President Jimmy Carter may not be known for much, but back in 1979, he actually did something unheard of and extremely progressive — he had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. President Carter took the first and most important initiative to green the White House, and its one that other presidents and first families have slowly begun to follow.
President Clinton, with trusty environmentalist Al Gore at his side, announced the “Greening of the White House Initiative” on Earth Day 1993. The pair made aggressive plans to improve the energy efficiency of the White House by reducing waste and energy use, and using renewable resources wherever possible. Even George W. “There’s no such thing as global warming” Bush and his family made green improvements around the property: installation of compact fluorescent lights, energy-efficient cooling units, solar heating, low-flow faucets and toilets and outdoor energy-efficient lighting.
So, surely then, our newest and most progressive president will not only pick up where the Bush’s left off, but pick up the pace a bit as well. President Obama recently told Barbara Walters he has serious plans to green the White House. First things first, he plans an energy efficiency evaluation of the 55,000 square foot mansion. A good start for our new president, who called out the environment during his acceptance speech: “I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.”
But unfortunately, the buck stops with the Barbara Walters interview. Hours of research on what’s going on to green the White House, and I still have nothing concrete to report. But if you would like to know what color scheme the Lincoln Bedroom will now boast or which paintings will don which hallways, I’ve totally got you covered. Either greening the White House just isn’t sexy enough to be reported, or it’s fallen low on the new president’s list of priorities.
If that’s the case, I think we can all agree that the man and his family have a lot on their plates right now. And really, we have to keep that in perspective. Our new American president has the most environmentally focused platform in well, the history of all time really. While our dwindling economy is on the forefront of his current agenda, Obama’s new stimulus plan creates millions of green jobs to bolster both the environment as well as the US economy.
We may have to sit tight a while to hear what improvements are being made around Obama’s new home, but I feel pretty confident our larger home is going to be more looked after now. I’m not saying we should stop fighting for the changes we know need to be made, but I am saying, gees, we’ve finally got someone in office who believes in a little thing called global warming. That sure was a long eight years.
*image from Huffington Post
- Going Green AGAIN: It’s Time to Act
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- A Conservative’s Hope for Obama
- 13 Corporate Giants in the Green Revolution
- Obama: Maybe He Can
© 2009, Sarah Toler. All rights reserved.