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5. James Lovelock (1919-), Biologist
Best known for his Gaia theory, which says the Earth's biosphere works as a single living organism, able to manipulate the climate and chemistry of the atmosphere and the oceans to keep them fit for life. The idea was hugely influential among fellow scientists and environmentalists, and religious and spiritual thinkers. An ex-Nasa scientist, his work on the Viking Mars missions sparked an interest in the way planets function.
4. David Attenborough (1926-), TV naturalist
The voice of wildlife, conservation and all things that wriggle, fly and roam across planet Earth, Sir David is still going strong. His programs have brought the natural world into the living rooms of millions over 50 years and his contribution to public awareness of natural science brought him a fellowship of the Royal Society.
3. Jonathon Porritt (1950-), Government adviser
An early activist with the Green party in the 1970s (then the Ecology party) and later party chairman. Tony Blair made him head of the Sustainable Development Commission in 2001, but he remains a critic of government policy on nuclear power and in 2005 urged the prime minister to "bang heads" across departments to combat greenhouse gas emissions. He irked some activists with his book Capitalism As If The World Matters, in which he argued that environmentalists must embrace a "evolved, intelligent and elegant" form of capitalism.
2. EF Schumacher (1911-1977), Green economist
Schumacher's 1973 book “Small is Beautiful” rewrote the rules by questioning whether the objectives of western economics were desirable. He was feted by alternative circles in the 1960s for unorthodox thinking, and his opposition to nuclear power and the use of chemicals in agriculture. He was an early critic of economic growth as a measure of national progress and helped to found the Soil Association.
1. Rachel Carson (1907-1964), Author of “Silent Spring”
Disturbed by the widespread use of synthetic chemical pesticides after the second world war, she went on to write a passionate and revelatory account of the damage done by the unrestrained use of pesticides. She is seen by many as the patron saint of the green movement. The book is credited with launching the concept of the environment as a system that sustains us and that we must learn to live within, rather than a mine, dump or playground.
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