10 Most Famous Environmentalists in the World

 In our time, we have had individuals rise against the odds of the government and big corporations to advocate and selflessly help out in environmental protection.

These people are special and you can be one of them.

Who are these people? Many call them environmentalists, some call them environmental advocators, and the list goes on.


Table of Contents

Who is an Environmentalist?

According to Wikipedia,

An environmentalist can be considered a supporter of the goals of the environmental movement, “a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities”.

An environmentalist subscribes to the idea that the environment has a decisive influence on how people behave.

They work to address issues with the environment like water and air pollution, depletion of natural resources, and unchecked population expansion.

They are interested in maintaining natural resources, protecting the environment, and finding solutions to environmental issues.

An environmentalist is someone who supports safeguarding the biosphere from exploitation by human activity through practices including ecosystem preservation, waste minimization, and pollution prevention.

An environmentalist promotes, aids in, or facilitates conservation activities to save and conserve biodiversity and natural resources on behalf of a non-profit or for-profit organization.

Your role includes encouraging awareness and action among public figures, lawmakers, and business executives.

Finding ways to save your firm money while committing to eco-friendly practices may be one of your tasks if you pick an environmentalist career path that takes you into a corporate setting.

You may be able to use your skills to raise awareness as an activist and on a wider scale when working as a professional environmentalist.

10 Most Famous Environmentalists in the World

There are many environmentalists today who are making difference but the one we have below have stood out to become famous not just in their home country but in the world.

Note: this is not a comprehensive list as you could be the next famous environmentalist if you start doing something about your environment.

1. David Attenborough

Inspired millions of people worldwide with his love for nature

Currently, David Attenborough is arguably the most well-known environmentalist. He has spent decades documenting the unadulterated beauty and strength of nature as a broadcaster, writer, and naturalist.

The Life collection, a group of natural history documentaries that provide a thorough overview of the animal and plant life on Earth, is the natural history documentary series for which he is most known.

2. Isatou Ceesay

Established a revolutionary community recycling project in Gambia.

Gambian campaigner Isatou Ceesay may not be among the most well-known environmentalists, but her work exemplifies the effectiveness of grassroots activism in bringing about significant change.

In the Gambia, outside of a few urban areas, communities are in charge of handling their waste disposal, which is where Ceesay’s activism first took root.

After observing the ensuing unchecked plastic pollution, Ceesay established the One Plastic Bag recycling initiative in the Gambia to assist women in turning plastic waste into items that can be marketed.

3. Jane Goodall

Her multi-decade study on the social interactions of wild chimpanzees changed behavioral science.

One of today’s most well-known environmentalists is Jane Goodall. The 55-year study of the social interactions of wild chimpanzees is what makes the British ethologist the world’s top authority on chimpanzees.

Goodall started her research in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, and throughout the years, she has dispelled many myths regarding chimpanzees.

She discovered, for instance, that they can create and use tools and that their social behaviors are extremely sophisticated and intricate.

4. Julia ‘Butterfly’ Hill

Lived in a tree for over two years to prevent loggers from cutting it down.

American environmentalist Julia “Butterfly” Hill is most known for spending 738 days inside a 1,500-year-old California redwood to stop loggers from the Pacific Lumber Company from felling it.

Hill is now a well-known speaker, bestselling author, and co-founder of the Circle of Life Foundation, an organization devoted to environmental preservation.

5. Elizabeth Kolbert

Published a seminal book on the approaching sixth extinction.

American journalist Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

The sixth mass extinction is likely to be humanity’s greatest enduring legacy, and the best-selling book offers an urgent look at it.

Kolbert brings to light the most crucial issue of our time with in-depth field reporting and compelling tales of animals on the verge of extinction.

6. Reinhold Messner

Broke many world records and used his platform to aid in mountain ecosystem preservation.

One of the greatest mountaineers of all time is Reinhold Messner. The Italian national was the first climber to ascend all 14 eight-thousanders, made the first solo ascent of Mount Everest, and the first ascent of Everest without the use of oxygen.

Along with crossing the Gobi Desert by himself, he was the first person to do so while using neither snowmobiles nor dog sleds in Antarctica and Greenland.

