Asher Price over at the Austin American-Statesman calls us out for not mentioning that Lady Bird Johnson passed away last week. The former First Lady (what did she go by, anyway? “Lady”? “Bird”? “LB”?) was a staunch environmentalist, even though she rejected the term. She was the major driving force in the more than 200 environment-related bills that her husband passed while in office, including the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, the Wilderness Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers program.

We got a letter from a reader about our neglect, too, that shares some of the other great conservation and environment work she did in her 94 years:

Dear Grist,

I read regularly but was disappointed today that there was no mention of the death of Lady Bird Johnson. Perhaps her environmental efforts have fallen off the charts of current issues regarding global warming and other green topics. However, she may be the most influential and effective First Lady ever in regards to the environment. Known primarily for highway beautification and wildflowers, she was also instrumental in preservation of Redwood trees in California, prevention of the damming of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, designation of Point Reyes National Park, and many other environmental and conservation victories. Locally, in Austin, she was instrumental in the development of Town Lake Park’s hike and bike trails, a rather nice example of an urban park and green space, in addition to founding the National Wildflower Research Center that bears her name.

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I realize that Texas isn’t exactly the hotbed of current environmental progressiveness, but we do have a few folks who have made a difference. Grist would do well to make mention of her legacy.


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Don Alexander
Leander, Texas