Top 10 Voices for Sustainability in 2019
Who has made headlines this year, and who will continue to make waves on the path to sustainability? We put together a list, if not “the” list.
Number One. Hands down.
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, has sparked the global climate strike movement, influenced world leaders and earned a Nobel Prize nomination in just over a year. Cool, calm and surprisingly cunning, her voice, captured in this track by The 1975, offers a sober reminder that climate change is an emergency. Each Friday, millions of students across the globe join climate strikes, following her example.
Youth climate activists shaking things up stateside include Jamie Sarai Margolin, founder of the Zero Hour Movement and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, author of We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet and one of the 21 youth plaintiffs in the Juliana vs. United States lawsuit. It accuses the U.S. government for failing to act on climate change.
Bill McKibben is one of Greta’s greatest allies. He is the co-founder of the site 350.org and he has authored numerous books on the environment: most recently, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is a billionaire who wants to colonize Mars and who’s become an easy target for internet memes, it’s true. But he’s also the reigning king of techno-fixes for our transition away from fossil fuels. Get ready for a Tesla-inspired world of self-driving electric vehicles, rechargeable home batteries for solar energy storage and a solar-powered hyperloop that travels faster than a bullet train.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortes, “AOC,” is the youngest member of congress, serving New York’s 14th congressional district. She co-wrote the Green New Deal (GND) resolution, the nation’s first comprehensive climate strategy. Even though the GND didn’t pass, it received excellent poll ratings and sparked important conversations.
Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement influenced this year’s Democratic primary debates by demanding a climate-centered discussion.
Ellen MacArthur, a retired British yachtswoman, founded the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to promote the circular economy. Some of the world’s largest companies including Google, Apple, McDonald’s and IKEA are part of her Circular Economy 100 network, which shares innovative ideas to help reduce waste.
Elizabeth Cline, a journalist, public speaker and author with her sights set on weaning the world off of fast-fashion, wrote The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good and Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.
Let’s not forget to include…
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor (obviously), is also a conservationist using his fame for good.
Jane Goodall, world-famous researcher of chimpanzees who discovered they are not unlike us. She got her start with National Geographic, and used her influence to conserve the habitats of African species.
Naomi Klein, author of a must-read book (later turned documentary), This Changes Everything (2014). In it, she only spares criticism of courageous activists blockading fossil fuel projects.
Eric Holthaus, meteorologist and award-winning environmental journalist working for Grist. (It would have been a shame not to include a climate scientist in this list.)
Lil’ Dicky made a climate change song this year with well-chosen pop music cameos. Beware. It gets stuck in your head.
Have someone else in mind who needs to be on this list? Tell us.
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