Two Republican Presidents – Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon – are the greenest Presidents. That’s according to a survey conduct by Corporate Knights, a Canadian magazine that reports on what it calls“clean capitalism.”
To determine the greenest Presidents, Corporate Knights surveyed twelve environmental groups.
President Theodore Roosevelt was “overwhelmingly” selected as the greenest president for “making conservation of the country’s natural resources a cornerstone of his policy.”
Richard Nixon came in second in the balloting.
Nixon signed the Environmental Protection Agency and several other seminal pieces of legislation into law.
Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, came in third.
Theodore Roosevelt IV, a managing director at Barclays Capital and the great-grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, told Corporate Knights that “conservative environmentalist is not an oxymoron.”
“The records of my great grandfather and Richard Nixon show the GOP is also the ‘Green Old Party.’ Reconnecting with these roots is crucial, not only to honor our covenant with future generations, but for our relevance as a political force.”
Twelve individuals led their respective group’s participation in the survey – Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, Carter Roberts, CEO of WWF-US, Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. Robert Engelman, president of the Worldwatch Institute, Erich Pica, president of Friends of Earth, Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Van Jones, president of Rebuild the Dream, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, Joe Romm, publisher of Climate Progress, and Ralph Nader, founder of Public Citizen.
At a press conference at the National Press Club to release the results, Nader said that Roosevelt was a transformational leader and that transformational leadership is sorely missing today.
“Teddy Roosevelt was an imperialist,” Nader said. “Today we would call him a war monger. But he developed a love for the wilderness. He hiked wilderness areas. As President, he was opposed by the mining companies, the timber companies, and by Native American groups who were wary about how much acreage he was taking out.”
“But he was a transformational leader – not a transactional leader,” Nader said. “We have had very few transformational leaders. He didn’t wait for opinion polls. He didn’t wait for marches and demonstrations. He believed in posterity.”
“And there is a lesson in Roosevelt for today,” Nader said. “Yes it’s good to experience the outdoors. But you have to have a sense of posterity and to be a transformational leader.”