Sustainability Leaders

The Security & Sustainability Guide

These brief profiles describe individuals who have made or are making important contributions to security and/or sustainability thinking and policies, through their research, outreach, and writing and/or by creating or leading important organizations (some in underlined italics, linked to S&S Guide entries).  They are many older men from Europe or North America.  Many new leaders are arising, however, many of them women and many in countries outside of Europe and North America. 

We welcome suggestions to consider for inclusion in this list. 

 

 

James E. Hansen (b.1941) is Director, Program on Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions, at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  He served as head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a...
Frances Moore Lappé (b.1944) is co-founder with daughter Anna Lappé of the Small Planet Institute (2002, Cambridge MA) and the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements. ...
Nicholas Stern (b.1946, a.k.a. Lord Stern of Brentford), is Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, where he is...
Ernst U. von Weizsäcker (b.1939) is a German scientist and politician, co-president of The Club of Rome since 2012, and former co-chair of UNEP’s International Resource Panel.  He served as...
Amory Lovins (b.1947) is a physicist, environmental scientist, and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute in 1982, where he serves as Chairman and Chief Scientist.  He is widely known for...
Paul Ekins (b.1950) is a British leader in sustainable economics.  He is Deputy Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the...
Mary Robinson (b.1944) is best known as the first female president of Ireland (1990-1997) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002).  She founded Realizing Rights—The Ethical Global Initiative...
Sylvia A. Earle (b.1935) is an oceanographer, marine biologist, explorer, and well-known author.  She was a Research Fellow at Harvard University (1967-1981), the first woman appointed as Chief Scientist at...
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (b.1950) is a German physicist, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in 1991, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, Chair...
Johan Rockström (b.1965) is director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University and chair of The Earth League group of 17 concerned scientists.  He...
David Suzuki (b.1936) is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster, environmental activist, and co-founder in 1990 of the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver, with c.80 staff, to create a sustainable Canada...
Christiana Figueres (b.1956) is a Costa Rican diplomat and international leader on climate change, and daughter of a former Costa Rican president.  She was Executive Director of the UN Framework...
Peter Wadhams (b.1948) is Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge.  He has been a polar researcher for 47 years,...
Kofi Annan (1938-2018) was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006), where he promoted the UN Millennium Development Goals, launched the UN Global...
James Gustave Speth (b.1942) is an environmental lawyer, co-founder and senior attorney of the Natural Resources Defense Council (1970-1977) and founding president of the World Resources Institute (1982-1993).  He previously...
Al Gore (b.1948) is a former US Senator from Tennessee, where he lives, former US Vice President (1993-2001), and, as Democratic nominee for President in 2000, he lost a highly...
Tim Jackson (b.1957) is a British ecological economist, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity that emphasizes...
Vandana Shiva (b.1952) is a scientist and environmental activist on food and agriculture, intellectual property rights, biodiversity, etc..  She defends the wisdom of many traditional practices and critiques genetic engineering,...
Will Steffen (b.1947) is a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University Climate Change Institute, where he was the inaugural director (2008-2012), former Commissioner at Australia’s disbanded...
Paul Hawken (b.1946) is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and widely-traveled speaker based in Sausalito CA, who heads Project Drawdown, based on his latest book, Drawdown—The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to...
Robert Costanza (b.1950) is an ecological economist, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Professor of Public Policy at the Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy. ...
Rajendra K. Pachauri (b.1940) is an economist and environmental scientist, former chair of the UN’s authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2002-2015), and former Director General of The Energy and...
Karl-Henrik Robert (b.1947) is a Swedish cancer scientist and founder of The Natural Step in 1989, a non-profit with offices in 12 countries and associates in >50 countries.  TNS led...
Hazel Henderson (b.1933) is a futurist and evolutionary economist, and founder/president of Ethical Markets Media in St. Augustine, Florida, as well as creator/co-executive producer of its TV Series.  Ethical Markets...
Jeffrey Sachs (b.1954) is a world-renowned economist, University Professor at Columbia University, and former director of its Earth Institute (2002-2016).  He is currently director of the Center for Sustainable Development...
Mely Caballero-Anthony (b.NA) is Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies and Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and a board...
Herman E. Daly (b.1938) is an ecological economist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs.  Previous positions include Professor of Economics at Louisiana State University,...
Federico Mayor Zaragoza (b.1934) is a Spanish scientist and politician, best-known as Director-General of UNESCO (1987-1999), the UN educational, scientific, and cultural organization.  Before then, he served as Professor of...
Paul J. Crutzen (b.1933) is a Dutch atmospheric chemist known for research on the ozone layer, introducing the concept of nuclear winter, coining the term “Anthropocene,” and joining with 27...
Kerry, John Kerry is an American politician and diplomat.  Kerry drew public attention as a decorated Vietnam veteran who became an anti-war activist as spokesperson for the Vietnam Vets Against the...
Helen Caldicott, M.D. (b.1938) is an Australian physician and anti-nuclear advocate.  She is Founding President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (now Beyond Nuclear), President of the Helen Caldicott Foundation...
Carl Folke (b.1955) is a transdisciplinary environmental scientist, co-founder and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy...
Bill McKibben (p.1960) is a journalist, environmentalist, and activist; Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont, and founder (2007) and Senior Advisor of 350.org, a planet-wide climate change movement that...
Ernest J. Moniz (b.1944) is a nuclear physicist and former US Secretary of Energy (2013-2017), as well as Undersecretary of Energy for Energy and the Environment (1997-2001).  He is currently...
Michael Bloomberg (b.1942) is a billionaire philanthropist (net worth est. at $48b in 2017—10th richest in the world), founder of Bloomberg L.P. (financial services, mass media, and software) and Bloomberg...
Mathis Wackernagel (b.1962) is founder and CEO of the Global Footprint Network, a sustainability think tank with 19 staff and offices in Oakland (CA), Brussels, and Geneva.  Its mission is...
Gro Harlem Brundtland (b.1939) is a physician who trained in Norway, and became interested in public health and environmental issues, as well as women’s rights.  She served as Norwegian Minister...
Lester R. Brown (b.1934) is well-known as the founder of the Worldwatch Institute in Washington in 1974, where he served as president until 2000.  Worldwatch is known for its annual...
Jerome C. Glenn (b.1945) is a futurist and co-founder with futurist Theodore J. Gordon of The Millennium Project in 1996, to “provide a context for global thinking.”  Based in Washington,...
Mankombu S. Swaminathan (b.1925) is an Indian geneticist, renowned for leading India’s Green Revolution developing higher-yielding varieties of wheat. He is founding Chairman of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation...
Tim Flannery (b.1956) is Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and Chief Councillor of Australia’s independent Climate Council, launched in 2013 after the Australian government disbanded...

 

The most noteworthy aspect of this compilation is likely to be the wide variety of contributions that have been made in promoting peace, security, climate concern, sustainability, and/or the energy transition.   For individuals whose work was only dimly perceived, if at all, it has been illuminating for us to find out more about what they have done and are doing.  We hope that readers will similarly find their horizons to be widened and deepened.

Most of the 40 Profiles in this section suggest little or no collaboration or influence among these individuals, with one large and one small exception.  The large exception involves the 29 scientists that came together to introduce the important concept of “planetary boundaries” in 2009; seven of them are profiled below: in addition to lead author Johan Rockstrom, they include Costanza, Crutzen, Folke, Schellnhuber, and Steffen.  The small instance of collaboration is between Lovins and von Weizsaeker on radical “Factor 5” resource efficiency.  Many of the authors described below do collaborate, however, but not with others chosen for this list.