5 Inspirational Environmentalists | Eco Team

Marina Silva

Silva is a Brazilian politician. She worked closely with Chico Mendes to lead demonstrations against deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. She also helped build environmental programmes to keep protecting the rainforest sustainably whilst supporting the people. In 1996 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize and in 2007 named a ‘Champion of the Earth’ by the UN’s Environment programme. Over her time in politics, she has served as Minister for the Environment from 2003-2008 and has run for president of Brazil twice, in both 2014 and 2018, although she took up the role of running for president in 2014 after the candidate Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash during the campaign. She is inspiring for her work in protecting the rainforest and fighting for it on a political level.

Sir David Attenborough

One cannot have a list of inspiring environmentalists without including Sir David Attenborough. He has brought environmental issues to the people, with Blue Planet II (narrated by him) being the most watched programme of 2017, bringing in 14 million UK viewers in the first episode. He has also been a major figure in the BBC, being the director of television programming from 1968-72. He began to write and narrate programmes on natural history from 1979 when the notable Life series began. He was knighted in 1985.

Dr Vandana Shiva

Shiva is an Indian environmentalist and scholar. She has been prominent with her views on many social issues. In 1982 she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy, which is dedicated to developing sustainable methods of agriculture. Shiva has also supported and founded many environmental campaigns, mostly centred around farming. She now advises many governments across the world, currently working with the Government of Bhutan to make it 100% organic.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Although known mainly for his work as an actor, Leonardo DiCaprio is also a prominent environmentalist, setting up the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998. It has funded over 200 projects helping to combat global climate change and other environmental issues, one being the California Program supporting schemes on a local level to promote sustainability. It has awarded $100 million in grants. It has also worked closely to help support indigenous rights to defend their territory and put renewable energy solutions in place. DiCaprio himself has spoken at the United Nations at their climate summits and plays a key role in promoting environmental issues.

Dr Heather Koldewey

Dr Heather Koldewey is a conservation scientist working for the Zoological Society of London. She began in 1995 as a research scientist and has since been the curator of the ZSL London Zoo Aquarium and is now Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programmes. Koldewey works to protect endangered marine species particularly seahorses. She co-founded Project Seahorse in 1996 and is a leading authority on seahorse conservation. She has also worked on many other programmes both practical work and raising awareness of marine conservation.

Image Link: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/10/02/arts/david1/merlin_177964626_bf6d5d2b-0c70-433b-86b7-463d4135d68c-mobileMasterAt3x.jpg (10/04/21)

Eco Info | Charlotte F-S

The Amazon rainforest stretches over 7,000,000 km ² of land. It has unparalleled levels of biodiversity. One in 10 species on the planet can be found in the Amazon rainforest. To date, at least 40,000 plants, 2,200 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptile species have been specifically classified in the region. However, the Amazon is being destroyed at a rate of 150 acres a minute every minute every day. This is to make space for farm land, more specifically cattle farming, which not only decreases biodiversity due to loss of habitat, and potentially extinction, but increases methane emissions.

Ecologist Tip: Try to reduce eating red meat, more specifically beef. But if you are eating beef, make sure it comes from sustainably-run British beef farms.

Ecologist Tip: Have a go at making an eco brick. Fill a plastic water bottle with any plastic litter and use it for craft projects, or as a way of measuring how much litter you produce, or donate them to projects using eco bricks for construction.

Image Link: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b1/48/f0/b148f049b24d142d5fa082771d74352e.jpg (13/02/21)