In an era where environmental challenges loom large and the urgency to protect our planet has never been greater, a remarkable group of individuals has risen to the forefront as true champions of change. These Changemakers are passionate advocates for the environment, tirelessly working to combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and promote sustainable practices. From grassroots activists to visionary entrepreneurs, each one of them has left an indelible mark on the world with their relentless pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future. In this blog, we highlight the extraordinary efforts of these Changemakers, whose unwavering dedication serves as an inspiration to all of us, reminding us that together, we can make a difference for the betterment of our planet.
David Attenborough: Broadcaster
For more than fifty years, Sir David Attenborough has been a prominent figure known for his deep appreciation of the natural world. His voice has captivated audiences of all ages, compelling them to listen and learn. Through groundbreaking documentaries like "Life" and "Blue Planet," as well as works like the BBC's "Climate Change: The Facts," Attenborough has narrated pivotal moments in British public consciousness, shedding light on critical issues such as ocean pollution, biodiversity loss, and human impact on the planet. Even at the age of 95, he remains actively engaged in environmental initiatives like The Earthshot Prize, using his influence to address pressing ecological challenges.
Attenborough's work with the BBC's Natural History Unit, including documentaries like "Life on Earth," "The Living Planet," "Our Planet," and "Our Blue Planet," has brought the wonders of the natural world into the living rooms of millions. Furthermore, his passionate advocacy for preserving and restoring biodiversity, transitioning to renewable energy, mitigating climate change, and promoting plant-rich diets aligns with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), contributing to global efforts to create a more sustainable and harmonious world.
Sir David Attenborough's profound impact on environmental awareness and action cannot be overstated. He has played a crucial role in shaping public consciousness and driving positive change for the planet. As we continue to face the challenges of climate and biodiversity crises, his legacy serves as a guiding light, reminding us of the power and importance of caring for nature and working towards a sustainable future.
Tom Matthews: Climate scientist
Tom Matthews, a climate scientist and National Geographic Explorer, has made remarkable contributions to our knowledge of the effects of climate change on extreme weather events. With a focus on mountain regions, he played a crucial role in installing the world's highest-altitude weather stations on Mount Everest, providing invaluable data on extreme weather phenomena in the Himalayas. Through his research, Matthews has effectively mapped Earth's climate envelope and its shifting patterns due to human-induced climate change.
As an impassioned advocate for climate action, Tom Matthews emphasises the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He firmly believes that collective efforts are necessary to address climate change, and he is dedicated to collaborating with others to find sustainable solutions.
Tom Matthews' work has had a profound impact on our understanding of climate change and its consequences on extreme weather events. His research has heightened awareness of the risks we face and fostered strategies to tackle these challenges effectively. As a leading voice in the fight against climate change, Matthews' continued dedication will remain pivotal in shaping a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet.
Vanessa Nakate: Climate justice campaigner
Vanessa Nakate, born in Uganda, embarked on her journey as a climate activist in 2018, witnessing firsthand the devastating impact of climate change on agriculturally-dependent communities near her home. In 2019, she founded Youth for Future Africa and initiated climate strikes in Kampala, Uganda's capital, demanding action on climate change from the government.
However, Nakate faced an unfortunate incident in January 2020 when the Associated Press cropped her out of a photograph with other white activists, highlighting issues of racial marginalisation in climate activism. Despite this setback, Nakate persisted, using her platform to advocate for climate justice and raise awareness of climate issues in Africa.
As the founder of the Rise Up Movement, she amplifies the voices of African climate activists, promoting sustainable development, and inspiring young people to take action for the environment.
Vanessa Nakate's contributions to the environment are manifold. She has not only raised awareness of the climate crisis in Africa but also emphasised the need for climate justice. By giving a voice to African climate activists, she has made their concerns more visible on a global stage.
Her work is a testament to the power of youth activism and serves as an inspiration for others to join the fight against climate change. Vanessa Nakate's dedication to environmental causes is making a tangible difference, and her contributions are invaluable in shaping a more sustainable and equitable future for our planet.
Zanagee Artis: Co-founder, Zero Hour
Zanagee Artis, originally from Connecticut, is a prominent climate justice activist who has made significant contributions to environmental causes. Together with fellow activists Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, and Madelaine Tew, Artis co-founded Zero Hour in 2017, a youth climate movement born out of frustration with the inaction of elected officials and the lack of attention given to youth voices in the discourse around climate change. The movement quickly gained pace, with coordinated demonstrations across the United States through a growing network of like-minded young people.
As the logistics director of Zero Hour, Artis played a pivotal role in organising and managing some of the earliest youth-led climate protests that made headlines. A significant milestone was the high-profile climate march in Washington DC in July 2018, which sparked satellite activities across the globe, with local pressure groups organising their own demonstrations. This collective effort culminated in the historic climate strike on September 20, 2020, where activists of all ages in approximately 185 countries participated in what is believed to be the largest climate strike in history.
As a compelling voice for young people, he serves as an inspiration to those who are dedicated to creating a more sustainable future for all. His tireless efforts as a co-founder and co-executive director of Zero Hour, along with his policy advocacy for climate justice, have solidified his place as a key figure in the fight against climate change.
Scarlett Westbrook: Campaigner and Journalist
Scarlett Westbrook, a British-Kashmiri activist and journalist, has been at the forefront of the climate crisis awareness movement since the young age of 10. She passionately believes that education plays a pivotal role in addressing climate change and works tirelessly to reinforce this message in schools.
One of Westbrook's most remarkable achievements is authoring the English Climate Emergency Education Act, the first-ever student-written bill, which was presented to Parliament in 2021. Her dedication to the environment extends beyond legislative efforts, as she actively participates in organising climate strikes and protests, both nationally and internationally. Westbrook's influential voice has also graced global events, where she eloquently emphasises the urgency of action against climate change.
Her contributions to raising awareness about the climate crisis are not limited to activism alone; Westbrook is an accomplished writer whose works have been featured in prominent publications like The Guardian, The Independent, and Wired. Additionally, she actively collaborates with the UK government on climate change policy.
Westbrook's tireless efforts to shape a sustainable world, exemplify the potential and impact of youth-led initiatives in safeguarding our planet for generations to come.
Leonardo DiCaprio: Actor and Environmentalist
Hollywood stars hold significant influence on society, and some have chosen to use their platform for the betterment of the planet. One such notable figure is Academy Award-winning actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been a staunch advocate for environmental issues for over two decades. In 1998, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a non-profit organisation that has since supported more than 200 environmental projects worldwide with a total funding of over $100 million. DiCaprio's dedication to raising awareness is not limited to financial contributions; he has narrated documentaries like "The 11th Hour" and "Cowspiracy" to highlight pressing environmental concerns.
His impact extends beyond the film industry, as he has spoken at influential events like the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the World Economic Forum, using these platforms to stress the urgency of climate action. In recognition of his immense efforts, DiCaprio was appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change in 2014. He engages with world leaders to discuss strategies to address environmental challenges and has earned numerous accolades, including the Clinton Global Citizen Award, the Environmental Media Award, and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.
In 2019, DiCaprio's foundation launched the "re:wild" initiative, aiming to protect 30% of the planet's land and ocean by 2030. To support this cause, he pledged $5 million and called upon fellow celebrities and philanthropists to join him in this endeavour.
Leonardo DiCaprio serves as an exemplary environmental leader, using his fame and resources to drive change and raise awareness about critical environmental issues. With his continued dedication and influence, DiCaprio's work will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy in the fight for a sustainable and thriving world.
As we celebrate and support these remarkable individuals, let us also remember that we, too, have the power to become changemakers. By joining hands and taking meaningful actions, we can create a positive ripple effect that reverberates across the globe, fostering a greener, cleaner and more sustainable world for all. Together, we can forge a path towards a brighter future, where harmony between humanity and nature flourishes and the planet thrives.