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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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
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