the passing of a “funky president”December 27, 2006 at 6:04 pm | Posted in environment | 5 Comments
did you know that james brown‘s song “funky president“ was about gerald ford? besides the week of their unfortunate passings, they also shared concern for environmental preservation (see james brown’s efforts in soul power, green power). as “the only national park ranger to ascend to the presidency“, it can be argued that ford brought a unique appreciation for the environment to the office. his strides into “common sense environmental protection” included his ’76 landmark speech on world environment day, the toxic substances control act, the phasing out of polychlorinated biphenyls (pcb’s), as well as environmental safeguards to protect animals. these policies and others are discussed in the book “politics, pollution and panda“ by russell train, an enviornmental policy specialist, who served under both nixon and ford. while some critics believe these policies and ford’s overall stance on ecological issues were merely an “expansion of economic rhetoric” to distract the public from the rise in inflation, it was ford who nationalized the “observance of earth day on the march equinox” (he would later go on to establish earth week). here are several excerpts gerald ford in his own green words:
excerpt from ford’s earth day proclamation march 20, 1975
“the earth will continue to regenerate its life sources only as long as we and all the peoples of the world do our part to conserve its natural resources. It is a responsibility which every human being shares. through voluntary action, each of us can join in building a productive land in harmony with nature.”
excerpt from ford’s dedication cnerc speech july 1975. “when the decade of the seventies began, we made the achievement of a cleaner and healthy environment a matter of the highest national priority…and you have my strong personal pledge that this country will remain firmly committed to continuing that progress…i consider this initiative to be one of great national importance…we ask all citizens and groups concerned with the quality of america’s environment to join with us in seeking new ways to preserve it. this is not a federal concern alone. it is the responsibility of every level of government and each individual — all the way from the white house to your house. we all breathe the same air — or smog. and it’s up to us…i stand with those who fight to preserve what is best in our environment”. (for more, click here).
thanks to african american environmentalist association for the following excerpt:
excerpt from annual report of the council on environmental quality february 27, 1976
“we can be proud of the progress we have made in improving the nation’s environmental quality. yet, we must meet additional challenges over the next few years. we must improve our understanding of the effects of pollutants and of the means and costs of reducing pollution. as we develop new energy sources and technologies we must assure that they meet environmental standards. we also must continue the job of cleaning up pollution from existing sources.”
ford’s earth week proclamation april 20, 1976 “…in recent years, we have learned that our past progress was often made without sufficient regard for the long-term consequences to our natural environment. to meet this environmental challenge, we have enacted more than a dozen significant national environmental laws. their results are encouraging…much remains to be done…active interest by all americans is the only force that can translate environmental policy into environmental progress. our environment is the responsibility not only of government and business, but it must also be a matter of daily concern to every american. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, president of the united states of america, do hereby designate the week beginning thursday, april 22, 1976, to wednesday, april 28, 1976, as earth week.” (see the rest here)
update: grist highlights areas where gerald ford’s push for “energy independence” have contributed to higher energy consumption and global warming. in a time interview, ford explains the challenge he faced creating an emissions standard while meeting attempting to meet energy conservation needs. this is further expressed in a 1975 state of the union address:
“in order that we make greater use of domestic coal resources, i am submitting amendments to the energy supply and environmental coordination act which will greatly increase the number of powerplants that can be promptly converted to coal...it is the intent of this administration to move ahead with exploration, leasing, and production…where the environmental risks are acceptable. use of our most abundant domestic resource–coal–is severely limited. we must strike a reasonable compromise on environmental concerns with coal. i am submitting clean air amendments which will allow greater coal use without sacrificing clean air goals.” click here for more.