Canadian scientist David Suzuki – broadcaster, author and environmental activist – has topped the first Observer Green Power List. The list, released to mark the launch of the Observer’s 2011 Ethical Awards, contains leaders in the field of environmental science and sustainable living including the actor Brad Pitt and sustainable builder, William McDonough; Felix Finkbeiner, the child who upstaged adults at the Cancun climate change conference; Jonathan Franzen, eco novelist; Prince Charles; and Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York.
Since the mid-70s David Suzuki has been commentating on environmental issues and has been broadcasting shows on science and environment. His most successful show, The Nature of Things, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporate series, was aired in over 50 countries worldwide. In recent years he established the David Suzuki Foundation, which works with governments, businesses and individuals to conserve the environment and has been an outspoken campaigner on climate change.
Lucy Siegle, The Observer’s ethical living correspondent and chair of the ethical awards, says: “The list won’t be to everyone’s taste ideologically or politically, but these are the names influencing the way we think, adapt and respond to ecological and social justice issues.”
The list includes:
1 David Takayoshi Suzuki, science broadcaster and author (most recently The Legacy)
2 Henry Saragih, general secretary, La Via Campesina
3 Jonathan Franzen, novelist
4 Evo Morales, leader, Movement for Socialism, Bolivia
5 Carole Saint-Laurent, senior advisor, The International Union for Conservation of Nature
6 Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York
7 Nnimmo Bassey and Kumi Naidoo, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
8 Lee Scott and Jeff Swartz, Wallmart Versus and CEO, Timberland
9 Eduardo Fischer, founder, Starts With You; and owner, Grupo TotalCom
10 Felix Finkbeiner, youth environment campaigner
11 Ellen MacAthur, sailor
12 Brad Pitt, actor and William McDonough, sustainable builder
13 Saleem H Ali, professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont
14 Joel Salatin, farmer
15 Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford Motor Company
16 Debbie Levin, president, Environmental Media Association
17 Prince Charles
18 Avaaz, online youth activist
19 Jay Leno, talk show host
20 Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Observer Ethical Awards, dubbed the green oscars, have become the highlight of the eco calendar. Over the past six years the awards have honoured the vital work of those that make ethical living accessible and those that champion social justice. Past winners have come from large organisations like B&Q, who sell sustainably sourced products to everyone, to small projects such as the Recyclists, two teenagers from Scotland (pictured) and their eco-entrepreneurial community business.