5 Most Influential Environmental Leaders

Here’s Environmental Graffiti’s list of the five most influential environmental movers and shakers.

5. James Hansen runs NASAs Institute for Space Science and is Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia. Since the 1980s he has consistently been testifying to Congress about the dangers of climate change. His pronouncements, on amongst other things the theory of a tipping point and what constitutes dangerous levels of carbon dioxide have been important is swaying public opinion towards accepting the reality of global warming. He has also alerted the world to the fact that the Bush administration has been pressuring and blackmailing climate change scientists into silence.

4. David Attenborough, the world’s best known television naturalist, has been spreading the gospel on the beauty of the natural world for decades. Uncountable numbers have learnt to love nature through his programs. More recently, he has become a vocal figure in efforts to educate the public about climate change, presenting the BBC’s ‘Saving Planet Earth’ season.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger is chief executive of the world’s seventh largest economy, California. Frustrated at the anti-environmentalism of the Bush presidency, he has bypassed the federal government by introducing carbon emission reduction targets for his state, along with a raft of other environmental measures. He’s been looking a bit more tarnished recently though, following the clean air board furore.

2. Norman Borlaug, the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been a controversial figure within the green movement. His pioneering development of dwarf cereal strains allowed India and much of the rest of the developing world to feed itself, doubling their crop yield and preventing a perpetual famine that would have killed hundreds of millions. He is deeply opposed to the use of organic farming methods in developing countries, because of what has become known as the ‘Borlaug Hypothesis’. This states that the best way to protect the environment is to maximise the crop yield on the best available farmland, thereby preventing the destruction of forests and other ecosystems to provide more farmland. Its possible that without Borlaug’s dwarf crops, every forest between Nigeria and Korea would have been destroyed in an attempt to feed the world’s ever growing population.

1. Al Gore is the undisputed world leader of the environmental movement. As well as being VP for a bit, he’s been doing that slide show since the 1980s, the one he turned into an Oscar winning film last year. He’s also chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection and the co-organiser of the Live Earth Concerts. No other single individual has done so much to convince the world that climate change is real. Recent poll data shows he could even be President if he wanted to…