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tv   QA Historian Douglas Brinkley on Rachel Carson and Environmental Activism...  CSPAN  November 21, 2022 12:38pm-1:38pm EST

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♪ >> douglas brinkley -- >> i wrote a book about video -- theater -- theodore roosevelt and the confirmation and the conservation movement. the second was franklin d roosevelt in the civilian conservation between 1933 and 1a
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planet about -- planted about -- to help us fight and to save the bird fly ways and restock links and ponds and our country was in a bad state in the 1930's and this book is the third wave and this is what we tend to call the environmental movement of the 1960's and 70's and unlike the first two, or you have a president as a real leader of the movement, it turns out it is rachel carson, a writer of something that came out in 1962 that spurred grassroots wilderness advocate and new frontiers people.
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it it was -- a book that influenced the president. we also know kennedy had read guns of august during the cuban missile crisis, so there is another example of kennedy, the reading president and the science president, doing the right thing on behalf of the american people. and in doing such launched an environmental movement, and i
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must add once kennedy was shot in dallas leading political figures that are marketing themselves as an environmental watchdog after kennedy were new frontier people, frank church, the idaho senator, a senator from new mexico, a senator from maine. in the republican party the leader was john salyer who was on the important committees of lead preservation and fought for the natural world harder than everybody. john dingell and john salyer with the top people in congress, and also skip jackson who has a long record in environmental protection. douglas wrote two books during this period. at the same time david brower of the sierra club was market cheering the great photographer in the kennedy years, ansell adams and elia porter, these photographs went all over. full landscape of the mountains of texas, and here is a photograph of a mountain range that has been destroyed. which would you prefer? walt disney was doing documentaries and life adventures in coyotes and wolves >> have an opportunity to visit parks -- and to go to the north
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cascades in washington state which was magnificent and for each one of these books i have written, i got to visit archives at national parks and travel the country and i feel at this point, we have 550 -- and is -- it is a thrill to be an academic professor and to combine that with the american public lands and how this she shores and lecturers and this land is your land and it has been fantastic and i feel as a professional person, these books are going to live on and they are long and i have done it in way where when i
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am long dead, keep -- people can go and not what has transpired and that we can protect places. the deserts of arizona and all sorts of places and she shores i write about like cape cod and massachusetts and maryland and virginia and ireland and georgia and michigan and i write about these in the book and i don't think people realize that there was that big of a movement. to protect places in the short sites of the 1960's and early 70's. host: let's set the change -- stage. explain what is happening in post-world war ii in america and the suburbanization and house --
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how soon it would become evident of the environmental impacts. guest: when i read about rachel carson in born in springdale, pennsylvania, it was dirty and it was polluted and it industrial muck and you couldn't breathe and the allegheny was ruined. she would find fossils and write about nature. it was synonymous with all of our rivers. in the united states, we have treated rivers badly and by the time of the great depression, these rivers were sewer lines and dumping spots. we didn't have a sewage treatment plant like we have today so everything was going into the rivers and lakes and they would die. i write about the potomac river dying and how lake gary was dying and other bodies of water. this becomes a -- things got
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exponentially worse when world war ii happened.
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people would go to buy souvenirs of atomic -- and it is only into the 1950's where people and scientists that i learned about start saying, the spike in lakes of leukemia and cancers became a testing movement of the 1950's that met with the anti-dvt movement because the research came out and ddt was sprayed from planes in world war ii. it was a saver for soldiers in this -- pacific and you and get beaten -- bedding by/>> --bitten by mosquitoes. the ddt movement merged with the wilderness lobby. let's create wilderness like --
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where you can go and pond and fish without having roads or utilities in the scenic view. all of those start eating together --meeting together in the 50's and went -- alaska, and he also the militarized an article and -- demilitarized and arctic. this was bipartisan. she was writing in the 30's and 50's and she went to massachusetts and the top oceanographic senator in the country. she was interested in the migratory routes of eels on their journey and she did a masters in swazi.
