The Guardian newspaper, taking nominations from key environmental figures, has published a list of its ultimate green heroes, asking who are the people around the world who can bring about change, who are the pioneers coming up with radical solutions and able to force society and industry to do things differently and get us out of the ecological mess we have seen throughout 2007?
The Guardian consulted key people in the global environmental debate to come up with a list of the 50 people most able to prevent the continuing destruction of the planet. This panel included prominent scientists, activists, and politicians. Following this process the Guardian’s science, environment and economics correspondents added their own nominations to establish a final 50.
High profile figures were debated and unknown ones came to light. Some of the relatively unknown individuals made who made it into the final group were seen as important in representing a significant grassroots or social movement. Others made the list because they were considered the driving forces behind key decision-makers.
The final list includes an Indian peasant farmer, the world’s leading geneticist, German and Chinese politicians, a novelist, a film director, a civil engineer, a seed collector and a scientist who has persuaded an African president to make a tenth of his country a national park. While the list is not definitive, nor ranked, the Guardian states it “gives a sense of the vast well of people who represent the stirrings of a remarkable scientific and social revolution, and give us hope as we enter 2008”.
Slow Food International president Carlo Petrini was nominated by Indian physicist and ecologist Vandana Shiva for the important leadership he shows in food and environmental issues. Petrini is described as, “the only anti-McDonald’s activist who has been welcomed to the offices of David Cameron, David Miliband, Prince Charles, Al Gore and Barack Obama. The founder of the international Slow Food movement is idolized by rich and leisured foodies for promoting high quality, small-scale farming and organizing a relaxed life around long lunches. But Petrini, an Italian leftie of the old school, has a far more serious purpose than saving the pilchard or Parma ham. The Slow Food movement has now expanded across 100 countries and is throwing poisoned darts at the whole fast food culture and the multinational food producers that between them have wrecked so much of the environment.”