Winner: Jane Goodall
To many TDG readers, Jane Goodall probably needs no introduction, having served as a brilliant and passionate voice for conservation and for compassion to animals for five decades. Goodall's groundbreaking research on chimpanzee behavior redefined our relationship to the natural world. And her work through the Jane Goodall Institute and as a UN Messenger of Peace has helped secure protection for critically endangered animals, often across borders and in war zones. Goodall has written many books for adults and children, appears frequently on TV, and her heroic efforts have long inspired millions.
Learn all about our 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award winner!
About the Nominees
Harrison Ford has long been a major supporter of the environment, in no small part through his 15 years as an active member on the board of Conservation International. Ford has flown a chopper through the jungles of Venezuela on a conservation mission, and he has helped raise millions of dollars and considerable awareness. Ford even has an ant named after him: Pheidole harrisonfordi . In late 2010, Ford made an impassioned plea in front of the UN in Japan, calling for all governments to step up commitments to support biodiversity.
Prolific green writer and educator Bill McKibben has successfully added direct action to his long resume, after leading 350.org and the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, which both convened thousands of events in hundreds of countries, shining an unprecedented light on climate change. The former New Yorker writer's first book, The End of Nature, is still cited as the seminal work on climate change, and it has been printed in more than 20 languages. In 2010 the Boston Globe called McKibben "the nation's leading environmentalist," and Foreign Policy magazine has dubbed him one of the most important global thinkers.
One of the world's foremost experts on the effects of oil spills on wildlife, Dr. Riki Ott rose to prominence in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez tragedy. During the recent Gulf spill, the Canadian marine toxicologist again served on the frontlines of the cleanup effort, and has been one of the most prominent voices for documenting the effects on ocean and human health. Ott is the author of Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and Not One Drop: Promises, Betrayal, and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. She founded three nonprofit organizations that work in the field and has served on many advisory committees, including during her days as a commercial salmon "fisherm'am."
A tireless campaigner for ocean conservation, Carl Safina is president and co-founder of the Blue Ocean Institute, and author of highly acclaimed books on the subject, including Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross. With his PhD in marine ecology, years of research and time spent as a commercial fisherman, few are as well acquainted with our troubled waters, or as eloquent a spokesperson for action. Safina has led campaigns to ban high-seas drift-nets, reform federal fisheries law, and achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty. In 1990 he founded the Living Oceans Program at the National Audubon Society.
British billionaire Richard Branson has emerged as one of the strongest supporters of environmental protection from the business community. He recently pledged $3 billion over 10 years for research into renewable energy sources, sustainable fuels, and other green technologies. Branson has also offered millions in prize money for innovations that address environmental problems. His Virgin Unite charity has been working to promote sustainable business in Africa and beyond, while his Carbon War Room has literally declared war on climate change by seeking innovation-based solutions. Many of Branson's companies are also walking the talk, by experimenting with alternative fuels and other measures.
- Brian Clark Howard