All successful movements must have leaders — to mobilize, organize, and inspire. The fight to save our planet from the devastating effects of climate change is no different. All over the world, individuals (young and old), communities, and corporations are stepping up and making heroic, selfless, and innovative contributions to protect our environment, advocate for reform, and prolong humanity’s lifespan. Their efforts and stories are to be celebrated, emulated, and held up as examples of the power we each hold to make a meaningful difference in the outcome of this life-or-death issue. One amazing man, Nuseir Yassin, in this amazing video celebrates some of those people who are out in the world making the difference. Meet more here.

It won’t surprise you to learn that the UN has created an United Nations Champion of the Earth award recognizing six outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a significant positive impact on the environment. Green Biz just announced their fourth annual GreenBiz 30 Under 30 honorees who are sustainability leaders in their companies, nonprofits and communities throughout the world. And, of course, there is the startling documentary, Climate Heroes: Stories of Change, weaving together nine stories of climate action, from solar light entrepreneurs in India to low-carbon-housing in Mexico. 

Andrea Dutton

Forensics
Andrea Dutton is a geological crime scene investigator trying to figure out and understand what has happened in the past, to better understand what could happen in the future, regarding sea-level rise and what that means for coastal cities. She is one of 25 people selected by Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone’s 2016 issue featuring 25 people who are changing the world.

Beth Terry

Plastic
Beth Terry is the blogger behind My Plastic Free Life. In 2008, Terry started the Take Back The Filter Movement after realizing that Clorox failed to provide an avenue to recycle their Brita filters, citing the belief that Americans don’t care enough as their reasoning. Terry singlehandedly gained over 16,000 signatures demanding a way to recycle the filters and Clorox changed their policy.

Bill Gates

Microsoft
Fundraising
Nearly two dozen of the world’s most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists will invest up to $1 billion in a climate action fund led by Microsoft-co-founder Bill Gates that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by financing emerging clean energy technology

Bren Smith

Ocean Farming
Bren Smith, GreenWave executive director and owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm, pioneered the development of restorative 3D Ocean Farming. A lifelong commercial fisherman, he was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “25 People Shaping the Future” and featured in TIME magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2017”. He is the winner of the Buckminster Fuller Prize and been profiled by CNN, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and elsewhere. He is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Climate Fellow and author of Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer.

Denis Hayes

Sustainable Urbanization
Denis Hayes is at the center of sustainable urbanization, using his architectural skills to lead major cities in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia to an environmentally sound future. Check out his talk  with Seattle investors.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Botany
This Celtic botanist  says that the global forest, which keeps the atmosphere rich in oxygen and low in carbon dioxide, “forecasts our future in every breath it takes and every seed it releases into the leaf mold of the forest floor. The greenhouse effect combined with a loss of forests is adding extra moisture to the atmosphere,” says Beresford-Kroeger.  In her bestseller, The Sweetness of a Simple Life she describes the forest as “a molecular memo” that harvests one carbon atom as a time and “pulses that sweet gas we call oxygen, needed for every breath we take.” There is also a film, Call to the Forest, about her life’s work.

Dr. Charles David Keeling

Science

Dr. Keeling became the first person in the world to develop an accurate technique for measuring carbon dioxide in the air, and he quickly made profound discoveries. One was that carbon dioxide oscillated slightly according to the seasons and that carbon dioxide was indeed rising, and quickly. That finding electrified the small community of scientists who understood its implications. Later chemical tests, by Dr. Keeling and others, proved that the increase was due to the combustion of fossil fuels. The graph showing rising carbon dioxide levels came to be known as the Keeling Curve. Many Americans have never heard of it, but to climatologists, it is the most recognizable emblem of their science.

Emily Penn

Oceans
Emily Penn is an ocean advocate and founder of eXXpedition, an all-women’s voyage to relate the health of our environment and oceans to women’s health. Penn is both the youngest and only female recipient of the Yachtmaster Award and the Seamaster Award. She was also awarded the Fitzroy Award at the 2016 Oceans Awards.

Eunice Foote

Climate Science
Eunice Foote is the little known mother of climate science. In 1856, Foote was the first person to ever discover the theory that would become known as global warming–she identified carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and showed that rising levels could have a warming effect on Earth’s climate. Of course, as her research was further developed by a man named John Tynan, he is known as the father of climate science, while Foote has been widely forgotten.