Most environmentalists this fall will vote for Barack Obama, and for good reason. But when a dozen of America’s environmental leaders were asked to select our nation’s greenest president, they put two Republicans — Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon — atop the list.
Roosevelt, of course, was a conservationist and champion of what became America’s national parks. It was on Nixon’s watch that the EPA was created, along with landmark legislation protecting air, water and endangered species. When Russell Train, a moderate Republican who chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality under Nixon, died the other day, he was lauded by environmentalists.
“Conservative environmentalist is not an oxymoron,” says Theodore Roosevelt IV, an investment banker and the great-grandson of Teddy Roosevelt. Unhappily, Republican environmentalists like TR IV have become an endangered species.
The survey to identify America’s greenest presidents was conducted by Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based publication that calls itself “the magazine for clean capitalism.” It was released this moring [Sept. 18] at the National Press Club in Washington, where several of the voters — Ralph Nader of Public Citizen, Joe Romm of Climate Progress and Robert Engelman of The Worldwatch Institute — talked about the results. Others who participated in survey include Mike Brune of the Sierra Club, Phil Radford of Greenpeace, Frances Beinecke of NRDC, Mark Tercek of The Nature Conservancy, Carter Roberts of WWF, as well as Van Jones and Bill McKibben. [click to continue…]