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during world war ii, she wrote columns for the baltimore sun about the stocks of america in 1946, she wrote about conservation in action which was the saving of these posts to protect each national real life -- wildlife refuge and she started getting scientific data on how that ddt was -- bad ddt was. and how bad it was for nuclear fallout in all of these are married with -- when john f. kennedy wins. it is the beginning of the environmental movement with kennedy in the -- the white house largely because of his belief in science and he is a great science president. the fact that hetuart
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udall. it is named after him who serve kennedy and johnson and he was open-minded about the idea that -- of racial integration in the park service but was also interested in making sure that the connecting environmental quality of public health to the conservation movement. host: i want to add one other environmental hazard of the era you talked about, the chemicals ddt and being sprayed in the video we have of little kids following behind ddt drugs -- trucks and neighborhood and it looks talking to our eyes in 2020 -- shocking to our eyes in 2022 but it was very common. as the impact of the automobile feel -- you wrote about the impact of the automobile and the federal highway system and let
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it gas and what it did --leaded gas and what it did to the air. >> this isn't far from where rachel carson grew up. the entire town of ayr got inverted in the valley. the whole town got sick and you could make a stephen king movie on it and people died left and right and the whole town of respiratory illness and the you not -- the new yorker magazine ran a series on it and there was a big killer smog in london and u.s. -- new york city had a horrendous one in 1953 so it became a movement for federal clean air and the problem with air, if you are states rights person, it doesn't do good for pennsylvania to have a different loft in new jersey because the
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fed will order the neighboring state so by nature, air demands federal law and the personal -- we were still at doing it -- slow at doing it. things got too bad to do that. in los angeles 1960, you cannot breathe. some places like pasadena and hollywood started protesting, many women against smog. new york city had citizens for clean air alliances and it became very grassroots, only dealt with stationary admissions. it was only trying to monitor a smokestack factory and what the admissions -- in automobiles and unleaded
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gasoline and it was a problem. it was making people sick. you start getting in the 60's in demand to change our automobile habits, including nader rating unsafe at any speed in 1965, which is remembered for promoting safety in cars and going after auto companies on safety issues but it also was an environmental manifesto at heart talking about how automobiles are making people sick. for the as for the interstate highway, eisenhower's big accomplishment, the biggest public works project in history, they built that without a lot of urban planning so they would go role in and destroy in new orleans or cutting through downtown in historic san antonio and ruin its historic and cultural features. across island expressway in the bronx, it devastated neighborhoods. there also became some thinking about
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interstates or at least how do we have a historic movement to preserve our urban areas and name more buildings and communities national historic sites, lady bird johnson becomes famous for this. not just people remembered she didn't want billboards on some roads, she became big in making sure we declared historic districts all through the united states so we don't lose our charm. so we don't become an interstate highway fast food nation. all these things are coming together, but all i can tell listeners is the small problem was real and bad and big time. the good news is we have done a lot better, los angeles and new york you can breathe. but in the period i'm writing about, the 50's and 60's, our air quality in america was terrible. before the spout of federal legislation
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came to fruition. host: to learn a little more about rachel carson, before we do you mentioned stewart udall and he appears throughout your book, silent spring revolution. another character who appears throughout the text, is someone that people might only know from his one role in society and that is as the supreme court justice william o. douglas. what was his role in the environmental movement? guest: i discovered that william douglas is the linchpin to the environmental movement of the 50's and 60's. rachel carson deserves the most credit so to speak because she was a one-woman revolution that change the way of our thinking. rachel carson taught people your child might be getting sick playing in your backyard due to pesticides, chemicals. she questioned -- this is an era where people h car chavez
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out in the san joaquin valley. and out in california and the imperial valley, people were getting sick from these pesticides. mexican americans, children being deformed, cancer rates skyhigh. i get the whole idea of environmental justice is being born, but douglas grew up in yakima washington and he could not walk when he was young. he got eight got a crippling polio like condition, doctors thought he would not walk. he started walking and walking and strengthening his legs and he became one of our country's most intrepid mountain climbers. in fact in 1951 as supreme court justice, he went to the himalayan's and wrote a book about it. about his hiking of the mountains there, but in the u.s. he would take peaks, bag them places like mount adams. in
