Hundreds of thousands of people around the world raised their voices this week to demand action on climate change. The demonstrations, which happened as global leaders met for the UN General Assembly, showcased the growth and strength of the movement. It is still to be seen if governments and corporations will take timely action, but it is clear that activists and communities will continue mobilizing and demanding for change.
The following four excerpts highlight leaders, organizations, and strategies from environmental movements in the past. From Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Godmother of Sustainable Development, to labor and environmental activist Chico Mendes, these activists offer lessons and inspiration for anybody who cares about our planet.
It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of big environmental challenges—but we need inspiration now more than ever. In Nature’s Allies, Larry Nielsen presents the inspiring stories of eight conservation pioneers, John Muir, Ding Darling, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Chico Mendes, Billy Frank Jr., Wangari Maathai, and Gro Harlem Brundtland. They show that through passion and perseverance we can each make a difference, even in the face of political opposition.
Excerpt: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Godmother of Sustainable Development
Over the past two decades, a select group of small but highly effective grassroots organizations have achieved remarkable success in protecting endangered species and forests in the United States. The Rebirth of Environmentalism tells for the first time the story of these grassroots biodiversity groups.
Excerpt: Boldness Has Genius: The Lessons of Grassroots Biodiversity Activism for the Campaign Against Global Warming
For anyone who feels compelled to do more than change their light bulbs or occasionally carpool, Ignition is an essential guide. Combining incisive essays with success stories and web resources, the book helps readers answer the most important question we all face: “What can I do?”
Excerpt: Let's Cause Trouble, Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble
Author Andrew Revkin artfully interweaves the moving story of Chico Mendes's struggle with the broader natural and human history of the world's largest tropical rain forest. "It became clear," writes Revkin, acclaimed science reporter for The New York Times, "that the murder was a microcosm of the larger crime: the unbridled destruction of the last great reservoir of biological diversity on Earth." In his life and untimely death, Mendes forever altered the course of development in the Amazon, and he has since become a model for environmental campaigners everywhere.
Excerpt: The Burning Season