5 activists who will inspire you this Earth Day

At Dr Jackson’s, every day of the year is Earth Day.
From selecting only non-endangered, natural ingredients that are never tested on animals, to using recyclable packaging and consulting green suppliers at every stage of the production chain, we strive for zero waste and are committed to promoting sustainability in all that we do.
However, in the business of our everyday lives, it’s easy for our perspective to shrink. We get so caught up in ourselves, that we forget the World around us.
That’s why we always look forward to taking part in this global event: Earth Day is a chance for us to take a step back and evaluate our relationship with nature, and perhaps think about what we can do to make a difference - no matter how big, or how small that change may be.  
To give you a little motivation, this Earth Day we’re looking at the individuals whom inspire us to make that change. By following their example, we can work together to build a greener, healthier and happier planet.  

Rajendra Singh
Image: darpan magazine
Known as ‘The Water Man’, Rajendra Singh is an award-winning water conservationist from Rajasthan, India.
The problem: 75,777,997 people in India (that’s 6% of the country’s population) do not have access to clean drinking water.
The solution: In 1975, Singh founded the pioneering NGO, Tarun Bharat Sangh. The organisation works directly with communities in some of India’s most destitute areas, empowering villages to take charge of their own water management through sustainable development measures.
Providing access to safe drinking water through the use of rainwater storage tanks and checking dams is just the first step; Tarun Bharat Sangh’s wider vision is to bring dignity and prosperity to these areas with a comprehensive welfare programme that includes better health facilities, an improved education system, equality for women, and more.
Notable achievements: Rajendra Singh was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize, known as “the Nobel prize for water”, in 2015, having brought clean drinking water to over 1,000 villages in India. His techniques have inspired water conservation initiatives all over the world, including anti-flooding schemes in the UK. 
"When we started our work, we were only looking at the drinking water crisis and how to solve that. Today our aim is higher. This is the century of exploitation, pollution and encroachment. To stop all this, to convert the war on water into peace, that is my life's goal." BBC News
René Ngongo
Image: green peace
René Ngongo is a Congolese biologist, environmentalist and political activist, whose work centres around the conservation of Congo’s rainforests. 
The problem: The world’s second most important rainforest after the Amazon, the Congo rainforest has been seriously damaged by the aftermath of war, population growth and corporate exploitation. This poses huge climate threats that put the livelihood of future generations at risk. 
The solution: Ngongo aims to build popular and political support for the conservation of the Congo rainforest. He has carried out essential, and often dangerous, research on illegal mining operations to help monitor the pillaging of the rainforest’s valuable raw materials. He also encourages local communities to use sustainable land models that satisfy their need for food and fuelwood, and increase their income, without destroying this precious natural habitat. 
Notable achievements: In 1994, Ngongo founded OCEAN, an environmental NGO based in Kisangani that uses the collective force of volunteers to promote agroforestry, plant trees in urban spaces, create reforestation nurseries for threatened species, and lobby for action against rainforest destruction around the world. He has also worked for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Greenpeace and the WWF. 
Those forests should not be considered merely as raw material to be exported and should neither only be seen as a carbon reservoir. Before anything else, it is a living environment, a grocery store, a pharmacy…” - rightlivelihoodaward.org
Leonardo Di Caprio
As well as being an Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, Leonardo Di Caprio is a renowned environmental activist. 
The problem: Di Caprio sees climate change as “the most urgent threat facing our entire species”, highlighting global warming, the destruction of the Earth’s biodiversity and the use of fossil fuels as the most pressing issues. 
The solution: Di Caprio uses his celebrity status as a platform to educate people about climate change, as well as raising considerable sums for numerous environmental foundations. He has also produced and starred in several documentaries about climate change, including The 11th Hour, Cowspiracy and Before the Flood. 
Notable achievements: At just 24, Di Caprio established the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation in 1998, which works to raise environmental awareness. It has launched projects in over 40 countries and won various major awards. In a charity auction for The 11th Hour, Di Caprio raised nearly $40 million for his foundation, making it the highest-grossing environmental charity event ever held.  
“We only get one planet.” - UN Climate Summit speech
Julia Butterfly Hill
Image: julia butterfly
Julia Butterfly Hill is an American environmental activist and motivational speaker, best known for her famous 2-year “tree sit” protest, which saw her live in a 180-foot tree from 1997 to 1999.
The problem: Environmentally destructive logging actions are a major threat to ecologically significant forests. 
The solution: Hill believes that the solution to the world’s problems lies in action.In 1997, she took a stand against the cutting down of an old-growth redwood tree in North California, which she nicknamed Luna. In what has become a historical act of civil disobedience, she chose to live in the tree for 738 days until the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve it, resulting in huge international awareness of the importance of sustainable forest management techniques. 
Notable achievements: Following her tree sit, Hill founded the Circle of Life Foundation, which aims to build better relationships between humans and the natural world. She has written a book, The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, about her experience and continues to participate in tree sits to this day. 
Quote: The question we need to ask ourselves is not, “Can one person make a difference?”  Each and every one of us does make a difference.  It is actually impossible to not make a difference. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What kind of a difference do I want to make?” 
We are the ancestors of the future.  What do you want your legacy to be?” 
Sylvia Alice Earle
Sylvia Alice Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. 
The Problem: Sea life is being destroyed from every direction, between over-fishing, pollution and rising temperatures. Reef paradises that she used to love now dead and rotting. 
The Solution: Her special focus is on developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.-national geographic. 
Notable Achievements: Sylvia Alice Earle has led more than 400 undersea research expeditions and was named Time Magazine’s very first ‘hero for the planet’ in 1998. Author of a cornucopia of books on the sea, Earle is also executive director for a number of environmental organisations including The Conservation Fund and Ocean Conservancy.- ecosalon.
"My wish is a big wish, but if we can make it happen, it can truly change the world, and help ensure the survival of what actually — as it turns out — is my favourite species; that would be us. For the children of today, for tomorrow's child: as never again, now is the time" - www.ted.com

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