This Presidents Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate some of the “greenest” Presidents in our nation’s history. You might be surprised to find that half of them are Republican.
Let’s start with President Richard Nixon (Republican). As president, Richard Nixon passed some of the most important environmental legislation in U.S. history. The focus of his efforts was protecting people from environmental hazards. Nixon passed the Clean Air Act to control air pollution across the country. The law is thought to be one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world. He passed the Clean Water Act to control pollutant discharges into U.S. waters. This law protects drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans from becoming contaminated. He also passed the Endangered Species Act, which of course protects endangered species from going extinct and preserves our food chain.
Nixon is also the one who established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. The U.S. EPA was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment. To sum it up, Nixon, a Republican, enacted some of the toughest environmental regulations of any president in U.S. history.
Ironically, every one of his landmark achievements is now at risk of being rolled back, eliminated, or defunded by current President Donald Trump, who claims environmental regulations are bad for the economy. Click here to take action. But enough about Trump.
President Jimmy Carter (Democrat) is another president worth our attention. In 1979, Carter became the first president to ever put solar panels on the White House. At the time, the Arab oil embargo had caused a national energy crisis, with oil prices jumping from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel. Carter called for a campaign to conserve energy across the country and decided to put up 32 solar panels on the White House to set a good example. In his first year as president, he created the Department of Energy, passed the Soil and Water Conservation Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
He also helped to further strengthen the Clean Air Act by setting limits on industrial sources of pollution. A critical component was establishing fines equal to the cost of cleanup for companies that did not comply. Carter understood the American people shouldn’t foot the bill for industry’s pollution (something Democrats and Republicans today should seriously think about).
In early 1980, Carter signed legislation to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up abandoned toxic waste dumps (aka “Superfund sites”). And, he pushed for the passage of the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which provided special protection to over 100 million acres of land, including national parks, national forests, and wild and scenic rivers. All of these achievements land him on our list of “green” presidents to celebrate.
Next up, President Teddy Roosevelt (Republican). President Roosevelt was considered the first modern environmentalist president. During his presidency, Roosevelt took aggressive actions to preserve the balance of the natural world. He signed at least 50 executive orders protecting natural resources and wildlife. For example, in 1903, plumes for women’s hats were in high demand and that had led to the decimation of shorebird populations. After visiting Pelican Island in Florida to see for himself, Roosevelt created the Pelican Island Bird Reservation.
Through the Forest Reserve Act, he protected 150 million acres of land as public land. This eventually lead to the creation of the U.S. Forest Service. Year after year, he continued his crusade, protecting more land and more species from being devastated.
Roosevelt was an avid hunter and taxidermist, but he understood that if the actions of hunters, miners, and timber cutters weren’t controlled, they could pose a serious threat to entire ecosystems. For Roosevelt, it was about balance, so that everyone who enjoyed and depended upon our natural resources could continue to benefit.
Last but not least is President Barack Obama (Democrat). Now, we should probably mention that Green For All has a special affinity for this president. Inspired by our co-founder Van Jones’s best-selling book The Green Collar Economy, Jones served at the President’s request as special advisor on green jobs.
Many of Obama’s policies helped to jumpstart the green economy and bring it to disadvantaged communities. In 2009, Obama’s stimulus package not only helped the U.S. out of the Great Recession, it also invested billions in clean energy technology. These programs helped to make wind and solar energy more affordable in the last nine years. Obama also helped to fund the Green Jobs Act, which put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work building a more sustainable future.
What some people probably don’t know is that Obama also fought to bring justice to coal miners. He put forth the POWER Plus Plan, which would have deployed $1 billion for workforce and economic development in coal communities feeling the effects of a global transition to a new clean energy economy. His proposal was blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress. But that didn’t stop him. He found a way for his idea to move forward through the POWER Initiative. This initiative began awarding some smaller grants available for economic and workforce development projects in Appalachia and other coal communities across the country.
Obama also played an international leadership role on climate change, signing on to a global agreement to curb climate change known as the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2015, he introduced the Clean Power Plan to address one of the largest sources of the U.S.’s share of climate pollution: power plants. It was the first ever federal rule to limit pollution from power plants. Overall, Obama made protecting the environment a important cornerstone of his presidency.
Take action to defend these presidents’ legacy:
Tell the U.S. EPA to protect Clean Air.
Help us spread the message on social media (use #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay):
- Name two Republican presidents who were "green." Check your answers at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
Who was the first President to put solar panels on the White House? Check your answer at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
- Can you name four Presidents who were "green"? Hint: Being green isn’t partisan: greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
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Oregon has an opportunity to pass a bold law that would cap and price climate pollution. If this bill passes, the largest polluters will finally be made to pay for their pollution. Best of all, proceeds will go toward putting Oregonians to work in the community making clean power like solar available to more people, upgrading homes and businesses to use less energy and save people money, building affordable housing near transit and investing in more transportation options. We're inviting you to join us for a day of action in support of passing Clean Energy Jobs legislation in Oregon.Read more
Dear OUSD School Board Members,
Since the school year began, lead has been found in water in at least 45 Oakland schools and daycares. Our schools should help all kids succeed, not jeopardize their health because of lead exposure.
We urge you to pass a ZERO-lead policy that includes:
- Testing every water tap;
- Reporting lead results for every school, including those found to be under 15 ppb;
- Notifying parents that they should have children blood-tested for lead when lead is found at their child's school;
- Removing lead-bearing pipes and plumbing;
- Installing filters certified to remove lead; and
- Allowing no more than 1 part per billion of lead in school drinking water, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There's no "safe" level of lead in drinking water. Even small exposures to lead can do permanent damage to children's brain development. Lead poisoning is completely preventable, and 100% irreversible. Please pass a comprehensive ZERO-lead policy now.
Green For All's Kim Noble travelled to Charleston, West Virginia this week, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a 2-day public hearing on its proposal to repeal The Clean Power Plan.
The Trump Administration believes that power plants should be allowed to pollute our communities as much as they want without repercussions. Through an executive order, Donald Trump directed the EPA to take steps to roll back The Clean Power Plan -- the only federal protection we have that limits power plant pollution. But it's not that easy.
We can stand up and speak out to stop this from happening. Our health should come first. And our communities can't afford to keep sending kids and seniors to the hospital with breathing problems, or pay the increasing cost of asthma medication simply because no one is holding big polluters accountable. These are health problems we can prevent.
U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt put forth a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, per Trump's directive. Now, it's time for us all to speak up.
Hear from two women Kim met at the hearing:
We know most people can't travel to Charleston to testify. That's why we created a page where you can submit your own public comment here: greenforall.org/cleanpowerplan
The EPA is taking public comments on the proposal now through January 16, 2018. We will make sure to deliver your comments directly to the EPA.
Together we can and we will make sure that the Clean Power Plan moves forward, and our communities can breathe clean air. Thanks for doing your part.
Green For All's policy director, Kerene Tayloe, joined Young People For for a real conversation about what the Trump Administration's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan means for families.
Listen in, then take action!
The U.S. EPA is taking public comments now through January 16, 2018 on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan. We need you to speak out for clean air for all.
Submit your public comments supporting the Clean Power Plan here: greenforall.org/cleanpowerplan
Green For All released a new mini-series in partnership with Attn:, featuring the stories of women who are raising their families on the frontlines of pollution. These moms are mobilizing to fight for clean air and water all across America.
Recently, the Trump Administration has tried to roll back every major clean air and water protection we have. Hear their stories on why this matters and what their fight is all about. Then take action.
To Las Vegas:
Here’s 3 things you can do to help:
1) Submit a public comment to support the Clean Power Plan, which would curb pollution from power plants like the one near Jacob’s school in Las Vegas (and around the country): http://greenforall.org/cleanpowerplan
2) Call Congress to protect U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding from getting cut so we can hold them accountable to do their job! Much of EPA's money gets re-granted to states for things like water infrastructure. Call 202-335-1787
3) Ask your state Governor to use VW settlement money to transition dirty diesel buses to clean zero emission buses. Sign the petition here.
What does it say about America that we can't even provide our own citizens with clean water? pic.twitter.com/Y9yCMi37Rj— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 12, 2017
OCTOBER 18, 2017 -- Today in Washington D.C., the U.S. Senate voted to pass a budget proposal that would slash funding for critical environmental protections, open up drilling in the Arctic, and in summary, put people's health and well-being at risk. Gutting funding for clean air and water protection programs puts Americans at serious risk. One Flint mom, Melissa Mays, warned earlier this month that a bare bones Environmental Protection Agency could leave cities across America susceptible to becoming the next #FlintWaterCrisis.
So... who are the 51 Senators who voted for this #DirtyBudget that could send kids and our elders to the hospital? See below.
There's still time to introduce an amendment to protect EPA funding.
Ask all Senators to step up and protect our right to clean air & water by introducing an amendment to #ProtectEPA funding. Use #AFutureToFightFor.
The truth is, pollution is rampant in low-income neighborhoods and in communities of color all across the country. Due to their proximity to the dirtiest sources of pollution like power plants and busy freeways and highways, these communities have higher rates of asthma and pollution-related disease, including cancer. And in the midst of all of this, the Trump Administration wants to cut funding for environmental protections by nearly ONE THIRD.
Sign our petition to protect critical funding for clean air, clean water, and a safe environment today.
Everyone has a story. What's yours? Share it with Green For All at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use subject line "My Story - YOUR NAME."
On September 23rd in Los Angeles, Hollywood filmmakers, producers and celebrities came together to celebrate the industry elite who are helping to bring environmental issues to mass culture. Green For All's co-founder Van Jones, director Vien Truong, and deputy director Michelle Romero, were honored to be there to support our friends at the Environmental Media Association. This was EMA's 27th award show dedicated to highlighting the industry's efforts on environmental issues, and it was tremendous.
With Jaden Smith hosting, and our friend Mary Ann Hitt of the Sierra Club opening the evening, things were off to a great start. The 2017 honorees included Natalie Portman, Russell Simmons, John Paul DeJoria and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
And of course, Van was honored to present the award to Russell Simmons, a man who -- among his many great contributions to culture and social issues -- supported Green For All's #FixThePipes campaign earlier this year, to help raise money for families in Flint who are still suffering from the #FlintWaterCrisis. Watch now: