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Climate Change/ Environmental Activists 

A series of painted portraits of activists, thinkers and philosophers who have made an impact in social awareness in the field of climate change and environmental justice: Raoni Metukire, Greta Thunberg, Arne Naess, Doreen Massey, David Attenborough, Rachel Carson


These small acrylic paintings incorporate visual references which signify the individual’s contribution to their field which are rendered in paint and textural application of canvas offcuts, cardboard and found objects from the local estuary bank.  

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"Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics." (David Attenborough)

Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

  • Marine / Aquatic Biologist, Writer, environmentalist

  • Rachel Carson’s discoveries, research, and campaigning exposed the destruction brought about by the use of DDT pesticides

  • Through her writing and campaigning, Rachel Carson challenged the idea that humanity had the right to control nature through chemical and mechanical interventions.

  • Published many ecological books, including Silent Spring (1962)

“The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.”

(Rachel Carson)


David Attenborough (1923 - ) 

  • Naturalist, environmentalist, broadcaster and campaigner

  • Born in Leicester, educated at Clare College, Cambridge, David Attenborough is an acclaimed producer of natural history programmes on the BBC. His later works including The Blue Planet (2001), Are We Changing Planet Earth? (2006) dealt directly with environmental issues, plastic pollution and global warming

  • He narrated Emmy Award winning, Blue Planet II (2017).

  • Attenborough was knighted in 1985

 “We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.” (David Attenborough)


Doreen Massey (1944 - 2016) 

  • Social Geographer, whose politics of Space transformed action for social & environmental justice.

  • Doreen Massey declined an OBE, and was famous for her thinking on the politics of place

 “From challenging the tendency to blame poor regions for their own poverty to articulating a progressive politics of place, she shaped a passionate belief that unequal spatial relations could, and should, be different.” (Open University, 2018)

 “If time is the dimension of change, then space is the dimension of coexisting difference. And that is both a source of nourishment (something that the globalisation gurus seem altogether to have foregone), and a challenge (how negotiate difference, how to address inequality, and so forth).” (Doreen Massey)

Arne Naess (1912 – 2009)

  • Norwegian Philosopher, activist and founder of the deep ecology movement

  • Arne Naess’ principles underpin most modern environmental or green movements

  • Advocated environmental concern, action and responsibility based on the interdependence of all beings (rather than the importance of nature to humanity).

  • His concept, grounded in the teachings of Spinoza, Gandhi and Buddha, entered the mainstream green movement in the 1980s and was later elaborated by George Sessions in Deep Ecology for the Twenty-first Century (1995).

 “The lifestyle of the majority should be changed so that the material standard of living in the Western countries becomes universalisable within this century. A consumption over and above that which everyone can attain within the foreseeable future cannot be justified.” (Arne Naess)

Greta Thunberg (2003 - ) 

  • Swedish Environmental Campaigner

  • started the ‘School Strike for Climate’ in 2018, vowing to continue until the government met the carbon emissions target set out by world leaders in Paris in 2015.

  • Has since gone on to speak at major environmental summits and conferences

  • #FridaysForFuture

“Sometimes we just simply have to find a way. The moment we decide to fulfill something, we can do anything. And I’m sure the moment we start behaving as if we were in an emergency, we can avoid climate and ecological catastrophe. Humans are very adaptable: we can still fix this. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We must start today. We have no more excuses.” (Greta Thunberg, Houses of Parliament, UK, April 2019)


Raoni Metukire (c.1930 - ) 

  • Nominated for 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work campaigning for environmental justice – his “fight to protect nature” (Dutton, 2019)

  • Member of the Kayapo Tribe, south of the amazon basin, Brazil

  • Campaigned vociferously against the Belo Monte Dam project and associated environmental damage to his tribal land (Mato Grosso and Para)

  • Continues to speak out for environmental justice, preservation of biodiversity, and against the Amazon deforestation

"The challenge of our generation is to succeed in cooperating, to demand from all nations to be at peace. " (Raoni Metukire, 2019)

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