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Top 10 Legendary Heroes of Planet earth

December 5, 2012

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” ― Mahatma Gandhi



1) Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. She is a world-renowned pioneer of the study of chimpanzee behavior and prolific author of books and articles, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. In 1995 Goodall received the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal for her extraordinary 35-year study of wild chimpanzees and for tirelessly defending the natural world we share.

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” – Jane Goodall



2) Mike Fay

J. Michael Fay is an American ecologist and conservationist who has relentlessly worked to raise awareness of endangered wildlife and threatened ecosystem and contributed to protection of vast swaths of rainforest of Africa because of his field research and advocacy.

In 1996, Fay flew over the forests of Congo and Gabon and realized there was a vast, intact forest corridor spanning the two countries from the Oubangui to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1997, he walked the entire corridor, over 2,000 miles, surveying trees, wildlife, and human impacts on 12 uninhabited forest blocks. Called Megatransect, the project had the objective of bringing to the world’s attention the last pristine forest in central Africa and the need for protection. This work led to a historic initiative by the Gabonese government to create a system of 13 national parks in Gabon, making up some 11,000 square miles (28,500 square kilometers).

In 2004, Fay completed the Megaflyover, an eight-month aerial survey of the entire African continent. He logged 800 hours and took 116,000 vertical images of human impact and associated ecosystems, many of which are now visible on Google Earth.

In 2008 Fay completed the Redwood Transect, a new project to learn more about the redwood forest. He walked the entire range of the redwood tree, over 700 miles.



3) Al Gore

Al Gore served as the 45th vice president of United States, under the term of President Bill Clinton but    is most famous for his environmental leadership throughout his public service, and after he left office, contributed significantly to our society pivoting from regional environmental protection to a more global perspective on human impacts to our environment (global climate change). Al Gore for his environmental activism won the Nobel Peace Prize (joint award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2007). Recently scientist named newly discovered fish, the Cumberland darter (Etheostoma gore) after Vice President Gore’s for his commitment and work to solve the climate crisis and awareness for the climate change issue.

“The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves. We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.”-Al Gore

Film Title: An Inconvenient Truth.


4) David Attenborough

David Attenborough is one of the most widely respected TV broadcasters and has become known as the face and voice of natural history documentaries. His career in broadcasting has stretched over more than a half a century to 1952.

David Attenborough is famous for his natural history series that he wrote and produced. These used ground breaking filming techniques and his ease of presentation made the material very accessible and of interest to a new generation of viewers.

He also narrated over 250 programmes like Wildlife on One (1977–2005), Life on Earth (1979), The Life of Birds (1998), The Life of Mammals (2002), Life in Cold Blood (2008), Planet Earth (British version) (2006), Life (2009), Frozen Planet (2011)

The key to David’s appeal is his ability to share his genuine enthusiasm and love for wildlife. His distinctive and calming voice have become synonymous with wildlife broadcasting. Interestingly a reader’s survey of Readers’ Digest found that David Attenborough was the most trusted of British celebrities.

In recent years David has become increasingly outspoken on issues such as environmental damage, global warming and extinction of particular species. He has stated that human overpopulation and global warming (caused by human activity) are the root cause of much of the world’s growing environmental problems. He has lent his voice to organisations such as WWF in their fight to protect certain species and campaign for wildlife. In the last episode of “State of the Planet” he summed up his feelings with this statement.

“The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there’s a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I’ve been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species.”- Sir David Attenborough

Life in Cold Blood - Generics of David Attenborough


5) George Schaller

George Beals Schaller is an American mammalogist, biologist, conservationist and author. Schaller is recognized by many as the world’s preeminent field biologist, studying wildlife throughout Africa, Asia and South America.

Schaller’s work in conservation has resulted in the protection of large stretches of area in the Amazon, Brazil, the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, and forests in Southeast Asia. Due in part to Schaller’s work, over 20 parks or preserves worldwide have been established, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the Shey-Phoksundo National Park in Nepal, and the Changtang Nature Reserve, one of the world’s most significant wildlife refuges. At over 200,000 miles (320,000 km), the Chang Tang Nature Reserve is triple the size of America’s largest wildlife refuge, and was called “One of the most ambitious attempts to arrest the shrinkage of natural ecosystems,” by The New York Times.

For his conservation work George Schaller has accrued a variety of international wildlife conservation awards, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan’s International Cosmos Prize, the China Environmental Prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Geographic Society’s Adventure magazine and the North American Nature Photography Association and the Indianapolis Animal Conservation Prize.



6) Steve Irwin

Stephen Robert “Steve” Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nicknamed “The Crocodile Hunter”, was an Australian wildlife expert,television personality, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series which he co-hosted with his wife Terri.

Irwin was a passionate conservationist and believed in promoting environmentalism by sharing his excitement about the natural world rather than preaching to people. He was concerned with conservation of endangered animals and land clearing leading to loss of habitat.

Sadly Steve died due to a fatal stingray attack while shooting his documentary in the Great Barrier Reef in his native Australia, he would be much remembered for his conservation work and dedication to spread awareness about the plight of endangered species and their threatened habitats.

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
― Steve Irwin



7) Chico Mendes

Francisco “Chico” Mendes (December 15, 1944 – December 22, 1988) was a native of the Amazon rubber plantations and a rubber tapper by trade. To save the rainforest, Chico Mendes and the rubber workers union asked the government to set up reserves as they wanted people to use the forest without damaging it. He organized the plantation workers into labor unions, and brought their cause to the attention of the entire world when cattle ranchers-at the invitation of the Amazonian government-began a systematic deforestation of the precious rainforest lands that contribute a critical function in stabilizing the world climate. On the evening of Thursday, December 22, 1988, Mendes was assassinated in his Xapuri home by Darly Alves da Silva, a rancher.

The Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade), a body under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, is named in his honor.



8) Wangari Maathai

Wangari Muta Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”  She was called “Mama Trees ” was much loved by the people of Kenya and admired for her activism by people from around the but sadly in 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer.

“Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come. “  – Wangari Maathai



9) Rachel Carson

Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American writer and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

In her book “Silent Spring” (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, and it inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring



10) Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey ( January 16, 1932 – December 27, 1985) was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She was a passionate conservationist who devoted her life to the end to save mountain gorilla and its habitat for poachers and loggers.

Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Foundation in 1967, alternating her time between her fieldwork there and obtaining a Ph.D. based on her research at Cambridge University. She earned her degree in 1976 and later accepted a visiting associate professorship at Cornell University. In 1983, her book, Gorillas in the Mist, was published and became a best seller. A film with the same name was also released in 1988 starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey.

Considered the world’s leading authority on the physiology and behavior of mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey fought hard to protect these “gentle giants” from environmental and human hazards. She saw these animals as dignified, highly social creatures with individual personalities and strong family relationships. Her active conservationist stand to save these animals from game wardens, zoo poachers, and government officials who wanted to convert gorilla habitats to farmland caused her to fight for the gorillas not only via the media, but also by destroying poachers’ dogs and traps.

“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.”

– Dian Fossey


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