“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” – John James Audubon
Born in the region currently known as Haiti, Audubon went on to create his “Birds of America” illustrated anthology of over 400 species after moving to the United States in the early 1800s. Audubon is also thought to have conducted the first known bird-banding experiment – tying strings around the legs of Eastern Phoebes. His work was ultimately the inspiration behind the International Audubon Society.
“Environmentalism isn’t a spectator sport. You actually have to stand up and demand that we be vigilant in protecting our air and water.” – Lisa Perez Jackson
Jackson is best known as the first African-American head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Her environmental career covers over two decades fighting pollution and bringing to light how environmental and civil rights issues are interconnected.
“We are the environment and how we treat each other is really how we treat the environment.” - John Francis
Also nicknamed “Planetwalker”, environmentalist John Francis boycotted motorized transportation for two decades - choosing to walk instead – after witnessing the 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay.
“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.” - Wangari Maathai
A Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel laureate, Maathai established the Green Belt Movement – a grassroots organization working with women’s groups to plant trees in order to protect the environment and improve the quality of life in communities across multiple African countries.
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This forward-thinking civil rights leader often spoke on the interconnectivity of the world, and speeches of his showed concern for problems like air and water pollution in our cities years before the start of the environmental justice movement.