Let the limelight shine on the world’s solution-builders, innovators, doers and first-movers who push The Great Transition forward.
“When our leaders fail us, then ordinary people have got to become heroes”
Why is it a good idea to praise our ‘climate safety champions’ and their contributions, to show appreciation and put them up on the piedestal as ‘heroes’? Should that really be necessary?
Well, first of all because there is a good chance it will help recharge their batteries whenever the voltage gets low, it will help them keep going with the good stuff they are doing, and also because these kind of energetic people who take concrete steps to create real progress are an important inspiration to all of us.
Join us in our search for the champions and heroes who lead by example: Who are your heroes in the global fight of for climate safety? Help expanding this list, which currently has a clear overweight of American men for some reason. You can leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
Content on this page:
→ Climate champions in the field of innovation, ingenuity at work and practical solutions
→ Advocacy-work, campaigning and awareness-raising champions
→ General lists of climate champions
Climate champions in the field of innovation and ingenuity at work
“We’ve got a political system that has privileged the rights of these multinational corporations over the top of community and environmental rights.”
Sue Higginson, principal litigator and lately chief executive of the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office
» The Saturday Paper – 18 June 2016:
Environmental Defenders lawyer Sue Higginson
From California, USA
Is Jim Mason one of the world’s best examples of what a ‘climate hero’ looks like? – with his company All Power Labs and that ‘gasifier’ invention of theirs we all should know much more about, if not help to promote and develop further.
Jim Mason’s company has so far produced 500 machines which can use walnut shells, corn husks or wood chips to create clean, sustainable and cheap energy without polluting the atmosphere.
You feed the walnut shells or wood chips into these Californian machines from All Power Labs, and you get fully clean energy at less than 10 cents a kilowatt hour out at the other end. This is not a new invention. Already during World War II, one million vehicles made use of this ‘gasification’ technology.
After the gasification, the carbon can be buried, so when you include in the process the carbon which is absorbed by the plant during it’s life, the process comes out as ‘carbon negative’. The carbon returned to the ground can then be used as fertilizer or burned again another day.
This is great, since the global climate change is a result of too much carbon being put into the sky, and so far energy sources based on biomass have been contributing to the problem because burning the biomass releases the carbon back into the atmosphere.
On 19 October 2013, c|net published an article about All Power Labs. Daniel Terdiman wrote:
“By comparison, because there’s no combustion in All Power Labs’ gasification process, the carbon isn’t released into the air. Rather, it is pulled from the biomass and converted into charcoal. Thanks to gasification and the fact that that charcoal can be put back into the ground, the process of releasing carbon is reversed.”
All Power Labs is turning out a machine a day at a price of US$ 27,000, and they have already sold 500 of them.
“And slowly but surely building a business that it hopes will one day contribute to the reversal of global warming. That may well be overly ambitious, but at the very least, the company has carved out an impressive niche for itself in the power business,” wrote Daniel Terdiman.
But hey…. why “slowly but surely”? Should this sort of idea only be promoted and produced by one single company in California? What is holding the world’s investors back from chipping in here and quickly help taking Jim Mason’s adventure to the next level?
» C|net – 19 October 2013:
Carbon-negative energy, a reality at last — and cheap, too
In Berkeley, California, All Power Labs is turning out machines that convert cheap and abundant biomass into clean energy and rich, efficient charcoal fertilizer. By Daniel Terdiman
From Melbourne, Australia
Sustainability innovator Joost Bakker is an artist, florist, inventor, architect, builder, landscape designer, restaurateur and eco-entrepreneur. He’s a big ideas man and a true inspiration. Watch this ABC video report about him to get an idea why.
ABC wrote: “Regardless of where he’s focusing his creative energy, there is one underlying philosophy:
“I just believe that we don’t need to generate any waste in any of the things that we do in everyday life,” says Joost. “We can live in a world that is sustainable and doesn’t need to have an impact and we don’t need to put anything in landfill. Everything endlessly reusable and recyclable – that’s my philosophy.”
His philosophy is driving everything he does. This is a man who practices what he preaches – from his idiosyncratic floral designs, his installations, right through to the house where he lives with his family in Monbulk, in the Yarra Ranges.
Even the outdoor furniture has been recycled – Joost made the chairs from old street signs. The timber cladding has come from the wharf in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo – from the 1840s.
And there are screening walls made from reinforcing mesh full of terracotta pots of strawberries. 11,000 of them.”
» Continue reading and see the video: abc.net.au/gardening/stories
» Tip: Right-click on this direct link if you’d like to download the video file to your harddisk
From Nimmitabel, New South Wales, Australia
41-year-old scrap metal recycler, entrepreneur, engineer, energy expert, business man and an aspiring Solar Electricity Mogul since he bought a 407kW solar PV farm in Singleton, New South Wales.
