. Nixon signed one of the most important environmental legislation in U.S. history into law. Some highlights include the signing of the Clean Air Act and creation the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act passed and the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.
Carter signed, lobbied and created environmental laws. From the first year of his presidency he was active in environmental issues. During his tenure there was the creation of the Department of Energy, as well as the passage of the Soil and Water Conservation Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and amendments on the Clean Air Act which helped set clean air standards. In 1978 Congress passed that National Energy Act, the Antarctic Conservation Act, and the Endangered American Wilderness Act.