Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, once said, "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."
Those words ring even more true this December, 45 years after she spoke them, as tax battles divide Washington, DC, and after a hotly contested presidential election divided the entire country into a sea of reds and blues. Recent polls show that, regardless of political beliefs, Americans regard the conservation of nature as their civic duty, and 74 percent are opposed to cuts in nature-conservation funding.
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If you fall into that camp, you can pass your opinions on with your holiday cards. In honor of Lady Bird Johnson's 100th birthday, the U.S. Postal Service is releasing five new stamps that pay homage to her environmental conservation efforts. "She believed we had a responsibility to our environment to restore what had been damaged—and to remember what had been neglected," said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr. at an event commemorating the collectible stamps.
Though she's best known for her efforts to plant wildflowers along the nation's highways—it's thanks to her that federal law requires a small percentage of highway landscaping budgets be devoted to planting native flowers, plants, and trees—Mrs. Johnson worked tirelessly to clean up blighted urban areas. She organized efforts to clean up trash, control vermin, and landscape some of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation's capitol, firm in her conviction that doing so would lead to cleaner air and water and less crime.
The five commemorative stamps are reproductions of stamps released during the 1960s that encouraged people to get involved in beautification efforts at the local level. At the time, the first lady was sponsoring a campaign called "Plant for a More Beautiful America." The various stamps feature her campaign slogans, such as "Plant for More Beautiful Parks" and "Plant for More Beautiful Streets," and feature drawings of some of the flowers she planted most during her lifetime: daffodils, cherry blossoms, azaleas, white tulips, and yellow and blue wildflowers.
The stamps are being sold in physical post offices in Texas and the District of Columbia metro area and online at usps.com/stamps.