Messner is one of the founding members of Mountain Wilderness, an organization dedicated to protecting mountainous areas worldwide.

He founded six Messner Mountain Museums to preserve the culture and history of high-altitude regions, and from 1999 to 2004 he even held the position of MEP for the Italian Green Party.

7. Aditya Mukarji

Removed more than 500,000 plastic straws from an India.

Aditya Mukarji, an Indian environmental activist, started going to cafés and restaurants when he was 13 to convince the owners to stop using plastic straws in favor of more environmentally friendly options.

Two years later, the young activist has contributed to the elimination of more than 500,000 straws from use. He has inspired a new generation of environmentalists by speaking passionately and persuasively on national television about the urgent need to address plastic trash.

He accepted the invitation to join the UN Youth Climate Action Summit in 2019 and Greta Thunberg’s climate change march in New York’s Foley Square.

Now, Mukarji wants to eliminate 1.5 million straws from use and combat other single-use plastics.

8. Greta Thunberg

Started a global movement in which 125 countries and millions of students engaged in school strikes.

Greta Thunberg has rapidly risen to prominence as an environmentalist over the past two years.

Thunberg started holding up a sign reading Skolstrejk för Klimatet (school strike for the climate) outside the Swedish parliament in 2018 when she was 15 years old, demanding more aggressive climate change mitigation measures.

Millions of students launched school strikes in 125 different countries as a result of her lone protest, which inspired a global movement.

Thunberg is today one of the most prominent opponents of climate change.

9. Isabella Tree

Rewilded 3,500 acres of land in West Sussex, Uk.

The adorable Isabella Tree probably didn’t intend to become a well-known environmentalist.

She acknowledges that the 3,500 acres of family-owned property in West Sussex that she is attempting to rewild first served as something of a home experiment.

Because it shows how quickly land can be restored through rewilding efforts, the project has gained national attention for conservation in the UK.

10. Paul Watson

Co-founded Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Society, and he frequently found himself caught between harpoon ships and whales.

A contentious person in the area of the environmental movement is Paul Watson. He co-founded Greenpeace as a supporter of direct action but later quit the group when their nonviolent strategy did not align with his.

The Sea Shepherd Society, a direct action organization dedicated to marine conservation, was eventually co-founded by him.

As the captain of the Sea Shepherd, Watson has spent more than 30 years standing between harpoon ships and whales to prevent the clubbing of Arctic fur seals.

However, despite receiving an Interpol red notice and legal action from authorities in the US, Canada, Norway, Costa Rica, and Japan, he has never been charged.

10 Most Famous Environmentalists in India

Below are just a few of the famous environmental change-makers in India

1. Sunderlal Bahuguna

Fought for the protection of the Himalayan forests. He was a pioneering Indian environmentalist, so to speak.

2. Salim Ali  or Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali.

Popularly known as the “Birdman of India.” He was crucial in establishing the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park).

3. S. P. Godrej or Sohrab Pirojsha Godrej

He went by the name Soli in society. He was the chairman of the Godrej Group of Industries and an Indian businessman, entrepreneur, environmentalist, and philanthropist.

4. M. S. Swaminathan or Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan

Renowned for playing a key part in the “Green Revolution” in India. From 1972 until 1979, he served as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s director-general.

5. Rajendra Singh

Renowned environmentalist and water conservationist from Rajasthan’s Alwar district (India). Popularly known as the “Waterman of India.”

6. Jadav Payeng

A forestry worker and environmental activist from Majuli. Popularly known as the “Forest Man of India.” He has planted and cared for trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra that has developed into a forest reserve for many years.

7. Sumaira Abdulali

An environmentalist concentrated on noise pollution and sand mining. She established the Awaaz Foundation, an NGO.

8. Medha Patkar

A well-known environmentalist and social activist from India who played a key part in the Narmada Bachao Andolan

9. Marimuthu Yoganathan

Popularly known as The Tree Man of India. He is a well-known eco-activist and a bus conductor for the Tamilnadu State Transport Corporation.

10. Kinkri Devi

She had a unique voice in the environmental movement. How are we to overlook her? She was a fearless Dalit environmentalist and campaigner. In Himachal Pradesh, she faced a strong mining mafia.

