All around the world, millions of people are taking action to help our planet and reduce the impacts of climate change. There are so many great voices contributing to the climate conversation, but some bring unique and inspiring perspectives that are particularly worthy of our attention. Here are 20 climate scientists, experts, and advocates to follow in 2020:
1. Alexandra Villaseñor is a 14-year-old climate activist. She founded the organization Earth Uprising, which educates and mobilizes young climate activists. She has protested outside the UN headquarters in New York City every week for the past 5 months. Follow her on Twitter @AlexandriaV2005.
2. Bill McKibben is an environmentalist, author, and educator. He is the founder of the environmental organization 350.org. He was the recipient of the Sierra Club's highest honor, the John Muir Award, in 2011. Follow him on Twitter @billmckibben.
3. Brad Plumer is a reporter on the New York Times’s climate team. He covers climate change, energy policy and other environmental issues, with a focus on the impacts of climate change and potential solutions. Follow him on Twitter @bradplumer, or check out his New York Times articles.
4. Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist and expert. He created graphics called warming stripes that visually display long-term temperature trends of each country. Follow him on Twitter @ed_hawkins.
5. Dr. Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist and the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He gave a TED Talk called “The emergent patterns of climate change” about the big picture of climate change and how millions of small-scale events interact to create climate change. Follow him on Twitter @ClimateOfGavin.
6. Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist. In August 2018, Greta began her weekly “School strike for the climate,” which has turned into a global movement Fridays For Future. She has addressed the UN at its past two Climate Change Conferences and was named Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. Follow her on Twitter @GreatThunberg or Instagram @gretathunberg.
7. Helena Gualinga is a 17-year-old activist from a small community in Ecuador in the Amazon rainforest. She spoke at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in December, calling out world leaders for climate inaction. Follow her on Instagram @helenagualinga.
8. Isra Hirsi is the 16-year-old daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and a prominent climate activist. She is the co-founder and co-executive director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, the U.S. branch of Greta Thunberg’s climate movement. Isra also advocates for more minority representation in the climate movement. Follow her on Twitter @israhirsi.
9. Jamie Margolin is the 17-year-old founder of the youth climate organization Zero Hour, an intersectional movement of youth climate activists. As the Latina, Jewish daughter of a Colombian immigrant, she gave a TED talk about how climate change can be solved by addressing social injustices. Follow her on Twitter @Jamie_Margolin or Instagram @jamie_s_margolin.
10. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric climate scientist. She is an expert on how to discuss climate change and gave a TED Talk titled The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it. She produces a YouTube series called Global Weirding, which uses cartoons to teach children about climate change and the environment. Follow her on Twitter @KHayhoe.
11. Katharine Wilkinson is an author, public speaker, strategist, and educator on climate science. She is also the VP of Communication and Engagement at Project Drawdown, a climate research organization that produced the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever to Reverse Global Warming.” Follow her on Twitter @DrKWilkinson.
12. Leah Namugerwa is a 15-year-old climate activist from Uganda who has become a prominent climate voice in her country. She participates in Fridays For Future school strikes every Friday and started a petition to President Museveni for Uganda to ban plastic bags. Follow her on Twitter @NamugerwaLeah.
13. Mari Copeny, also known as “Little Miss Flint,” is a 12-year-old from Flint, Michigan. In 2016, she wrote a letter to President Obama about Flint’s water crisis, which inspired him to travel to Flint and gave Flint national attention. She distributes clean water to thousands of Flint residents each week and partnered with a water filtration company that can provide the equivalent of 160 water bottles for every $1 donated. Follow her on Twitter @LittleMissFlint.
14. Mary Annaïse Heglar is the Director of Publications at Natural Resources Defense Council and a climate justice essayist. She has a podcast with environmental journalist Amy Westervelt called Hot Take, in which they look at media coverage of climate change with an intersectional lens. Follow her on Twitter @MaryHeglar and Medium @MaryHeglar.
15. Mary Robinson is the former President of Ireland and a current climate activist. As the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, she often discusses the intersection of climate change and human rights and gave a TED Talk titled Why climate change is a threat to human rights. She also has a podcast called Mothers of Invention with comedian Maeve Higgins, where they discuss climate change with a feminist lens.
16. Rhiana Gunn-Wright is a policy analyst and one of the policy architects of the Green New Deal. She helped make environmental justice a priority of the Green New Deal. Follow her on Twitter @rgunns.
17. Dr. Robert Bullard is known as the father of environmental justice. He has written 18 books on environmental racism and other climate topics. He was named one of 22 climate trailblazers and one of the 100 most influential people in climate policy. Follow him on Twitter @DrBobBullard.
18. Varshini Prakash is co-founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement, an organization that mobilizes young people to advocate for climate action. Varshini and Sunrise Movement gained national attention during their 2018 sit-ins outside of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined their protest. Follow her on Twitter @VarshPrakash.
19. Vic Barrett is a 21-year-old climate justice activist. After his home in New York was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, he felt inspired to take action against climate change. Vic and 20 other young people decided to sue the U.S. government for its role in the climate crisis by supporting the fossil fuel industry. The ongoing case, Juliana v. United States, is based on the belief that a safe and livable climate is a constitutional right. Follow Vic on Twitter @vict_barrett.
20. Xiye Bastida is a 17-year-old activist from Mexico. She and her family moved to New York City after her community in Mexico was ravaged by heavy rainfall and flooding. She participates in Fridays For Future strikes every week and helped organize the Global Climate Strike in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @xiyebastida or Instagram @xiyebeara.
Feeling inspired to help the environment? Make the switch to clean energy today to give our planet a better tomorrow!