Nicely coinciding with Attenborough’s 90th birthday, today’s blog is my top five conservation heroes. In a world where the news is often filled with ‘who wore what’ rubbish, it’s nice to really think about those people that have the influence and, more importantly I think, the potential to help our natural world survive. In no particular order, I give you, my personal top five conservation champions of the §moment.
1. Mark Constantine
Now, like the hippo, I can be found most evenings wallowing in the bathtub, often surrounded by multi-coloured glittery water. I do love a Lush bath bomb. A few weeks ago, I was aghast when I took a look at which of my cosmetics, soaps and scrubs were ‘cruelty free’ and not tested on animals. My oh my. The quite alarmingly long list of everyday brands was appalling. Quite honestly, you’d think that for their prices, high-end brands such as Chanel and Estee Lauder would be able to afford other methods of testing. Grr. Some were even sneaky, and whilst ‘they did not test on animals’, their parent company certainly did. *Please enter, Lush*. Not only does it produce incredible products fit for Cleopatra but it is a shining example of responsible ethical business, 2 % of profits goes directly to charities such as Sea Shepherd, the Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Sumatran Orangutan Society. Globally they donated £6.4 million to organisations working for protecting the environment, animal protection and human rights.
In the past I’ve picked up the most adorable little badger bath bombs to support fight the badger cull, they have made snappy little fin soaps to promote shark conservation and last year their hen harrier bath bomb highlighted the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers on upland grouse moors. After this mini rant, this is why Mark Constantine, the man in charge, and also a keen birder by the way, is one of my top 5 conservation champ’s.
2. Sir David Attenborough
It seems like a no-brainer, and he’s the go-to guy, but why is that? He’s a man who has captured audiences for decades, allowing children and adults alike to be transported to habitats across the globe from their own living rooms, and his voice is instantly recognisable and synonymous with the natural world. Anyone who can capture such vast audiences and give them all the gift of intrigue and curiosity is, well, in my opinion, quite the conservation hero. Inspiring our younger generations to protect our world is the biggest necessity and Sir David Attenborough has earned his reputation in the conservation stakes. (Not to mention he has a weird New Guinea spiky anteater named after him, Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna. Pretty cool.)
3. Jacques Cousteau
I didn’t specify, there ain’t a time-scale for my conservation champions. So let’s head back to 1910, when good ole’ Jacq was born. The french conservationist famed for being an explorer, inventor, filmmaker, and conservationist, as well as having an iconic red beanie. He co-created the Aqua-Lung, pioneering the world of scuba diving with his pal Emile Gagnan. This allowed him to also bring the underwater world to viewers via his documentaries, some of which have picked up Oscars (The Silent World, The Golden Fish, and World Without Sun). Important for me, he critically helped restrict commercial whaling – going personally to heads of state, in aid of getting the moratorium (which still stands today) passed by the International Whaling Commission. He even staged a stand off against a French-government plan to dump nuclear waste into the Mediterranean Sea in the 60s. I think Cousteau was a true champion of the ocean, and was one of the first people to draw attention to the awful results of overfishing, climate change and the effect of pollution on the ocean. Take a look at this article, and see why he would be heartbroken at the state of today’s ocean affairs.
4. Steve Backshall
Again, this may just be a personal opinion given the years I spent growing up, glued to the television when “The Really Wild Show” was on. I would love to know how many of my cohort would cite him as the reason they went into zoology or other science paths? One of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters, naturalists, writers, public speakers and adventurers, I really believe people like him are needed to inspire the generations below – after all, it is them that carries the future of our planet. I’m pretty sure many of you will have heard of the Deadly 60, especially those with kids, as over 3.2 million children have watched it, compelling them to meet new creatures with inspiration and awe. I think he’s leading the next cohort of nature nerds in the same way the great Sir Attenborough did for the generation before, and it evidently worked for me.
(However, I’m now going to go see what happened to the rest of TRWS cast… anyone else remember Howie?!)
5. Emma Watson
This nomination is a tad different. Famous for the Harry Potter franchise, and then for making her mark with the HeforShe Campaign, she’s no stranger in the eyes of the public. However, she’s also a strong supporter of sustainable and ethical fashion, with her own Fair Trade-certified clothing line, as well as extending the lifespan of garments with her #30wears campaign. So whilst she’s not getting down and dirty with the critters like Attenborough or Backshall, she’s making a statement in other ways and using her platform to bring conservation to the attention of the masses. Check our her Met Gala gown made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
These are just a couple that have really stood out for me, but who are your #conservationchampions?
*If you want a list of those that are cruelty free, click here