People worldwide recognize global warming as a major issue thanks to the efforts of activists around the globe who are constantly reminding the media, the government, and the public about the climate crisis. The four individuals in the following sections, from very different backgrounds, demonstrate the many ways we can all fight global warming, and how just one person can truly make a difference.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has been an advocate for environmental issues for most, if not all, of his life, and he has actually done more for the fight against climate change as an activist than as a politician. He, along with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for that activism.
Today, Gore is probably best known for the documentary (and following book) An Inconvenient Truth, based on the presentation he gives worldwide on the urgency of climate change. This film led to the creation of The Climate Project, a group that trains individuals around the world to give the acclaimed presentation seen in the documentary. Gore also organized the international Live Earth benefit concerts, which raised the climate change awareness of the more than 1 billion people who tuned in.
He has built on this momentum by spearheading the We Can Solve It campaign, aimed at further educating, engaging, and mobilizing people around the world to take immediate action on climate change. This campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit and non-partisan organization. Gore continues to tell the world that climate change is an urgent problem, requiring an urgent and inspired response.
Wangari Maathai is best known for founding and building the Green Belt Movement, a group whose main focus is to plant trees to restore the natural environment. Starting in Kenya, the movement has since become international.
A pragmatic and effective organizer, Maathai was often on the wrong side of the Moi government, serving time in jail and under threat for her work. Her amazing life of achievements includes being the first woman in East and Central Africa to complete her doctorate, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and serving on the Kenyan Cabinet. Most importantly, she has effectively mobilized millions of individuals to be a part of the solution. At the top of her current to-do list is to plant a billion trees in Africa, helping African countries adapt to the effects of climate change.
A long-time advocate for Inuit rights, Sheila Watt-Cloutier speaks out today on climate change. She and her community, in fact, are already feeling its effects. Originally an advocate against contaminants in Arctic wildlife that the Inuit depend on, her focus expanded to climate change advocacy when she became the chair of the international Inuit Circumpolar Conference. WattCloutier has made the world understand that climate change is inextricably linked with the survival of Inuit culture and spirit. In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and garnered the Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award for this work.
While she was president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Watt-Cloutier brought a lawsuit — that continues to this day — against the United States to the Inter-American Commission ("Court") on Human Rights, alleging that the U.S. government's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol is threatening the Inuit with cultural genocide.
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