» Read more and listen to the podcast with Andrew Thaler here:
‘Climate Heroes: Stories of Change’ by Momentum for Change
Actor and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Ian Somerhalder narrates an inspiring new documentary that takes the viewer on a trip around the world to see people taking action on climate change. The documentary weaves together nine inspiring stories, showing that action on climate change is creating jobs, improving lives and turning dreams of a better future into reality.
A California-based academic, has created the “Guardian Princesses” – seven female Disney-style cartoon characters, which she hopes will inspire enthusiasm for non-violent collective eco-action in the younger generation.
Advocacy-work, campaigning and awareness-raising champions
“…sitting in that jail cell, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. One that I was only partially aware that I have been carrying for years now. I am ashamed by Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto treaty and our increasingly contemptible position on climate change. If these are the values of our society then I want to be an outlaw in that society.”
Karen Mahon is a British Columbian activist who, for now, have helped prevent a tunnel from being drilled for a tar-sands pipeline to the Pacific Coast thanks to a months-long encampment, civil disobedience, and many arrests at Burnaby Mountain near Vancouver.
» Vancouver Observer – 6 December 2014:
In the battle of people vs. pipelines, round one went to the people
“Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, in his speech after winning his best actor Oscar
» The Guardian – 29 February 2016:
How Leonardo DiCaprio became one of the world’s top climate change champions
The Oscar-winning actor’s environmental activism may not quite stretch back to What’s Eating Gilbert Grape but he has steadily schooled himself on the oceans and climate change since the 1990s
“Our future will hold greater prosperity and justice when we are free from the grip of fossil fuels. Now to get there, we must act. We must finally leave behind the inefficient technologies of another century and the business models that they have created.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, speaking at City Hall in Paris in December 2015
“As an actor I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems. I believe humankind has looked at climate change in that same way: as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, speaking at a New York climate summit in 2014
“Look at Divest Invest. It’s something I’m involved in, and it’s a fantastic way you as an individual can say, “I do not want to have investments in oil, coal, or gas.” The technology has caught up to a point where renewables are not going to be devastating to the economy. And actually there is tons of money to be made. This could be the biggest economic boom in American history if we do it right.”
“That whole greenwashing movement, buying a hybrid (which of course can’t hurt), recycling, this and that, it’s not going to cut it. This needs to be a massive movement on a global scale. And it needs to happen now. This year, 2015, is going to be the year people look back on and say we either made the right choices or we didn’t.”
Leonardo DiCaprio – in Wired Magazine
» The Guardian – 23 September 2014:
Leonardo DiCaprio at the UN: ‘Climate change is not hysteria – it’s a fact’
‘The time to answer the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet is now. You can make history or be vilified by it’
From Germany, based in New Orleans, USA
“We are not taking it any longer.”
From United Kingdom
Traditionally, Britain’s royal family does not voice political views in public, with the head of state merely a constitutional figurehead. During her long reign, Queen Elizabeth, 88, has never aired personal sentiments. But Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has often courted controversy by voicing strong views on the environment and climate change.
For instance, in a speech in London in May 2014, he urged an audience of global business leaders to take action against global warming or watch the world continue on a pathway “to our own destruction”. Even if it made them unpopular. The Prince called for a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism”, warning that the world is at the mercy of those who aggressively deny that economic models are “dangerously accelerating climate change”.
Prince Charles said the world was at the mercy of people vociferously and aggressively denying the current operating model was accelerating climate change which could destroy the world:
“We can choose to act now before it is finally too late, using all of the power and influence that each of you can bring to bear to create an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society. (…) There will, of course, be hard choices to make, and, take it from me, in the short term, you will not be popular with your peers, but if you stand firm and take the kind of action that is needed, I have every confidence the rewards will be immense.”
Christiana Figueres at St Paul’s Cathedral: ‘Climate Change: Building the Will for Action’
From the United Nations
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, issued a rallying call to faith groups to help secure a global deal in climate change in 2015. Yes, it is her job to speak up about climate change – but this speech is remarkable and shows not only leadership but also that Christiana Figueres is putting her heart and soul into this mission.
» Transcript: Christiana Figueres St Paul’s Cathedral speech – in full
» Read more on: www.agreenerlifeagreenerworld.net
From United Kingdom
Vanessa Vine, thank you for speaking up. You are on the list of the world’s growing numbers of climate change heroes.
Seven minutes of debate on British television that is worth watching.
Where are the world’s Vanessa Vines who understand what this is about? I know you’re out there – but keep yourselves busy with everything else. It’s time to speak up in public and take responsibility for your children’s future.
As Vanessa Vine mentions it in the television interview, it is really an absurd situation to have to observe how the French, having banned fracking in their own country, move to England and Denmark to carry out their dirty jobs there instead.
