It’s Presidents’ Day here in the US of A. While the official federal holiday remains George Washington’s Birthday, it has become a day to remember all those whom have led our nation—including those who paved the way for sustainable living.
President Jimmy Carter, for example; he was the first to install solar panels on the White House (June 20, 1979, if you’d care to know the specifics).
The thirty-two solar panels were used to heat water. As Carter explained in his dedication speech, “In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy [. . . ] A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”
Sadly, those solar panels went the way of the museum, despite the fact they were still working.
And let’s not forget President Woodrow Wilson. He was one of the first to own and drive an electric car while president* (First Lady Edith Wilson is believed to be the first woman in Washington to purchase, and subsequently drive, an electric car).
Even Wilson’s Secret Service drove electric cars: Milburn Light Electrics, to be specific. This 1921 Milburn Light will give you an idea of what it was like to drive an electric car back in the day . . .
Take a look at those jump seats!
We’ve come a long way. We still have a ways to go. So here’s to continuing their lead. Here’s to being determined to boast even a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken.
*The first being President William Taft. A car enthusiast, he owned many cars—including a Baker Electric.