7 Environmentalists Inspiring Climate Action
It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.
Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Gail Bradbrook addresses the audience at the Marble Arch Extinction Rebellion camp. Several roads were blocked across four sites in central London, by the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests, April 2019.
Phil Clarke Hill / In Pictures / Getty Images
Molecular biophysicist Gail Bradbrook is the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion (XR). She's been referred to as the "Godmother" of this international environmental movement "that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimize the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse." Bradbrook first co-founded the group Rising Up!, which then progressed and became XR.
For more insight into what Bradbrook's all about, check out these articles below:
The Global Extinction Rebellion Begins, Truthout.
Greta Thunberg, outside the Swedish parliament.
Anders Hellberg / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0
Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has inspired an entire generation of kids to participate in her "Fridays for Future" protest movement. Just last month, Greta and her movement were honored with an Amnesty International award for their "unique leadership and courage in standing up for human rights."
Thunberg's speeches are collected in her book No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. She has said that she hopes the book causes panic. "I want you to panic … I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is."
Author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein speaks at the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria on On Sept. 20, 2018. Hundreds gathered in Union Square demanding justice for Puerto Rico.
Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, activist and author. Since publishing her New York Times bestseller This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Klein has become a strong force in the environmental movement.
Klein has a new book coming out in September, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal. The book is described as an expansive, far-ranging exploration that "captures the urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the energy of a rising political movement demanding change now."
Bill McKibben speaking with supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at a student meeting at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett, New Hampshire on Jan. 21, 2016.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist and activist. He is the founder of 350.org. Nearly 30 years ago, he published the first book on climate change, The End of Nature, written for the average person to understand the looming crisis. No climate activist list would ever be complete without acknowledging McKibben's consistent dedication to our planet.
Vox recently interviewed McKibben and captured his best advice.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is pictured in the beautiful foothills of north Boulder on Aug. 11, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado.
Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 19-year-old Indigenous environmental activist, musician and youth director of Earth Guardians. He recently told Rolling Stone, "I've been protesting since before I could walk."
He's also one of the plaintiffs on the youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States. In 2015, Martinez and 21 other youths filed a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government. For more on the trial, follow EcoWatch including this article that discusses what's happening with this lawsuit.
Martinez recently wrote an op-ed in Teen Vogue in April that explains the power of young voices. "Young people and marginalized communities are reclaiming our power and our voices in the movements that are shaping our future. From Standing Rock to Flint, from the Bayou to DC, we're beginning to see a different face of environmental leadership," he said.
French-American Bea Johnson shows the waste produced in a year by her family fitting in a bottle of 183 grams, on Nov. 21, 2015 in Lille, northern France. Bea Johnson and her family adopted a behavior tending to "zero waste" and campaign for a "life based on being and not having."
PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / Getty Images
Bea Johnson fits a year's worth of trash into a jar. Yes, just one little pint-sized mason jar! She is a pioneer of the zero-waste movement. Refinery29 featured her in a recent article titled Marie Kondo Came For Your Stuff; Bea Johnson Is Coming For Your Garbage.
Johnson's blog, Zero Waste Home, and her book by the same name have inspired an entire movement devoted to a minimalist lifestyle. She believes that a zero-waste lifestyle is not only good for the planet, but also for our personal health. The book garnered international interest and has been translated into 26 languages.
Johnson was recently interviewed by Here and Now's Peter O'Dowd. Listen below for five tips on how to live a more zero-waste life.
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.