THEGREENGROK    Statistically Speaking

Statistically Speaking – Inaugurals and the Environment

by Bill Chameides | January 20th, 2009
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 1 comment


Only a handful of presidents have nodded to the environment in their inaugurals. Find out who, and give us your thoughts on Obama’s speech and the impact you think his presidency might have on the environment.

In today’s inaugural address, President Barack Obama declared, “We will harness the sun and the winds and the soils to fuel our cars and run our factories.” Later, he spoke of “roll[ing] back the spectre of a warming planet.” To mark today’s historic inauguration, we peek back at history to see whose inaugurals invoked the environment. It turns out, the environment is a bipartisan issue.

Number of U.S. inaugurals that have included the word “environment”: 5

Number of times Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush intoned the word “environment” in their inaugural speeches: 0

Number of times Jimmy Carter spoke of preserving “our natural beauty”: 1

Number of U.S. presidents who intoned the word “environment” to mean the country’s natural beauty and resources: 2*

First year “environment” referring to nature was used in an inaugural: 1969

Number of inaugural addresses in which Richard Nixon mentioned the environment: 2

Number of inaugural addresses in which Bill Clinton mentioned the environment: 2


Read what the presidents actually said about the environment here.


*Benjamin Harrison used the word “environment” to mean general surroundings and conditions.


Sources –

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1 Comment

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    Jan 29, 2009

    I was especially struck by how far we have to go, as I walked away from the inauguration, simultaneously recalling those words as I observed everywhere, the small mountains of garbage and trash, left behind by this crowd dominated by others whom I assumed think like me and whom also appreciated a president making such statements re. the environment! What little trash I created, I carried out in my pockets.

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