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and mount baker in the pacific northwest. he became the big -- lover of central oregon and today that whole bend oregon outdoor recreation culture as -- has douglas's fingerprints everywhere you go around there. he went to whitman college in walla walla washington, a small school out there. and then traveled like a hobo woody guthrie style to new york city, became a leading -- at columbia university and went on with his law degree to become a professor of law at columbia. then he got hired by joe kennedy during the great depression for the security exchange commission on wall street dealing with bankruptcies that were being declared. a lot of fraudulent bankruptcies to try to get money. he was busting people. throughout this all he became a fly fisherman extraordinaire, a
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wilderness depot take, his heroes were john mir, cofounder of the sierra club and particularly henry david thoreau. he recognized this was a pre-environmental protection agency era, after world war ii. douglas got deeply alarmed by statistics he was reading about what automobiles were doing to open spaces, about how surplus keeps from world war ii were destroying delicate desert habitats. how species that he cared about, whether it's the florida panther or grizzly bears of the pacific northwest, were being over hunted and poached and decimated. he became a one man sousa band promoting conservation in his first big gambit was hiking at 186 miles from georgetown to cumberland , maryland to save the sea and
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c & o canal. he challenged editors from the washington post to promoting a road of thoroughfare, along with today's canals. it douglas said we are going to save the historic and cultural aesthetic and natural assets along the c and o canal. this light was big, it brought journalists covering it and lo and behold, the c and o canal got saved. you go to the entrance of it in georgetown and you see above the douglas, this only spurred him on and he started going all over the country. just think of martin luther king holding protest, we know that douglas would do hike protests. he would hike along the olympic coast of washington and say no highway, we are going to keep some pristine beach land. without roads. he went to
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arkansas and canoed down the buffalo river demanding no dams, we are going to keep it as a wild and scenic river. which it is. it is our great river today. he went to kentucky and said leave the red river gorge alone, it belongs for the people as a forest and as a parkland. he went to -- main, and saved the watershed. i could go on and on. there are so many douglas events. the point is it worked. each one of these protest he stopped modernity and it is big that he ended up loading those dams. dams were popular with fdr, puget sound and the tennessee authority brought electrification to the south. lyndon johnson earned his spurs as a young congressman and senator on bringing dams to his districts. but we don't see many of them.
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many of them recognized we are killing the salmon runs. we are destroying the colorado river, one of the most beautiful scenic rivers in the world. it is ruined today. douglas could not save the colorado unfortunately. this over damming came in, the showdown spot that got rolling was at a place called dinosaur national monument, coloradut colorado, utah. where a dam was going to be filled. by damming their colorado there it would have inundated and changed the typography of a national monument, which was not legal. there became a -- fight in all these groups, this is where the sierra club of the modern era was born, because david brower the executive director, supreme court justice william douglas, -- the wilderness
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society and others said no and took out full-page ads saying you are not going to ruin dinosaur. if you let that happen at none of the national parks are safe, and they won it. the conservation team won the dam did not ruin dinosaur and not only encouraged, let us just call it the douglas cabal even more. bill douglas even though he was appointed by fdr, loved john f. kennedy, trained bobby kennedy -- he took robert f kennedy the attorney for john f. kennedy, he took him all over hiking. in fact they went to siberia together marching around. douglas had big influence on it what you might call a conservation lobby, and the supreme court office became a clearing station unworried about conflict of interest. i laugh whenever i have to listen to media about clarence thomas's wife, because i know what bill douglas did in the supreme court. he used his desk as a clearinghouse for every green nonprofit. you can send him your
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information and he would find a way to get cbs to do a story on it or he would find a way for john oakes of the new york times to do an op ed on it. douglas was lobbied nonstop with the idea of preserving what he thought was america the beautiful, a country that has a birth right. a wilderness birthrate that should be in the bill of rights that of every american has a right to clean rivers, and clean air. that you had to have some space where you could have solitude in the modern world, that you could not do testing or have airplanes flying over too many residential areas disrupting school kids or the need for solitude in a hyper industrial world. douglas backed rachel carson, she was writing books in the 50's about the
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oceans and a genius trilogy about ocean conservation. douglas not only backed those books he early on seized on silent spring as being a gavel or tool to wake people up to the environmental hazards that were in their backyard. host: let's move onto to the president, starting with john f. kennedy, i have a video clip of him from 1962. i want to use that to get him on the record talking about environmental stuff. let's get this playing. it is about 25 seconds long. >> this appears to be growing concern among scientists that the possibility of dangerous long-range side effects in the use of ddt and other pesticides, have you considered -- or the public health service to take a look at this. >> yes, i know they already are. in particularly -- they are examining the matter.
