Eco heroes

Still work in progress – all suggestions and comments very gratefully accepted! 🙂

This page is dedicated to individuals who are making a difference. All the eco-heroes below have been nominated by someone in the ELT Footprint group. If you’d like to add someone, please let us know in the comments. Thanks!

1 Greta Thunberg

I don’t think anyone would disagree with Greta Thunberg taking the first place in this list. And there are so many resources to share, here are a few:

article in the Guardian (March 2019)

article in the Telegraph (August 2019)

article in the Newscientist (March 2019)

Greta’s TED talk (Jan 2019)

A list of speeches by Greta on the Fridays for Future site (the school movement she inspired)

A lesson for 11 year olds by Borja Uruñela

An interactive article on the British Council Learn English site for B2/C1

2 Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Another inspiring teen eco-activist. Based in the States he is part of a group suing the federal government for their failure to protect the atmosphere. – this site gives a brief bio and details on some of the initiatives he’s involved in.

3 Sir David Attenborough

(shared on wikimedia)

His documentary series The Blue Planet influenced millions of people all over the world. This is a link to a series of short texts spanning his life and career : Nine astonishing ways David Attenborough shaped your world.

4 Haidr el-Ali


The clip that we link to below contains a strong but simple message from an amazing man who is single-handedly replanting mangroves in Senegal. Haidar el Ali’s reforestation project has planted 152 million mangrove buds over the past decade! The link is to a short video from BBC Africa, that has been shared on their Facebook page :

5 Sebastiao Salgado and his wife Leila


The famous photographer and his wife spent 20 years replanting a plot of rainforest in Brazil

article on a site called All That’s Interesting

article from IFL Science

6 Melati and Isabel Wijsen – campaiging to ban plastic bags in

Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

The sisters from Bali have been campaigning to ban plastic bags in Bali since they were 12 and 10 years old.

an article from CNN

TED talk

website for Bye Bye Plastic Bags

7 Caroline Lucas


Head of the Green Party in the UK and the only Green member of parliament.

A link to some videos she has made

8 Wangari Maathai

Martin Rowe on Flickr

Nobel prize winner in 2004, she was the first African woman to win the prize. She led a movement to plant trees across Africa, the Green Belt Movement. The movement has planted more than 51 million trees in Kenya.

a lesson plan for younger learners that encourages search skills with links to interesting sources

the Green Belt Movement website

a video-based lesson from Owain Llewelyn at the ELT Sustainable blog for Black History Month October 2019 : I will be a humming bird by Wangari Maathai

9 Jadav Payeng

Indian conservationist, spent 30 years single-handedly growing and nurturing trees in Assam.

a simple cartoon introduction to his story

a link to a free graded reader based on his story

10 Sadiman – Indonesian farmer who replanted a forest after a fire

A video on the Newsner Facebook page Sadiman

A news story in the Jakarta Post Man spends 19 years planting trees to save village from drought

Video, article and photos on the Matter of Trust website This Indonesian man single – handedly saves his village from starvation

11 Phil Kingston – retired Bristol university lecturer and eco activist in his 80s, arrested during the Extinction Rebellion protests in London in October 2019, tells his story in this short video clip. Highly inspiring!

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