Danes, throw them out before they get their toxic chemicals pumped in the underground. If you do not wake up again soon, they begin to drill within a few months. Why would anyone want to poison the soil, pollute the air and worsen the climate situation when we have alternative forms of energy, we can switch over to?
‘Carbon Free Girl’, race car driver and environmental activist… Leilani Münter is doing remarkable stuff.
“Never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car.”
» Check this video: www.carbonfreegirl.com/neverknow
Environmentalist and climate campaigner David Suzuki’s ‘Carbon Manifesto’ is remarkable. It is the kind of speech which has history-changing potential, and it should be seen by much more people. We don’t need to reinvent more wheels. We could well leave it to David Suzuki to lead the word in this case – he says things with clarity and sharpness. We can use Suzuki’s Carbon Manifesto in our knowledge-sharing and advocacy work
From the United States
American author and climate activist Bill McKibben, born in 1960, is a major inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.. Founder and head of one of the world’s leading climate action organisation, 350.org, his main focus has been on building a movement of divestment.
James Hansen, climate scientist, USA
From the United States
Dr James Hansen is probably the world’s best-known climate scientist. He recently stepped down from his NASA post after almost 50 years to focus on communication and climate activism. He first alerted the world to climate change in 1988.
James Hansen has called for putting fossil fuel company executives, including the CEOs of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature” for spreading doubt and misinformation about climate change, as tobacco companies did in the early years to obscure the link between smoking and cancer. In 2012 he said we are in a “planetary emergency”, and he caused controversy with the assertion that “coal-fired power plants are factories of death”. He speaks up aginst climate change denial, and has said that “This is really the fight of our time.”
Hansen has argued repeatedly for collection of a carbon fee from fossil fuel companies with distribution of the funds to the public, thus “putting an honest price on carbon that makes fossil fuels pay their cost to society.” On 3 May 2013, James Hansen gave this speech (see video above) where here suggested a “progressive conservative approach”: collecting a carbon fee from the fossil fuel companies at the small number of domestic mines and ports of entry and passing it on directly to each and every citizen. “A simple, honest approach,” he called it. On the same occasion he also proposed establishing a new party in America in 2016.
» Transcript of James Hansen’s speech: on this page
From the United States
Biologist, mother and activist Sandra Steingraber, born in 1959. On 18 March 2013, Sandra Steingraber was arrested along with nine other protesters for blocking the entrance to the Inergy natural gas facility near Ithaca to protest “the industrialization of the Finger Lakes”. After refusing to pay a fine, Steingraber and two other received 15-day sentences. Steingraber served 10 days in the Schuyler County jail in the town of Watkins Glen before being released.
From the United States
Thank you to Al Gore for cutting through all the cloudy ‘carbon doublespeak’ which is going on at the moment – not just in Australia, but around the world. It is time to stand up for some principles. Governments’ job is to protect the citizens, and that includes our children and grandchildren. Al Gore is making everyone aware of what is going on.
“Our job, as citizens, is to work for the formation of public policy based on reality. Based on logic. Based on reason. In support of the public interest, not private special interest. And because [the fossil fuel industry] have achieved so much control over the operations of our democracy, doesn’t mean that we cannot take it back.”
“You know, junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs give out. We are now at the point where we’re going after these ridiculously dirty and dangerous carbon-based fuels, and we’ve got to stop that.”
Al Gore – commenting on our addiction to carbon-based fuels
ClimateProgress – 27 October 2013:
Al Gore On Solving The Climate Crisis: ‘You’re Damn Right I’m Passionate About This’
From the United States
American Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s 50th Weekly Climate Change Speech
“I give these speeches because climate change is real, because the campaign of denial is as poisonous to our democracy as carbon pollution is to our atmosphere and oceans, and because I am confident. I am confident that we can do this. We can strengthen our economy, we can redirect our future, we can protect our democracy, and we can do our duty to the generations that will follow us. But we have to pay attention. We have to wake up.”
“It is time to wake up. It is time to turn back from the misleading propaganda of the polluters, the misguided extremism of the Tea Party, and the mistaken belief that we can ignore without consequence the harm our carbon pollution is causing. It is time to face facts, be adults, and meet our responsibilities.”
» Read more about Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his climate speeches.
“Polluters have built a blockade around the American Congress. It can’t last.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is one of America’s – and this planet’s – many but sadly unrecognised climate safety champions.
From the United States
Green activist Erin Schrode is a 21-year-old New York-based environmental and social activist, the co-founder of Teens Turning Green. A “sustainability prodigy” and eco expert, she calls herself an “ecoRenaissance woman”.
From the United States
Environmental philanthropist Jeremy Grantham spends about 17 million US dollars annually on his chosen causes, and in the process has become, according to one magazine, the “world’s most powerful environmentalist”.
