Mary Annaise Heglar
Mary Annaise Heglar is a climate justice writer who raises awareness on the unequitable human impact of climate change. She draws attention to the ways in which climate change and other environmental issues disproportionally affect low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Heglar was the director of publications for the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and was a writer-in-residence at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Currently she speaks on this subject through her teaching, her podcast Hot Take, and her publications.
Daniel Pauly is a French-born marine biologist. He is the founder and lead researcher for the Sea Around Us project, which researches the impacts of fisheries on marine ecosystems across the world. In the early 2000s this project revealed that many countries were under reporting their fish catch among some countries. He also coined the phrase “shifting baseline,” meaning that over time, as the shock of an environmental disaster fades, we become used to the aftermath of those disasters, and we make it the new environmental norm and the new level we work to return to.
(b. 1907 – d.1964)
Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, writer and conservationist. After World War II, she was disturbed by the overuse of harmful chemicals and pesticides such as DDT in agriculture. Carson began warning the public about the harmful and long-term effects of pesticide on the environment and humans. In 1963, she published the book Silent Spring, which challenged the government’s use of these harmful pesticides. After its publication, there was a backlash from the pesticide industry attacking Carson as an “alarmist”. She continued to speak out, including calling on Congress to protect human and the environment’s health. The message of Silent Spring stayed relevant even after her death in 1964 and was influential in the formation of the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) in 1970.
Sylvia Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, and conservationist. Her research and writing was known internationally though publications like National Geographic. Her popular lectures advocated for continued ocean research and ocean conservation. In the 1990s, Earle was the first woman to be appointed as the Chief Scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has founded Mission Blue and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, two organizations that promote marine research and advocacy. To this day, at the age of 87, she remains a prominent activist in protecting our oceans and continues to dive.
Dr Wangari Maathai
(b. 1940 – d. 2011)
Dr. Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan social, environmental and political activist. In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, integrates environmental conservation and community development by working with women’s groups to plant trees as a way to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. Started in Kenya, this same approach spread throughout Africa and was implemented in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. In 2004, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the first African Woman to receive this award.
Txai Surui is an indigenous student leader and youth activist from the state of Rondônia, Brazil. She is the founder and coordinator of the Movement of Indigenous Youth in Rondônia. She spoke at the United Nation Climate Change Conference in Glasglow (2021) about the deforestation of the Amazon and its loss of biodiversity. She emphasized that environmental degradation unproportionally impacts indigenous people and advocates that indigenous people should have greater representation and voice in discussion in climate change.
Sheila Watt Cloutier
Sheila Watt Cloutier is an environmental, cultural and human rights advocate from the Inuit community in Nunavik (Northern Quebec). She was the past Chair of Inuit Circumpolar Counsil (ICC), an organization that represents more than 155,000 Inuits in Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Chukota, and developed long-term policies to safeguard the Arctic environment. She was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the 2001 Stockholm Convention banning the creation and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in our environment. She frames climate change as a human rights issue, and in 2007, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work on this subject.
Jane Goodall is a scientist and conservationist who researches social and family interactions of chimpanzee populations. In the 1970s, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, which leads efforts to conserve chimpanzees and their habitats as well as continuing to support research in those areas. Throughout her 60 years of research and conservation, she has broadened her advocacy to prevent animal extinction, and communicating the link between local communities and environmental protections.
Greta Thunberg is a climate activist based out of Stockholm, Sweden. In 2018, at the age of 15, Greta began sitting outside of the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading “school strike for climate.” This inspired other students all over the world to become activists, and together they organized a school climate strike movement known as Fridays for the Future. In 2019 she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit, criticizing political leaders for their failure to act on climate change in a speech titled “How Dare You.”
Dune Lankard (Eyak Citizen) is an environmental activist based out of Alaska. Inspired by the impact of the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the coast of Alaska, his advocacy work led to the expansion of the Copper River Delta Restoration Boundary that permanently protects a critical habitat for wild salmon, within traditional homelands of the Eyak tribe. In 2003, he founded the Native Conservancy, which empowers Alaskan Native peoples to protect and preserve endangered habitats of their ancestral homelands.
Afroz Shah is a lawyer and environmental activist from Mumbai, India. In 2015, he started picking up trash on the beach after becoming frustrated with the piles of garbage washing up on shore. He quickly inspired volunteers to join him and started a worldwide beach clean-up movement. He started the Afroz Shah Foundation which raises awareness of ocean pollution and inspiring behavioral changes related to “life of convenience”. His three pillars of his conservation work are:
- To reduce and refuse plastic
- Insight behavior changes
- Zero garbage communities
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is a poet and performance artist raises awareness on the effects of climate change and sea level rise on the Marshall Islands. In 2014 she recited a poem titled “Dear Matafele Peinam,” addressed to her 7-month-old daughter, about the effects of climate change on her homeland. She founded a youth environmental nonprofit which empowers youth to seek solutions to climate change and other environmental issues which threaten their islands.
Edward P. “Ted” Ames is a Maine commercial fisherman, scientific researcher, educator, and advocate for marine conservation and for sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. His contributions to an understanding of the population structure of cod and the historical ecological factors connected to the decline of groundfisheries fisheries in the North Atlantic earned him a 2005 MacArthur Foundation grant.
Robin Alden was Commissioner of Marine Resources in the 1990s. Throughout her career she worked to integrate fishermen’s knowledge into scientific research and policy. She is founder and long-time editor of Commercial Fisheries News, co-founder of Maine Fishermen’s Forum which she ran for many years and is the retired founding Director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.
Dr. Nick Record is a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. He is also a researcher for the U.S. National Science Foundation’s program to enhance research competitiveness (EPSCoR). Record has worked on projects covering topics from viruses to whales and ocean physics but focuses his current research on environmental DNA (eDNA), which is DNA that has been shed by organisms into their environment.
Dr. William Balch is a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. His research focuses on factors that affect the distribution of phytoplankton. Recently, Balch’s research focuses on ocean acidification and its effects on Coccolithophores, a type of phytoplankton.
Dr. Michael Lomas is a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. As a biogeochemist, he focuses on understanding the role of phytoplankton in the carbon biological pump. Lomas’s current research studies the differences between species of phytoplankton, their different roles in the food web, and how they might respond to climate change.
Doug Rasher is a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. He is a marine ecologist who studies how human impact alters the biodiversity and resilience of kelp forests and reef ecosystems. Using Environmental DNA, Rasher investigates ways in which coastal kelp forests are changing in response to climate change.