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host: we have about 30 minutes left of our conversation about 10 minutes for each of these. let me ask you about john f. kennedy, you say that two weeks after taking off he launched his new conservation agenda. he had about 1000 days in office, what was he able to accomplish? guest: i want to talk about that clip in a second, his big thing due to william douglas promoting it, he loved the book by thoreau called cape cod. thoreau wrote a book about cape cod which i recommend to people. he was looking for an issue on conservation, as any politician would be when he was a senator, and he seized on seashore preservation. because everybody was building condos, we are seeing florida built up along the coastline and boardwalk culture, seawalls and the like. he wanted pristine beaches. he focused on cape cod national
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seashore issues. he fought for it and he got it done as president. that is remarkable, if you ever go to cape cod, we owe john f. kennedy for its beauty. he fought for, along with others, but he was the leader. it was neat about -- what was neat about cape cod was towns like provincetown, the park goes all around it. the great dunes got saved in the birdlife got saved in the federal government worked with the audubon society to make sure that that whole area was not ruined from a natural and cultural point of view. kennedy kept hammering away at that, he saved conrado island in texas.
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you think that's an easy one. coastal real estate is hard to save as park lands lyndon johnson wanted it developed to be myrtle beach. kennedy -- and these new frontier conservation is said -- we are go save a big part of taxes and today it is a national seashore. a major place for see turtles to hatch and go experience golf ecosystems without too much human interference. and then in point reyes california, marin county north of the golden gate bridge, some of the most expensive real estate in the planet, has been put aside for the natural world. for all our children and children's children to enjoy. right off the bat i am giving you three of the big kennedy seashores, kennedy put into work a whole idea of saving others. with the kennedy johnson effect on seashores like fire island, new york. it got saved by lyndon johnson
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but it was kennedy's impetus. as i mentioned earlier, the beautiful islands in wisconsin, if you have not been go. it is so remarkable. the other thing that kennedy did is he started honing in, that rachel carson book, and he put a presidential science committee together. the big thing is that he said carson is telling the truth. here is where there was a problem. beyond people getting cancer which is big enough, a woman named marjorie spock, she was an who organic farmer from long island. and at her farm they were spraying over the croplands and she was saying i am -- cannot have pesticide from this. i am in organic farmer. you are poisoning my life, and she went to the supreme court and lost. they were being done by the department of agriculture, the county on long island, new york state, but the
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issue was, -- when you have an organic farmer, who has the right to go to someone's land and spray chemicals? she loses, and as i mentioned the kennedys were very close to bill douglas, and when kennedy said that clip at the press conference, he did put the best presidential science commission together and said rachel carson's work is correct. the science is right. it is going to make wildlife and fish stocks ill and has the potential to really harm humans. there became an effort to ban ddt, and it ate up an entire decade from 1962 until 1972 when the first head of the epa bans ddt in america. it became a bipartisan issue. kennedy had
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the nerve to back rachel carson, and it is like abraham lincoln and uncle tom's cabin or theodore roosevelt with his book 'the jungle' about the meatpacking industries. it was a book that influenced the president. we also note kennedy had read guns of august during the cuban missile crisis, so there is another example of kennedy, the reading president and the science president, doing the right thing on behalf of the american people. and in doing such launched an environmental movement, and i must add once kennedy was shot in dallas leading political figures that are marketing themselves as an environmental watchdog after kennedy were frontiers people. it was frank church, at the idaho senator, a senator from new mexico, a senator from maine. in the republican party the leader was john salyer who
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was on all the important committees of lead preservation and fought for the natural world harder than anybody. john dingell and john salyer with the top people in congress, and also -- scoop jackson who has a long record in environmental protection. but it was a kennedy effect that brought all these people together. -- at the same time david brower of the sierra club was market cheering the great photographer in the kennedy years, ansell adams and elia porter, these
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photographs went all over. owing everyone the beautiful landscape of the guadalupe mountains in texas. and then a photograph of a mountain range that is been destroyed. which would you prefer? walt disney was doing documentaries and life adventures portraying coyotes and wolves as charismatic creatures. and not just a nuisance to be killed by farmers. so this starts being galvanized dung the candidate years, and the leading light during johf. kennedy's presidency was robert frost, the great poet who read it kennedy's inaugural. frost's poetry i a profound effect on john f. kennedy. he was frost's biggest reader and lover, and kennedy made his whole campaign
