What was he championing? What was the problem?
Which environmental issue did President Kennedy champion?
President Kennedy commissioned a report of the effects of pesticides on health and the environment ("The Use of Pesticides" by the President's Science Advisory Committee). The report laid a foundation for the Environmental Protections Agency.
Bonus fun fact: President Kennedy noted that his interest in this environmental issue was influenced by the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
In 1963, in direct response to the public concern aroused by Silent Spring , President Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee recommended a reduction of DDT use with a view to its total elimination as quickly as possible, along with other “hard” pesticides. Soon thereafter Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall issued an order banning the use of DDT on Interior-controlled lands “when other chemicals can do the job.” Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, and other states began to move toward state prohibitions of DDT. Finally, in November of 1969, acting on the recommendation of a special study commission on pesticides, Robert H. Finch, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, announced that the federal government would “phase out” all but “essential uses” of DDT within two years.