sealLifestyles Briefs

April 1997

Who was the 'Environmental President'?

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- George Bush said he wanted to be known as the environmental president. Bill Clinton says the title will go to him. So who holds the honor so far?

"Most people guess Teddy Roosevelt," says Steve Lovejoy, a natural resources analyst and professor in Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Economics. "They're not far wrong. Roosevelt set aside some of the more pristine and unique landscapes in the country as the basis for our National Park system. But he was more of a preservationist than an environmentalist, and he had little sense of industry and people in harmony with the environment.

"The real environmental president was Richard Milhous Nixon."

Lovejoy, a former senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency during Ronald Reagan's tenure, explains his reasoning this way:

Nixon presided over the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, helped set national ambient air standards in the Clean Air Act of 1970, and supported and signed the 1972 amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act (which served as the first setting of technology standards for pollution abatement). Nixon also implemented the National Environmental Policy Act in 1972, which led to the development of the process known as Environmental Impact Statements to investigate the ecological impacts of major federal actions. The Nixon administration worked for the passage of the first comprehensive pesticide legislation with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in 1972. His administration also encouraged states to develop state agencies to work with the federal EPA (in Indiana that became the Indiana Department of Environmental Management).

"If your criteria for environmentalist includes not only protecting but improving the general environment, Nixon wins," Lovejoy says.

He says he isn't attempting to help reconstruct Nixon -- who resigned his office on Aug. 9, 1975, because of the Watergate scandal -- but simply giving credit where credit is due. "Nixon probably was less an environmentalist than a rather good politician who saw these activities as giving the people what they wanted -- positive steps toward improving the environment," Lovejoy says. "But in terms of what he accomplished rather than promised, Nixon's administration was the one that should be known as the Environmental Presidency, because he did more in protecting and enhancing the environment than any president in U.S. history."

CONTACT: Lovejoy, (765) 494-4245; e-mail,

Scientists paved the way for Earth Day

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- "Flower children" and "tree huggers" get a lot of the credit for starting our modern environmental movement. However, a Purdue University sociologist says scientists were promoting concern for the environment long before the first Earth Day in 1970.

"As early as 1961, scientists joined together in a call for increased research on environmental problems," says Harry Potter, associate professor of sociology. "Throughout the 1960s, a substantial number of scientists from several disciplines recognized the potential threats of air, water and land pollution."

Marine biologist Rachel Carson wrote the popular book "Silent Spring" in 1962 about the dangers of DDT and other pesticides and chemicals. "She was certainly not alone among the scientific ranks in expressing concerns about the environment, although her book has received more popular attention than the others," Potter says.

He also points to scientific reports throughout the 1960s such as "100 Problems in Environmental Health," published in 1961 and "Restoring the Quality of our Environment," a 1965 report from the Pollution Panel of the President's Science Advisory Committee.

"Increasing public concern starting late in the 1960s may have been an intended outcome of these reports," Potter says. "There's actually limited evidence of public concern for the environment prior to April 22, 1970."

Potter says many sociologists consider the first Earth Day, with its broad demonstration of national concern for the environment, as the start of the environmental movement.

"Major environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society, can take some of the credit for raising public opinion on the matter," he says. "However, scientists should also be acknowledged for having the foresight to promote study and research of environmental problems, before they were popular concerns."

CONTACT: Potter, (765), 494-4712; e-mail:

Entrepreneurial competitions offer 'real-life' experience

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: B-roll of the Burton Morgan competition is available. Contact Grady Jones, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2079; e-mail,

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Business owners of tomorrow are getting their first crack at entrepreneurship through college competitions.

For instance, a plan to let health-conscious grocery shoppers create custom breakfast cereals won Purdue University's 10th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition.

The winning plan, "YourWay Cereals," earned a first prize of $4,000 for Edward Maurer, a master's student in the Krannert Graduate School of Management from Latrobe, Pa. His plan used a bulk food stand containing cereal flakes, fruit and nuts. Consumers could select their own preferred combination of flakes, fruit and nuts to design their own cereals.

The winning entry was selected by a panel of judges after 25-minute oral presentations from 10 finalists. The contest was open to all Purdue students.

The yearly competition is sponsored by Purdue alumnus Burton D. Morgan, founder of six corporations and president of Basic Service Co., an idea-development company. The competition is designed to develop student appreciation of the free market system and the role of the entrepreneur in a market economy.

Students must develop plans that include everything necessary to start and maintain a small business. Marketing plans and strategies, manufacturing designs and processes, industry analysis, and financial considerations are just a few of the areas judges focus on.

Purdue is not alone in the encouragement and development of tomorrow's entrepreneurs. Arnold C. Cooper, the Louis A. Weil Jr. Professor of Management in the School of Management, says entrepreneurship is a hot topic in today's business schools.

"Enrollment in entrepreneurship courses is burgeoning all over the country," he says. "Several universities have developed centers and designed entire curriculums around the subject."

He says interuniversity competitions also are growing in popularity. Last year's winners of Purdue's Burton Morgan competition, David M. Bean, Danvers, Mass ., and Joseph C. Schroeder, Cincinnati, won a business plan contest sponsored by Indiana University in January and plan to compete against 25 teams in a regional contest at the University of Nebraska this month. The two graduate students developed a medical syringe with safety features that protect health workers from needle sticks and makes the needle good for one use only. In May, Bean and Schroeder will compete in a competition at the University of Texas that involves teams from around the world. The students are currently trying to license their product.

CONTACTS: Tamyra Gibson, public relations, School of Management, (765) 494-4392; Cooper, (765) 494-4401.

Compiled by Beth Forbes, (765) 494-9723;e-mail;
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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