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on frost with promises kept and rose kennedy loved throw so much that she went to russia to do a secret cia style mission to make sure henry david thoreau's books were being carried in russian libraries. host: let's pick up with lbj when he takes over the office in november 1963. everyone probably associates the great society program with lbj, you write that he adopted the new conservation program is a natural adjunct to it. you write of lbj he gave conservation a higher priority than any other president since theodore roosevelt. what did he do? guest: douglas "doug" brinkley talk about an underplayed story in our nation's history, lyndon johnson and coertion. the first thing he did was mary lady
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bird, and she grew up in east texas around the big ticket -- thicket area. louisiana border and became love with the flora and fauna of that incredible lake region. gorgeous there, and don henley and the eagles. the band. is working hard to preserve that area right now but she saved our -- we have lady bird johnson, national wildlife center at the university of texas. his wife love this. and then he kept udall kennedys secretary. and then johnson said let's go for it. really good rangers of the midwest or some of the best land stewards there are. we sometimes think of cowboys as
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being slaughterhouses or shooting off guns, many of them do a beautiful job of land repairing and fixing and proper stewardship and lyndon was one of them. he got really big on finishing kennedy's wilderness act, and johnsonig it in 1964. it puts 9.1 million acres this is a big deal. it puts 9.1 million acres in america that says no roads are allowed to be built, it will just be safe habitat and humans have to hike in or hike out, but no motorcycles, dune buggies, local trucks or porta potty's. it is just wilderness. i give and that has grown today. i give lyndon full credit for that. he pushed it through and perhaps others would not. after
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. johnson then after that success he starts adopting the idea of why do we need these dams all the time? he also promoted wild and scenic river movement, taking big parts of our gorgeous rivers. oregon today as so many, and alaska, rivers that are going to be able to stay in a more pristine condition and not be polluted. but both of those the wild and scenic rivers, -- but more than that lady bird as i mentioned with the campaign, she would go with udall to big bend national park and go down the rio grande river on a raft trip to promote outdoor recreation. both johnson's lyndon and lady bird fought tooth and nail to
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save the great redwood kingdom of california. eventually giving us redwood national park. the north cascades, probably now my favorite area of the country in washington state from a wilderness perspective, they saved all of that. it is spectacular they are. and books -- i have written about jack kerouac. it became a revolution of young people wanting to hike and camp. and johnson folded into all of that. there were environmental laws and policies one after the other. if you go to the johnson library in austin, i recommend everyone go visit that library. you see walls of signing dense, many of these were things we do not talk about a lot, but that is about regulating industry, and making sure that our country sides are safe, and johnson even promoted parks near cities in ways that we could make sure
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outdoor recreation was not just for elite or people like myself that can go to a trailer in yosemite. but that there would be agreements and recreation areas in people' his backyard. lyndon johnson was phenomenal, and act in act by act what he did for my profession and brian lamb and you do for a living, looking at the history of our country, the ability to say forms of former presidents. i was writing a book, how touching carl sandberg was adopted by lyndon johnson in and lady bird. they saved carl sandberg's home in north carolina. efforts -- in working, the talent that lbj had working with him, they brought in a pulitzer
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prize-winning novelist and one of the great writers in american history working in government for the great society. lyndon johnson brought john steinbeck in, who knew so much about the natural world. he worked with ed ricketts, wrote about the topography of california. johnson did more than people realize. the problem was the vietnam war hung over him, and he made the mistake of keeping the term conservation in his great society speech in ann arbor. if he was called new environmentalism he would be called today -- environmentalism does not get done until 1968, 1969 and at that point johnson
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is leaving. one of the last things well say, before he left office he also did our national trail system. lyndon johnson saved the appalachian trail, the pacific crest trail. whether it is for the oregon trail or the nez pierce, it is lbj. it is only really theodore roosevelt that exceeds their conservation legacy. fdr was also involved too. host: we do have a clip, this is an audio clip 50 seconds long . great society speech in ann arbor, michigan, 1964. >>we have always p ourselves on being not only america, strong and america the free, but americbeautiful. today that beauty is in danger.
