10 surprising eco-warriors

By Rachel England Friday 03 May 2013



10) Musician Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow is an experienced eco-friendly party planner, taking great delight in throwing a baby shower for her son using only natural and organic products, but she caused controversy back in 2007 by urging people to only use one square of toilet paper after they’d... erm... ‘done their business’.

9) Former James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan

Forget shooting up villains and abseiling down water dams, in real life Pierce Brosnan is more concerned about the environment than ol’ Bond will ever be. He serves on the boards of several eco-groups, including the Natural Resources Defence Council and California Coastal Protection Network. He and his wife have been inducted into the Environmental Hall of Fame for their work, and Brosnan has even been voted ‘Best Dressed Environmentalist’!

8) The Duke of York, Prince Andrew

Long-known as ‘Air Miles Andy’, many would say his princely counterpart Charles is more of a winner in the green stakes, but Prince Andrew has been hailed by scientists for his role in developing a camera to expose illegal logging in the Amazon basin and the Congo. Scientists say that without his strong support for the project, it would never have happened.

7) Former footballer Gary Neville

Former Man U player Gary Neville became the subject of many a Teletubbies joke when he opted to build an underground eco-home, but he proved his green mettle by subsequently pouring his footballing riches into another green cause; a major non-profit initiative promoting environmentalism through sport.

6) America’s 37th president, Richard Nixon

Well known for initially escalating America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, Nixon had no obvious green leanings. However, he did set up the Environmental Protection Agency, banned the insecticide DDT and passed the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act, making him something of a covert green hero.

5) Media mogul Rupert Murdoch

The self-proclaimed “billionaire tyrant” (as expressed himself on an episode of The Simpsons) surprised the world when, in 2007, he announced plans to make his massive News Corp company carbon neutral by 2010. Which he duly did.

4) Rapper and music producer Pharrell Williams

Forget guns and ‘women of the night’, rapper Pharell Williams has more wholesome pursuits on his mind. In 2008 he became the owner of eco-thread company Bionic Yarn, which makes fabric out of recycled plastic bottles. “When someone tells you that something is sustainable, you think it’s going to feel like cardboard. And the only way to dispel that is to express the cool,” he said. However, he’s keen to make sure his eco-attitude doesn’t mar his bad boy image: “I’m not a tree-hugger”, he insists.

3) Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

One of the most divisive political leaders the United Kingdom has ever seen, Margaret Thatcher’s alleged ‘green period’ lasted no more than two years, but in that time she made several significant speeches on the importance of recognising the claims and theories about global warming. She was one of the first major world politicians to suggest worldwide climate change legislation – at a time when evidence was still very much lacking.

2) Founder of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan

One of history’s most famous – and allegedly most blood-thirsty – rulers, Genghis Khan spent his life literally destroying populations. By the time he died he’d conquered everything from the Sea of Japan to the Caspian Sea, which, unbeknownst to him, had an inadvertently positive effect on the atmosphere. According to researchers, the huge swathes of farmland destroyed in the take-over would have returned to natural forest, subsequently cooling the planet.

1) Former al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden

Once the most wanted man in the western world, Osama Bin Laden surprised environmentalists around the world by releasing an audio tape in which he slammed former US president George Bush for rejecting the Kyoto treaty and condemned global corporations for contributing to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. "Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury,” he said. “The phenomenon is an actual fact."

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