Lady Bird Johnson

Today, December 22, is the centenary of the birth of environmental advocate, businesswoman, and former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson (Claudia Alta Taylor).

Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis).  Public domain hoto by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)

While her husband was president, she created a First Lady’s Committee for a More Beautiful Capital and then expanded its efforts with successful support for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.

In 1982, Johnson and actress Helen Hayes created an organization to protect the native plants and natural landscapes of North America.  It became the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

Some of her words:

“Though the word ‘beautification’ makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas. To me…beautification means our total concern for the physical and human quality we pass on to our children and the future.”

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”

You can listen to an interview about Lady Bird Johnson, An Oral History on “The Diane Rehm Show” at the link on the sidebar under “Today’s Quote.”  Adrian Higgins of The Washington Post wrote a tribute to her in October, here.

Public domain photo above by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.