From the United States
Tom Steyer, a hedge-fund manager turned climate activist, started spending big this year on his pet cause — really big. He poured millions into political campaigns in 2013, helping to elect climate hawk Ed Markey (D) as a Massachusetts senator, Terry McAuliffe (D) as Virginia governor, and opponents of a proposed coal terminal in Whatcom County, Wash., as local council members. He’s pushed hard against the Keystone XL pipeline, voicing his views to Obama directly and hosting an anti-Keystone conference in D.C. He’s teaming up with fellow rich guys Michael Bloomberg and Hank Paulson to make the case that climate change threatens the entire global economy. In December 2013, he launched a campaign for new oil drilling taxes in California. The L.A. Times describes Steyer as “liberals’ answer to the Koch brothers”.
From Los Angeles, USA
As mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa has used his tenure as mayor of the second largest city in the US to prioritise fighting climate change. Carbon emissions in L.A. are down around 30 percent from 20 years ago thanks to a portfolio of efforts that includes promoting bicycling and transitioning the city’s fleet to natural gas. Villaraigosa announced in March 2013 a historic plan by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to stop using coal fired power by 2025 and replace it with cleaner energy sources.
From Melbourne, Australia
Julien Vincent and his team at Market Forces have done an amazing job in revealing information on how billions of dollars – both public and private – is used to support the polluting fossil fuel industry. In 2013, Market Forces made thousands of superannuation members pressuring their funds over how they manage climate risk, contributed to a campaign that has seen over $1 billion in fossil fuel subsidies cut from the budget, warned major investors about the risks of new fossil fuel projects in Australia, seen hundreds of customers of the major banks – accounting for well over $70 million in savings alone – putting their bank on notice over fossil fuel lending, helped hundreds of customers actually switch banks, and engaged thousands more people to call on the big four banks to end investments in the fossil fuel industry for the sake of the climate. Oh, and made the occasional company Chairman sweat a little.
Jonathan Moylan is the activist that issued a hoax press release from ANZ saying the bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan for Whitehaven coal’s Maules Creek mine – temporarily wiping $314 million off the company’s share price. On 25 July 2014 he was handed a suspended sentence for one year and eight months, and a $1000 fine.
Supported by scores of farmers and environmentalists outside court, Moylan was fortunate to receive a good behaviour bond, avoiding a ten-year prison sentence and $765,000 fine. By risking his freedom, however, he kick started a national discussion on the threat reckless coal expansion poses to farmers, rural communities, the environment and Australia’s economy. He has also helped shine a bright light on the dirty investment practices of many Australian banks, and the increasingly risky nature of investing in the dying coal industry.
Jonathan Moylan stood up in the public interest, took responsibility for his actions, and was relentlessly attacked by the coal industry and pursued by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for it.
» Read more on www.treealerts.org
“At 92, I was arrested for protesting against mining. I’m glad I took a stand”
“The people worried about climate change have got to take action, because the government has completely ignored them. So I’ll continue to protest – I owe it to all children.”
Pauline Koppel commented on Facebook:
“A real hero. Thank you Mr. Ryan. You will go down in history as a legend and a hero. Your children and grandchildren will be proud of you unlike any families of the current government!”
» Read more on www.theguardian.com
General lists of climate champions
Eco guide to action heroines
According to The Guardian’s Lucy Siegle, Vandana Shiva is one of the world’s greatest environmental activists. In an article about ‘action heroines’, Siegle also mentions ethical fashion stalwart Livia Firth.
» The Guardian – 21 February 2016:
The eco guide to action heroines
Climate Heroes according to Australian Youth Climate Coalition
» Cleantechnica.com – 1 January 2014:
17 Cleantech Champions
• Jigar Shah, prev. SunEdison, Carbon War Room
• Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, SolarCity
ThinkProgress – 23 December 2013:
The Climate Champions Of 2013
• Naderev “Yeb” Saño
• Michael Mann
• Sheldon Whitehouse
• Barbara Kingsolver
• Josh Fox
• Michael Bloomberg
• John Kerry
• Bill McKibben
» ABC Carbon:
100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders 2012
Among the many environmentalists listed here, there are also a good number of ‘climate safety’ people:
Extraordinary people changing the game
Individuals passionate about natural conservation and regeneration of our living planet’s biosphere. Real environmentalism uses evidence based solutions to reverse the human impact on our ecosystem.
Meet the people who are energizing America
Get to know some of the people ETOM filmed, and find out why they’re our Energy Heroes.
“Everyone who spent this year turning the divestment movement from an interesting idea into a material risk to fossil fuels, I can’t thank you enough.”
A politician, Scott Ludlam, thanks the climate and anti-coal activists of Australia
Published on youtube.com on 3 December 2014
Inspirational pages on this website: