Sustainability History

November 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

With the impending 2012 presidential election and Veterans’ Day upon us, it’s time for a little historical and presidential sustainability quiz. Take a look through the questions and check out some potentially surprising answers. Maybe you already know some of these, but hopefully you’ll learn a little too.

Q: Who was designated the “Conservation President”?

A: President Teddy Roosevelt. While in office, Teddy Roosevelt created 5 national parks: Crater Lake, Wind Cave, Sullys Hill, Mesa Verde and Platt. He also announced four national monuments: Devils Tower, El Morro, Montezuma Castle, and the Petrified Forest. Roosevelt protected a large portion of the Grand Canyon and also created legislative alliances so that the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902, an act that funded irrigation projects in the west, could pass. He oversaw the creation of the U.S. Forest Service and set aside 150 million acres of timberlands as public domains through the Forest Reserve Act of 1891.

Source: Library of Congress

Q: Who started the EPA?

A: The 1969 Congress proposed a bill known as the National Environmental Policy Act which ultimately, when signed by President Nixon on January 1, 1970, would become the EPA later that year. Roy L. Ash, the man appointed to evaluate governmental organizational problems by Nixon, played a large role in the creation of the independent agency that exists today. 1970 also held the first ever Earth Day and Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, demonstrating the nationwide, bipartisan support for environmental reform. Nixon also created the endangered species list in 1973 with the hope of protecting critically endangered species and their habitats from extinction.

File:Richard Nixon.jpg

Source: National Archives and Records Administration

Q: Who said, “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy -sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”?

A: Thomas Edison. Edison said this in 1931 to Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford, two driving forces in the automotive revolution.

File:Thomas Edison2.jpg

Source: Library of Congress

Q: Who said, “If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”

A: President Ronald Reagan. Reagan gave these remarks when signing the annual report of the Council on Environmental Quality on July 11, 1984. Although he isn’t necessarily remembered for his environmental record, President Reagan signed 43 wilderness bills designating a total of 10.6 million acres. He was also a driving force in the U.S. ratification of the Montreal Protocol — which has reduced emissions of gases that deplete the ozone layer.

File:Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpg

Source: Public Domain

Q: Who said, “The supreme reality of our time is…our common vulnerability on this planet.”?

A: President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy said this during his address before the Irish Parliament in 1963 while encouraging the country to promote peace around the world. Kennedy also established a commission to investigate impacts of pesticides on the environment and health. This investigation contributed to the establishment of the EPA and many modern environmental protection laws.

File:JohnFK.png

Source: Public Domain

Q: Who said, “The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we’re contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.”?

A: President Barack Obama. While some feel that Obama’s approach to combating climate change has been too weak, his support for electric vehicles and clean energy has been praised. Also, Obama was successful in rolling back challenges presented during the Bush-era, such as attempted selling of wilderness areas.

File:Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg

Source: Public Domain

Hopefully you learned a few environmental history facts and enjoyed my little quiz. Make sure to vote today if you haven’t yet and remember our veterans on November 11th.

Enact Intern, Grace

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Entry filed under: conservation, history, other, people, politics, presidents, renewables, sustainability.

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