20 Champions Of Climate Change

These are some of the lesser-known names behind one the most pressing issues of our generation.

Even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, climate change still has its doubters. But luckily for all of us, plenty of powerful people around the world have dedicated themselves to speaking out about the risks it poses and the need to address it.

Some of these prominent voices, such as President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and Bill Nye, you already know. But here are 20 other important activists -- who include scientists and actors, as well as political and business leaders -- from around the world.

Scroll down to check them out, and add the names of your favorite activists in the comments below:

Jason Box
Dr. Jason Box, a professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, has devoted years to studying Greenland's ice. In total he's he’s spent a year on Greenland tundra. As the lead author of the Greenland section of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration's State of the Climate Report, he has protested the Keystone XL pipeline, predicted the complete melting of the surface of Greenland and spoken openly about the dangers of arctic sea floor carbon being released into the atmosphere.
James Hansen
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
This man has been a voice of climate change science for nearly three decades. James Hansen has raised broad public awareness of global warming since his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988. An atmospheric physicist who retired from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and became an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Earth Institute, has more recently discussed the 2-degrees threshold for warming.
Katharine Hayhoe
MCT via Getty Images
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a pioneer in climate change communication to a predominantly Christian audience. In fact, she wrote the book on it: "A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-based Decisions." An atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, Hayhoe is the director of the Climate Science Center.
Jamie Henn
Courtesy of Jamie Henn
Jamie Henn has garnered impressive social media support for climate change activism as a blogger, grassroots organizer and co-founder of 350.org. He led an international campaign, which included over 20,000 climate change demonstrations in more than 180 countries. Henn helped lead the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline and continues to organize on-the-ground resistance to policies and laws that fail to protect the environment.
Charles Keeling
You may have heard of the late Dr. Charles David Keeling (1928- 2005) for his famous graph, showing the ongoing change in carbon dioxide concentration in the Earth's atmosphere, called the Keeling curve. His carbon dioxide analysis was the first evidence of anthropogenic contribution to the "greenhouse effect" and global warming, which has since been confirmed.
Naomi Klein
Cole Bennetts via Getty Images
Naomi Klein is at the intersection between policy, economics and climate science -- and is leading the way. The author and filmmaker recently published a book called This Changes Everything, based on her influential 2011 essay called "Capitalism vs the Climate." She argues that drastically reducing our emissions is the only way to simultaneously reduce social inequality, bolster our economies and save the Earth.
Lucy Lawless
Amanda Edwards via Getty Images
Lucy Lawless, famed for her role in "Xena," isn't just an on- screen warrior princess. She has also been an off-screen warrior for the environment. Lawless is a "climate ambassador" for the Greenpeace "Sign On" campaign, and just like Xena, she's not afraid of a fight. She was arrested in 2012 in New Zealand for boarding an oil drilling ship with five other Greenpeace activists. They refused to disembark because they wanted to prevent the ship from departing to the Arctic to lead an oil exploration.
Syukuro Manabe
Aaron Houston/Star Ledger/Corbis
Dr. Syukuro Manabe is a Japanese meteorologist and climatologist who co-wrote one of the most influential climate change papers of all time in 1967 called
“Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity." He pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change effects and natural climate variations. His prolific work comprises a major section of the first global assessments of climate change published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Bill McKibben
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bill McKibben has been called "the world's best green journalist." He has written 12 books about the environment and countless articles, which have educated millions of readers about climate change issues. An avid environmentalist, he founded 350.org and has been arrested multiple times for civil disobedience, notably while in Washington D.C. fighting the Keystone XL pipeline.
Jean Robert Petit
Glaciologist Dr. Jean Robert Petit made history when he published a paper called "Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica." The paper, written in 1999, included the first comprehensive climate record ever created, and showed that present day levels of carbon dioxide and methane are higher than at any other time in the past 420,000 years.
Johan Rockström
Johan Rockström is at the forefront of sustainable development as the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, where he strategizes how land regions with low water supply can survive and flourish in the coming years of extreme weather from climate change. He was also Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute from 2004-2012 and developed the concept of mankind's "planetary boundaries," which, if crossed, will lead to "abrupt or irreversible environmental changes." Now, organizations, governments, NGOs and companies adopted the boundaries as guidelines for their business and to guide discussions about sustainable growth.
Gavin Schmidt
Gavin Schmidt holds an extremely important position in the world of climate change as director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. As a climatologist, climate modeler, and the co-founder of the award-winning climate science blog RealClimate, he is considered one of the world’s best climate bloggers and won the first Climate Communications Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2011.
Sheldon Whitehouse
Bill Clark via Getty Images
Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island, is so steadfast in his commitment to climate policy that he gives a speech about climate change in the senate every single week. The speeches, part of a series called "Time to Wake Up," urge his colleagues to move forward on climate change policy. In 2013, he teamed up with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to form the bicameral Task Force on Climate Change.

More on this topic:

Also on HuffPost:

Popular in the Community


What's Hot