It’s Earth Day. President Biden is hosting a climate change summit today. That made me think of the environmental First Lady, Claudia Taylor Johnson, better known as Lady Bird. Bird is perhaps our most underrated First Lady, she did a lot of good things but the Other LBJ’s aides insisted on “ladying-up” her efforts:
In her East Wing policy shop, Lady Bird began to build a portfolio of environmental policies, working with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. She brought Jane Jacobs to the White House, and conferred with other urban planners and environmental thinkers. But forswearing potentially polarizing talk of urban renewal and land stewardship, Lady Bird spoke of “beautification,” though she had mixed feelings about the word. “I’ll never forgive Lyndon’s boys for turning my environmental agenda into a beautification project,” she said. “But I went ahead and talked about wildflowers so as not to scare anybody, because I knew if the people came to love wildflowers they’d have to eventually care about the land that grew ’em.”
Whatever works, Bird, whatever works.
The last word goes to Tom Petty: