Blog written by Harriet Bywater - Ambassador at Treeapp
In the last few years, we’ve seen more and more environmental leaders step up and promote sustainable change. Today’s post is all about celebrating the best of the British, with my take on the UK’s top ten influential people leading sustainability-related change, both in the UK and worldwide!
Coming in at number one is the nations Grandad - David Attenborough. He has been campaigning for action against climate change for over 20 years, all whilst filming beautiful documentaries that teach us about the beauty of the natural world and the creatures who share this planet with us. His latest series was Our Planet, a Netflix docuseries which has a strong environmental message and focuses on how climate change affects all the inhabitants of this planet, with a particular focus on how humans are affecting the climate (more than any other mainstream nature documentary). Beloved by all, he has to make number one on this list.
Number two is primatologist Jane Goodall. She moved to Tanzania when she was 26 to study Chimpanzees in the wild and made several amazing discoveries including the fact that chimpanzees can make and use rudimentary tools (a skill previously thought to be exclusively human), and the fact that are not herbivores (they frequently eat insects and have been seen to strategically hunt, kill, and eat smaller primates). After becoming concerned about the environmental effects of human behaviour on chimps in the wild, she dedicated her life to travelling the world and educating people about the effects their behaviours had on the environment. She has founded the Jane Goodall Institute which is a community conservation organisation and Roots and Shoots, a youth network that campaigns for positive change in regards to community, animals, and the environment.
Photo: David Attenborough (Left) Jane Goodall (Right)
Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook, and Simon Bramwell
At number three are the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion, Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook, and Simon Bramwell. Extinction Rebellion is a UK based environmental activism group that organises civil disobedience and campaigns for the Government to declare an ecological emergency, become carbon neutral by 2025, and create a citizens’ assembly to make future decisions based on the climate crisis. They founded ER in May 2018 and there are now ER groups all over the UK.
Ella and Caitlin McEwan
Number four goes to an amazing pair of kids - Ella and Caitlin McEwan. Together they started a petition against plastic toys in fast-food children’s’ meals. Their petition went viral and as a result, Burger King removed all plastic toys from their children’s meals, and McDonald’s created an option to sway the toy for fruit.
Photo: Ella and Caitlin McEwan (Source: BBC)
Number five goes to Noga. She hosted the London Global Climate Strike in 2019 and is a part of the UK Student Climate Network. She was involved in starting Teach the Future, a youth-led campaign to involve environmentalism in the curriculum and schooling. Their aims are for information about the current climate crisis to be taught to teachers during teacher training; for an English climate emergency act, which would ensure that students are properly educated about global warming and the climate crisis; and for new schools to be carbon neutral by 2022, and any current buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Spot six on the list goes to Immy Lucas, an online eco-influencer who focuses on intersectional environmentalism. She is the founder of the Low Impact Movement.
Seven is Eve Tizard. She has been hailed as ‘Britain’s answer to Greta Thunberg’. At only nine years of age, she has already been lobbying local MPs and leading chants at local climate strikes.
Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One
Number eight goes to two individuals - Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One. They cofounder an app called Olio, a good sharing platform that allows friends and neighbours to exchange food items that would otherwise go to waste.
Photo: Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One (Source: Techpwynt)
Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood
Spot number 9 goes to the founders of Bulb - Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood. Bulb is the UK’s biggest green energy supplier and they claim that buy sourcing your energy through them you will save 3.4 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Photo: Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood (Source: StartUps)
My final pick for this list goes to George Monbiot, an environmentalist activist who peacefully campaigns for access to our land, ending sales of public land to private companies, open access to charity managed land, ending mega farms and industrial agriculture, and public owned national infrastructure. He is the founder of the charity The Land and believes that the land we live on should be shared, not owned.
Photo: George Monbiot (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
There are so many amazing and inspirational people here in the UK paving the way for sustainable living. Let’s celebrate these amazing individuals and their achievements, and look forward to what the next generation of sustainability activists bring to the UK.