List of Famous Environmentalists and What They Did
It used to be rare to find an environmentalist in the general populace. The majority of the population didn’t care or see the point of protecting the natural world. Over time this opinion changed, and now it is rather common to find people who consider themselves to be an environmentalist. Below is a list of inspirational and famous environmentalists who have or are shaping our views and policies on environment.
No list of famous environmentalists would be complete without mentioning John Muir. He was an outspoken advocate for the preservation of wilderness, particularly in the western states. His writings and campaigns are credited to preserving Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park along with being a key factor for preservation efforts elsewhere in the western states. His work greatly influenced people such as Theodore Roosevelt, as well as many future environmentalists.
Beyond being the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the early champions for the environment. He believed protecting the environment was essential to the health and future of the country. Through his efforts, he managed to protect around 230 million acres of national land, as well as establishing the National Park Service and passing the Antiquities Act, which created many national monuments.
Not many people think environmental issues have much to do with peace, but they are often closely related. Wangari Matathai is the first environmentalist to be awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her program the Green Belt Movement, which is based in Kenya. The program was created to address soil erosion, deforestation and water scarcity, but it has had the secondary effects of empowering women and promoting peace.
Gaylord Nelson is an inspirational environmentalist who dedicated his life to conservation, but his most remembered legacy was the creation of Earth Day in 1970. All sorts of people from schoolchildren to adults take part in annual Earth Day activities that brings key environmental issues to the forefront. Nelson is also know for introducing the legislation to ban DDT and was instrumental to the process of creating the 2,000 mile long Appalachian Trail.
Silent Spring shocked the American public when it was published. Carson painted a stark, but mostly accurate, image of what the negative environmental results could be if companies continued to use hazardous pesticides such as DDT. Her book caught the attention of President Kennedy, which prompted him to take a closer look at the pesticides being used and their possible effects. All of her environmental publications have led many to call her the mother of the modern environmental movement.
David Suzuki is a famous Canadian environmentalist who created the popular television series “The Nature of Things,” which exposed the general populace to key environmental issues caused by human activities. Along with his many articles, books and shows, he has set up the David Suzuki Foundation to continue promoting public awareness of environmental problems and what individuals can do to help.
Affectionately known as the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin created increased awareness and understanding for many of nature’s lesser lovable looking creatures. His widely popular television program and his work at what is now known as the Australia Zoo promoted conservation of animals and habitat. His sudden death shocked the world, but his environmental vision has been continued by his family and friends.
As the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson has dedicated his life to conservation. Watson was one of the founding members of Greenpeace, but went his own way after the group because of disagreements of conservation tactics. He then started Sea Shepherds, which works worldwide to protect marine wildlife through research and the enforcement of international laws, treaties and regulations. This famous environmentalist shares his passion for conservation through his many books and talks.