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the water we drink, the food w eat, the very air that we breathe are threatened with pollution. oks are overcrowded, our seashores overburdened. green fields and forests are disappearing. a few years ago we were greatly concerned about th american. today we must act to prevent an ugly america. show . host: that is lbj in 1964. we have just a little over 50 minutes, so let's move on to richard nixon. his record is interesting, you write the press was baffled as to help richard nixon became a rough liner of environmental activism. what were you saying there? guest: nixon when he had to
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leave the white house he voted the speech of theodore roosevelt, the man in the arena. i always knew that nixon admired theodore roosevelt probably with winston churchill, his great hero. what i did not realize is he had conservation streak in him. in california and politics , to navigate politics of the 1960's you have to be an environmentalist, but a lot of what the republicans in california lived on the ocean, beautiful homes towns such as carmel or santa barbara or laguna beach, and republicans wanted to make sure, it was a movement of wealthy republicans. not in my back yard are you building and atomic land or an
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interstate where i have to hear traffic. so nixon was going to that constituency. when he read again he did not have any idea of modern environmentalism. he did not like the sierra club because for example in california because he saw them as a democratic outfit, but he did know a man named john ehrlichman in seattle. nixon had gone all over the seattle area. ended up john ehrlichman ended up being the top water and lead mayor in seattle. and what he did was shut down and aluminum plant in seattle. the environmentalism of not in my back yard the communities that did not want industrial debris anywhere near their
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school their kids are going to, and he won a lot of the cases, and nixon liked being on water. he lived obviously most of his presidency was spent at san clemente, so it 68 he had an environmental advisor and he picked ehrlichman. he became the domestic advisor for nixon, and ehrlichman is what i call in the book, because that is what all of the people like william o douglas or david brower call it a covert green. goldman got the environmental movement, he was part of the seattle people. we often think of berkeley or san francisco as the hotspot of environmentalism. i would say seattle and down to portland was the place that triggered things in the 1960's and 1970's. makes anyway, nixon basically told
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ehrlichman i will sign something i want to be an environmental president, but i do not want anybody that i do not like getting credit. he hated the senator from maine. he despises muskey in a way that i cannot tell you, it is so deep. he liked the democratic senator from washington, so as long as the environmental legislation was being cobbled together from scoots outfit makes it was willing to do bipartisan work on the environment as long as muskey did not get credit. jackson never turned on nixon on the vietnam war and cambodia and laos. muskey became anti-vietnam war and the senator from wisconsin, senator of south dakota, eugene mccarthy, -- he loved them all.
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ehrlichman liked scoop, they knew each other from seattle. things are getting done on nixon's watch, but the big thing for nixon, he is president just days, and the santa barbara oil spill happens. host: how big was it? guest: it was an atrocity in early 1969, dead birds on the beach, or find lexis. he goes out there and he regulates properly on how are we going to regulate offshore oil drilling. the cuyahoga river catches fire, is on time magazine, and by the fall of 1969 earth day is being flooded by walter luther. the head of united automobile workers. in the senator of wisconsin. and nixon wants one of the action, and january 1, 1970
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nixon signs the national environmental policy act, which gives our country environmental impact statements. we can build anything we want to build, it was a revolution. nixon gave the deserves credit for it. nixon gave the best date of the union on the environment and anybody of american history even up until now in january of 1970. a couple of months later it was the first birthday. nixon was suspicious it was -- a rusty idea, but they're planted a tree at the white house. that summer of 1970 with a lot of the media pushing for more on the environment he creates the environmental protection agency. which opened stores in december 1970. and at the same time nixon created noaa and put that in our
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commerce department, so you are starting to build an environmental infrastructure we are living with today under nixon. host: i have a clip of the state of union address in 1960 and we can hear from nixon on the environment. >> restoring this natural state is a climbed beyond party detection. it has become a common cause of all of the people of this country. it is a cause of particular concern to young americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs, which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster air. later. clean air clean water, open , spaces. they should once again the birthright of every american. if we act out, we can. we think of air is free, but clean air is not free, and
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neither is clean water. the price tag of pollution control is high. through years of carelessness we have incurred a detonator. and that is now being called. host: in our winning minutes i would like to use one more clip and that is to get the voice and image of rachel carson into a conversation as a way of wrapping up this discussion. here she is from the cvs special about her work in 1963. >>we have to remember the children born today are exposed to these chemicals from birth, perhaps even before birth. know what is going to happen to them in adult life as a result of that exposure? we simply do not know because never before have we had this issue. host: that was one woman who was
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a government employee and author of a book that you say change the direction of environmental policy. what is the message of the silent spring revolution? guest: united states products of the modern world that seem great any laboratory but not really invented properly. -- embedded properly. rachel carson -- we were seeing pictures of the blue green marble out there. there are no borderlines from space. we have to take care of our planet. everybody was talking about a shot, but what about earth shot? the earth shot was 1970. everybody pitched in. marvin gaye with the song mercy
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me. pete seeger stopping edison from building an electric plant at the most beautiful spot of the hudson. the banning of -- they were building a specific atomic plant , a nuclear campus near the san andreas fault line that got stopped by grassroots activists. the endangered species act of 1973 passed the senate -- the senate 92-0. russell train, who helped to fund the world life -- the world wildlife fund.
