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Monday, April 11, 2016

Strategic CSR - LBJ

The article in the url below indicates how long we have known about the potential dangers of climate change and, as a result, how long we have delayed doing much about it. The article (published in February) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first time a U.S. president highlighted the potential environmental risks of excessive carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere:
"President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in a February 8, 1965 special message to Congress warned about build-up of the invisible air pollutant that scientists recognize today as the primary contributor to global warming."
To quote LBJ in his address to Congress:
"'Air pollution is no longer confined to isolated places,' said Johnson less than three weeks after his 1965 inauguration. 'This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.'"
The warning, however, was followed-up by action:
"The speech mainly focused on all-too-visible pollution of land and waterways, including roadside auto graveyards, strip mine sites, and soot pollution that had marred even the White House. Within the year, Johnson would sign six new environmental laws during a period better remembered for the strife that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Johnson also that year established a dozen new national monuments, historic sites, and recreation areas; and submitted a draft nuclear non-proliferation treaty to the United Nations."
It is amazing to think that, in many ways, we have regressed in the subsequent 50 years and that LBJ would be the voice of progressiveness on this issue at such an early time:
"Beauty is not an easy thing to measure. It does not show up in the gross national product, in a weekly pay check, or in profit and loss statements. But these things are not ends in themselves. They are a road to satisfaction and pleasure and the good life. Beauty makes its own direct contribution to these final ends. Therefore it is one of the most important components of our true national income, not to be left out simply because statisticians cannot calculate its worth."
A complete transcript of the speech is available in the archives of LBJ's presidential library:
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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A 50th anniversary few remember: LBJ's warning on carbon dioxide
By Marianne Lavelle
February 2, 2016
The Daily Climate