James Hansen is a must on this list of heroes! James has a long history of research as a climatologist and was one of the first scientists to raise alarm in the 1980’s about the effect of rising CO2 emissions. Until 2013, James was head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has written and co-authored numerous scientific papers. James has always sought to be positive about our ability to take on the climate challenge, but at the same time, he has been very critical of those individuals and companies who attempt to misrepresent or mislead for profit or personal gain. While many others would retire at the end of a distinguished career, James has chosen to increase his level of political advocacy at all levels, including challenging our current paths by actively demonstrating and being arrested. He is definitely a person of honour – one who works to understand our world and who challenges dangerous and destructive short-term thinking.
Elon Musk is on my heroes’ page because of his visionary approach to his work. While others may have enjoyed the benefits of business success, Elon was not content with his achievements with PayPal, and he decided to use his wealth for ventures to benefit future generations. He co-founded and provided the initial funding for Tesla Motors, building a company to develop the Roadster and later the Model S sedan, both significant vehicles for the emerging electric car industry. Elon follows this interest (and others) with tenacity, and he is challenging one of the most entrenched industries in the world with his innovation of design and distribution system to provide affordable electric cars.
Bill McKibben is a hero for his global view and his passion for action to address the climate issues. His written work and his advocacy are based on scientific work, his own and that of other climate scientists. Bill is a journalist and author of many books and has taken his work further to form a group called 350.org. Bill is on my heroes list for his tireless pursuit of social change and because of his engagement with the global community. Bill identifies the challenges and the obstacles and readily takes on those multinationals who consider profit is paramount and who have no consideration for a safe and sustainable planet. Bill is one person, making a difference, not just in his own backyard, but globally.