8 Most Famous Environmentalists In Australia

Below are the 10 most famous environmentalists in Australia

1. Aila Keto

The Australia Rainforest Conservation Society, formerly known as the Queensland Rainforest Conservation Society, was founded by Aila Inkeri Keto AO, who also serves as its president.

2. Bob Brown

Former senator and Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, Robert James Brown is a former Australian politician, physician, and environmentalist.

3. Ian Kiernan

An Australian yachtsman, builder, developer, environmentalist, and conservationist, Ian Bruce Carrick Kiernan is most known for co-founding the non-profit Clean Up Australia campaign in 1989 and 1993 with Kim McKay.

4. John Wamsley

An environmentalist from Australia, Dr. John Wamsley. He won the Environmentalist of the Year award from the Prime Minister in 2003 and is well recognized for his efforts to establish a network of wildlife sanctuaries all around Australia.

5. Judith Wright

Australian poet, environmentalist, and advocate for Aboriginal land rights Judith Arundell Wright. She was a Christopher Brennan Award winner.

6. Peter Cullen

Australian water expert Professor Peter Cullen, AO FTSE, MAgrSc, DipEd (Melb), and Hon DUniv (Canb), was a renowned figure.

7. Peter Cundall

Australian horticulturist, conservationist, author, broadcaster, and television personality Peter Joseph Cundall was born in England.

He continued to host the ABC TV program Gardening Australia up until the age of 81. His final program aired on July 26, 2008.

8. Peter Garrett

Australian singer, activist, and former politician Peter Robert Garrett is also an environmentalist. For eleven years starting in 2003, he presided over the Australian Conservation Foundation.

10 Most Famous Female Environmentalists

Here are the 10 most famous female environmentalists

1. Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai put in a lot of effort to promote women’s rights and land protection.

In her native Kenya, she was the creator of the Green Belt movement, which promoted women’s rights and environmental preservation.

She received recognition from numerous world leaders for her achievements in addition to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her advocacy of democracy, sustainable development, and peace.

2. Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is most renowned for her devotion to chimpanzees and many years of fieldwork studying the group.

She left England for Tanzania in July 1960 to learn more about the chimpanzee species. Jane established the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, which carries on her global studies.

She also started Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots to give kids of all ages the tools they need to rally their friends and follow their passions.

3. Isatou Ceesay

Isatou Ceesay, a Gambian activist known as the “Queen of Recycling,” founded the recycling initiative One Plastic Bag in the Gambia.

Ceesay aims to educate people about recycling and minimizing trash production. She established a project that upcycles garbage into plastic yarn and bags.

Her project has not only significantly decreased the amount of rubbish in her area, but it has also given hundreds of West African women jobs and a monthly income.

4.  Rachel Carson

In her now-famous book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson exposed the lies peddled by the chemical industry and the use of synthetic pesticides, particularly DDT.

Instigating the environmental revolution was this book. The dominant and overwhelmingly detrimental impact that humans have on the natural world is the book’s overarching topic.

The Environmental Protection Agency has established in the US under the Nixon administration thanks to Carson’s lasting contributions, which also sparked a discussion about how humans are affecting the environment.

5. Autumn Peltier

Peltier has been working on environmental concerns for years while being only 16 years old.

The Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Northern Ontario is where Peltier, who is from, got her start in the clean water movement.

At the age of 13, she spoke at the UN to promote the rights of water and people to access clean water.

Peltier was nominated for the 2017 Children’s International Peace Prize and attended the 2015 Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden.

6. Gretha Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist, is best known for starting the Fridays for Future movement.

Greta is well known for her advocacy for the fight against the climate issue.

At the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Climate Conference, and the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, she has addressed world leaders.

Young environmentalists all over the world have been motivated by “The Greta Effect,” which has also raised public awareness of the world’s climate predicament.

7. Vandana Shiva

Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva has dedicated most of her life to the protection of biodiversity.

She established Navdanya, a research center, in 1991 with the mission of preserving the variety and purity of indigenous seeds while simultaneously advancing ethical business practices.

Her research center is devoted to tackling today’s most pressing environmental and social justice problems.

