Green Pioneers

Short potted biographies of some key Green activists and thinkers who pre-date 1972.

  • For short introductions to those who were active in the UK in the early stages see Green Movers.
  • For general articles about individuals including obituaries and interviews see People.

Who Was ... Zeno of Citrium

Zeno of Citrium (c. 334 BC to c.262 BC) Lived in Greece. Teacher and founder of the Stoic school of ancient Greek thought. Stoicism held that a life of Virtue should be lived in accordance with nature. Individual souls are part of the ‘world-soul’ of the divine fire. The universe is cyclical and the goal of life is to live in harmony with nature.

Who Was ... John Muir

John Muir (1838 to 1914) Born in Scotland, lived and died in California.  Naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and mountaineer. Advocate for wilderness protection, helped create Yosemite, Sequoia and many other parks and nature reserves. His writings were followed and read by millions. Founded the Sierra Club in 1892.

Who Was ... Donella Meadows

Donella Meadows (1941 to 2001) was an award-winning environmental scientist and writer. She is best known as lead author of the Limits to Growth, 1972, a study which predicted global collapse unless urgent action was taken to restrain growth. This work stimulated the formation of the Green Party (which was then called PEOPLE) in 1973. 

Who Was ... Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes (1944-1988) was a Brazilian rubber-tapper who became a campaigner for his people and for sustainable use of the rainforest. He built links between politics, trade unions and environmentalists and won international awards for his work. He was murdered by a local rancher who wanted to clear-cut an area of rainforest that was designated as a nature preserve.