5 Inspiring Environmentalist Biographies

This season of One Book, One Chicago, we're reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert and taking action during this Season For Change. If you need some inspiration, look to the many environmentalists that have come before us in these biographies of people who have done amazing things.

You might have spent some time walking around Chicago's Humboldt Park, enjoying the lagoon, picnicking on the grass, or watching a ball game, but did you realize the park is named for the German explorer and scientist Alexander Von Humboldt? A new biography, Alexander Von Humboldt: How The Most Famous Scientist Of The Romantic Age Found The Soul Of Nature details the rise of the most famous scientist of the Romantic Age, who was a pioneer in the concept of environmental protection. 

The four women featured in Andrea Barnet's book Visionary Women may not have known each other, but their similarities are striking. Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall and Alice Waters all revolutionized the way that we think about how we interact with the world around us, from pesticides to city living, pesticides to conscious eating, and each faced opposition from powerful interests and male adversaries while doing it. Their lasting legacies continue to influence our thinking on environmental topics today. 

Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier speaks from a perspective few share - her community lives on the Arctic Circle and is directly threatened by the melting ice caused by climate change. Her biography, The Right to Be Cold, is a fascinating memoir of her life in education, environmentalism and activism. 

Will Allen took his experience from his career in marketing as well as being the son of South Carolina sharecroppers and turned it into a movement for urban agriculture.The Good Food Revolution tells the story of Growing Power, an organization that provides food, jobs and community to people in Milwaukee, and inspires urban farmers across the nation. 

The teenager from Sweden that inspired a generation, Greta Thunberg's journey to the most famous climate activist in the world at this moment started with a single day when she didn't go to school to protest the climate crisis. Her book  No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference brings you her story in her own words. 

Do you have a favorite biography of an environmentalist? Let us know in the comments!

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