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we have to think today, always. why can't we swim in our rate? why do our fish have to be worried about getting mercury poisoning? these are the questions. the symbol of america, eagles near extinct, the osprey going extinct, alligators. i put in the book the list of all the species our country actively did something. i am grateful to that generation that we did get environmental. we did get an endangered species act. a clean air act in 1970 made a difference. we had a clean water act in 1972.
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this silent spring generation, there were a lot of people. three presidents were responsive to the present -- to the public. kennedy, johnson and nixon were all truly great environmental presidents. host: how does it people you are teaching today? guest: very well. i did not have to pad their resume. not because they are women but because they are giants of comfort -- conservation. nobody has written more beautiful books then carson has done. nobody has campaigned for the beautification or the green
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spaces and outdoor recreation more astutely than lady bird johnson. i always thought eleanor roosevelt was in a league of her own. these strong women figures are encouraging women to be part of the movement. also, the environmental justice. it is about martin luther king jr. saying, what good does it do if the milk we are drinking is contaminated from a nuclear fallout in nevada? you could put up an hour of protesting nuclear testing. the big thing that was accomplished from kennedy is that kennedy got it and did it and he banned nuclear testing.
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that was an epic achievement. today, he is not allowed to do atmospheric testing. china has refrained from it. kennedy did a great deal of ecological sanity. that was his fight. kennedy's greatest accomplishments. he saw it as a massive dimension of earth's stewardship and made sure people could have clean air, clean water, and not live with foodstuffs being contaminated, with chemical fallout, with meadows dying due to contaminants of the modern industrial chemical complex. host: douglas binkley joins us from new york as he begins his publicity and conversations
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about his latest book. silent spring revolution, john f. kennedy, rachel carson, lyndon b. johnson, richard nixon and the great environmental awakening. thank you for giving c-span another hour of your scholarship today. guest: c-span is part of my life, as you know. thank you for watching me today with this. i really appreciate this. it is the only forum where somebody like myself can get an hour on a publication date for a book that i've been working on for a decade. host: we appreciate it. our viewers will as well. ♪ >> all q programs are available on our website, or as a podcast on our c-span now at -- app. >> tonight we will show you
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remarks by former new jersey governor chris chris and former u.s. ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley. you can watch the remarks at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. you can also watch on c-span now , the free mobile video app or on >> several years ago, i remember watching. i was sitting in my wheelchair. without pulling it and locking it in place, watched it roll up. it crashed down to the ground. i have to tell you that every time my wheelchair is brought out of the cargo hold, it is damaged -- my wheelchair is basically my legs.
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>> testifying behind -- before a subcommittee. watch tonight beginning at 9:30 eastern on c-span, c-span now, our free mobile video app, or online at fridays at 8:00 p.m. eastern, c-span brings you afterwards for book tv from a program where others are interviewed by journalists, legislators, and more on their latest books. this week, dallas maveris ceo shares her memoir, you have been chosen come about her life and career. she is interviewed by michael of the washington post. watch afterward at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> there are a lot of places to get political informatio


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