Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Top 50 Most Beautiful Environmentalists


The Guardian published a list of the top 50 People Who Can Save The Planet. It's a fascinating list with some pretty wild bios...but I would have had Thomas Homer-Dixon on the list before some of the others. Homer-Dixon's books offer pathways for conflict resolution and working as a community on issues. I think conflict resolution and resource sharing are some of our major environmental challenges: reasons corporations and governments resist adaptations which compromise profits.

Some of the Top 50 Folks Who Could Save The Planet?

Ken Yeang, Architect,

Ken Yeang, 59, is the world's leading green skyscraper architect. In the tropics especially, high-rises are traditionally the most unecological of all buildings, often wasting up to 30% more energy than lower structures built with the same materials. Yeang uses walls of plants, photo voltaics, scallop-shaped sunshades, advanced ventilation and whatever he can to collect water and breezes. The idea is to make buildings run as complete ecosystems with little external energy supply. He's not there yet, but the possibility of the green skyscraper is developing fast as ecological imperatives filter into the consciousness of the startlingly backward world of international architecture.

Terry Taminen, Climate Policy Advisor,

Tamminen argues that the 5% of the world population who live in the US are responsible not for 25% of the world's climate emissions, as the textbooks say, but for at least 50% of them if you include the energy needed to power the Chinese factories that are churning out plastic toys and other mass consumer goods for the voracious US market.

Captain Paul Watson, Marine Activist,

Paul Watson, 57, is the man Japanese whalers, Canadian seal hunters and illegal fishermen everywhere fear the most. The ultimate direct action man, he co-founded Greenpeace in the 70s and now has two boats that patrol the world 's oceans and confront anyone he has evidence of acting criminally. He is regularly denounced by governments as being an eco terrorist and a pirate after ramming and scuttling whalers, but Watson knows the law of the sea and has never been prosecuted.

Cooling The Planet One Project At A Time Vicki Buck

Carlo Petrini, Food activist,

Carlo Petrini, 58, is the only anti-McDonald's activist who has been welcomed to the offices of David Cameron, David Miliband, Prince Charles, Al Gore and Barack Obama. The founder of the international Slow Food movement, nominated here by Vandana Shiva, is idolised by rich and leisured foodies for promoting high-quality, small-scale farming and organising a relaxed life around long lunches. But Petrini, an Italian leftie of the old school, has a far more serious purpose than saving the pilchard or Parma ham. The Slow Food movement has now expanded across 100 countries and is throwing poisoned darts at the whole fast food culture and the multinational food producers that between them have wrecked so much of the environment.

Cormac McCarthy, Writer, (here is a good article comparing novel to movie)

The Road, by the 74-year-old American writer Cormac McCarthy, imagines a father and his son trudging south through a landscape where nature and civilisation are in their death throes. It's oppressive, horrifying and poetic, and is widely seen as both a parable and the logical extension of the earth's physical degeneration. His predictions may be scientifically fanciful, but the book, published last year, may have far more influence in the next 30 years than any number of statistics and fro nt line reports. It was nominated by George Monbiot, who says, "It could be the most important environmental book ever. It is a thought experiment that imagines a world without a biosphere, and shows that everything we value depends on the ecosystem."

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