8. Berta Cáceres – Honduras

Berta Cacerés established the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras and, most significantly, was successful in preventing the construction of a sizable hydroelectric dam project on the Gualcarque River, a project that might have jeopardized the Lenca people’s access to clean water.

Cáceres was previously involved in defending Indigenous rights and halting deforestation from illegal logging before he successfully battled Sinohydro, the largest dam constructor in the world, and the International Finance Corporation, which had supported the multi-dam project.

The reason Cáceres was successful is not only because of her perseverance but also because of her bravery at a time when Honduras was becoming one of the most hazardous places in the world for environmentalists.

2016 saw the assassination of Cáceres, who had abandoned the damn project three years prior. She continues to serve as a model for the environment.

9. Sylvia Earle

The initiator of the push for ocean exploration was Sylvia Earle. Earle was one of the first underwater explorers to use SCUBA equipment and has logged more than 6,000 hours underwater.

Earle founded Mission Blue, an organization that works to create marine protected zones, sometimes known as Hope Spots, after receiving the 2009 TED Prize.

A deeper understanding of the world’s oceans and the need for their protection is being gained because of Earle’s ongoing research.

10. Nguy Thi Khanh

Nguy Thi Khanh witnessed the negative impacts of mining on the environment and the health of her neighbors while growing up in a small Vietnamese town next to a coal plant.

To advance sustainable development and energy in a nation where energy needs have been rapidly increasing, she developed the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID).

To unite local, national, and worldwide environmental organizations, she founded the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance.

She has also worked with legislators to emphasize the need to transition away from non-sustainable energy sources. She received the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts.

5 Most Famous Black Environmentalists

The history of the environmental movement has been rocky.

Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn, two historical protectors of nature in this nation, advocated conservation while also supporting white supremacy.

Early environmentalists like Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir spoke and wrote deplorable things about Black and brown people.

It’s unfortunate since institutional racism frequently causes Black and Brown communities to experience the harshest environmental effects.

Black people haven’t, however, shied away from the historical preservation effort. Only a few of their names will be remembered here.

1. Solomon Brown


Solomon Brown was the Smithsonian Institution’s first African-American employee.

Despite having no formal education, he advanced through the ranks and contributed letters that help explain what it was like to be a free Black man during the Civil War.

He became knowledgeable about natural history, collecting numerous illustrated specimens and maps, and gave lectures on topics like “The Social Habits of Insects.”

2. George Washington Carver


George Washington Carver, who was born a slave, rose to prominence as a scientist and was arguably one of the most well-known Black people in America at the time.

As an agricultural researcher, he is best recognized today for his support of the pervasive peanut, which enabled the poor south’s depleted soil to be replenished.

He was a pioneer in bringing crop rotation and yield information to farmers.

3. Captain Charles Young


After Charles Young’s parents managed to free themselves from slavery, his father soon enlisted in the U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery near the close of the Civil War in 1865.

When he and his men were recruited to oversee what is now Sequoia National Park in northern California, he became the first Black national park superintendent.

In those early years, the US Army frequently attempted to defend the national parks.

Young and his forces sought the assistance of the local population to build roads and put an end to illicit logging, sheep grazing, and poaching.

4. MaVynee Betsch “The Beach Lady”


She was passionate about American Beach, an African-American beach on Amelia Island in Florida that A.L.

Lewis established during the Jim Crow era to give Black people a break from being barred from other beaches. Betsch would have experienced these humiliations firsthand.

5. Wangari Maathai


Wangari Maathai put in a lot of effort to promote women’s rights and land protection. In her native Kenya, she was the creator of the Green Belt movement, which promoted women’s rights and environmental preservation.

She received recognition from numerous world leaders for her achievements in addition to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her advocacy of democracy, sustainable development, and peace.


There are many other people who, in addition to the environmentalists described in this paper, have contributed significantly to the preservation of the environment.

As environmentalists all around the world continue to battle for the cause, it’s crucial to take inspiration from the writings of influential experts.

This entails exploring their past and present efforts as well as their call to action.

We must contribute to the protection of the environment and support others in their efforts.

Our contribution to the environment should extend beyond the pages of a textbook and the study of environmental principles. It should be seen in the actual world.

To conserve our environment, we must take proactive measures and express our opinions.


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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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