Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Receiving the Boy Scouts' Annual Report to the Nation.

February 05, 1970

I PARTICULARLY appreciate this Report to the Nation to the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts and the emphasis that the report has made on the work that Scouts will do in the field of the environment.

Our young people have an enormous interest in 'the environment and Scouts have had from the time of their foundation because they know of the natural beauty of this country, and they want to preserve it--preserve it for their children and for all the generations to come.

I think that the emphasis that you place is particularly appropriate because there is a tendency sometimes when we talk about the environment to blame the other fellow, to say, "Well, why doesn't the Government do something to clean this up?" And the Government has to do some things. We are going to be talking about those things on a trip to Indiana and Illinois today. And others say, "Why doesn't industry do something to clean up the environment? Industry is polluting the waters and the air and so forth." And industry has to do a lot, too, in order to clean up the environment.

But as I pointed out in the State of the Union speech, most of us spend about 80 percent of our time in what is basically a personal environment where we are responsible, in our homes, in our offices if we are of working age, or on the streets, in the parks, and so forth.

I think that if the 5 million Scouts, as an individual example, can give leadership to the whole Nation with regard to doing everything individually that he can do to leave every place he goes a little bit cleaner, a little bit better for the people who follow him, that this will help us enormously on this attack on the problems of the environment, because this is a struggle that must be waged and won on many fronts.

You can't just say Government is going to do it or industry is going to do it. Every individual has to enlist if we are going to make the environment of this country what we want it to be and what I want all the Scouts in the future to find in the years ahead. So thank you very much.

Incidentally, speaking of the environment, there is a Rose Garden out here with no roses in it at the moment, but there will be later. We are going to take off by helicopter for the airport. And some of you might like to go out and see the takeoff. We can't take you along; there is not enough room.

Note: The President spoke at 10:43 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Irving J. Feist, president of the Boy Scouts of America, introduced a group of Scouts who presented the report and emblems of Scouting to the President. The occasion launched the 60th anniversary celebration of Scouting in America.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Receiving the Boy Scouts' Annual Report to the Nation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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