Think people who love the planet are all wimps and weenies? Think again. Here are thirteen who are giving green a bad reputation — in a good way. Read on to learn more about these Mother-lovers — and leave your own nominations in the comments section below.
Beige Luciano-Adams/ELLA13. Homeboy Industries. With the tagline “Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job,” you know these homeboys aren’t messing around. Thanks to an ambitious job-training program that includes solar-panel installation, the former East L.A. gang members are slashing energy use instead of each other. “I wanted a new way of life,” says ex-convict Albert Ortega. “Solar puts me on the cutting edge.” Can we get that on a tattoo?
OHVEC 12. Judy Bonds. It takes a badass to take on Big Coal, and Judy Bonds is doing it. The daughter of a coal miner and a self-described “hillbilly,” Bonds has gained international notoriety for her tough bituminous talk. It’s all an effort to protect her native West Virginia from the mountaintop removal practice she says turned her home into a “war zone.”
11. El Hijo del Santo. This Mexican wrestler may hide his face with a silver mask, but he makes no secret of his intentions when it comes to the environment. As spokes-hero for the nonprofit WildCoast (CostaSalvaje), El Hijo del Santo is packing a world of hurt for the ocean’s enemies. Watch out, polluters — you don’t want to endure the Tope de Cristo.
eight double via flickr10. Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This vegan-punk chef is taking over the world — one decadent, dairy-free delicacy at a time. As an author and co-founder of the cooking show Post Punk Kitchen, Moskowitz is bringing mainstream audiences two flavors of badassery for the price of one. But will punk officially be dead when The Man starts baking vegan cupcakes?
9. Coolio. When the rapper toured historically black colleges and universities to throw down the truth about climate impacts last year, he was fully armed — with stats. But earlier this year, Coolio made headlines by denying the reality of anthropogenic climate change. “The earth’s been doing this for millenniums,” he puffed on Celebrity Big Brother. Oh Coolio — stop blowing smoke up our ass.
8. Wind farm mafia. Looks like the garbage biz is yesterday’s news: a leading mafia family got busted in a Sicilian wind-turbine scheme earlier this spring, leading to a major investigation into fraudulent power-selling practices. Translation: There was no wind in their sales.
thecapsolution.org7. John Fetterman. The mayor of Braddock, Penn., is a big, bald, tattooed badass. Who just happens to have a heart of gold. “Mayor John,” as he’s known, is reinventing this downtrodden steel town in Pittsburgh’s shadow — and getting the word out about proactive climate and energy solutions. Yeah, that’s right, he’ll carbon cap your ass.
EPA.gov6. EPA Criminal Investigation Division. Didn’t know the EPA had a Most Wanted list, did you? Didn’t know the agency tracked and shot its first eco-fugitive earlier this year, did you? The EPA: Not just for prairie grasses anymore.
5. Ah-nold. Yes, he’s the most overreported “unexpected environmentalist” of the new millennium. But how could we make this list and leave him out? We know what lies beneath the fancy suits, Arnold. Once a badass, always a badass.
Texas Gold4. Diane Wilson. A fourth-generation shrimper who captained her own boat, Wilson turned activist when she found out her Texas county was the most polluted in the country. The self-dubbed “unreasonable woman” took on Gulf Coast manufacturers, wrote a book about it, and hasn’t stopped fighting since.
mytats.com3. Jess Yen. This award-winning southern California tattoo artist has a yen for influencing people’s perspectives on green issues. Amidst the tat-samples on his site, he dedicates some ink to educating clients about climate change — and gives 10 reasons to go vegetarian. “As an individual or an eco-tattoo artist,” he told one interviewer, “I do what I can every day to cherish and conserve the sacred resources.”
governor.oregon.gov2. Ted Kulongoski. Sure, he looks like a gentle 69-year-old who merely “cares” about climate legislation, state parks, sustainable housing, and tailpipe regulations. But the governor of Oregon, whose second term ends next year, has a storied past that includes stints as a Marine, truck driver, bricklayer, and steelworker. On top of that, he was raised by nuns — so you know he’s got a tough hide.
NextEra Energy1. Leilani Munter. Stunt double? Check. Race car driver? Check. Biologist and conservation activist? Uh, OK. Munter doesn’t mess around when it comes to the environment: she hopes to educate racing’s 100 million racing fans about green living, serves as an ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation, has testified on Capitol Hill, and wants to convince her industry to use more alternative fuels. Says this CarbonFreeGirl: “Just because you’re green … doesn’t mean you can’t be fast.”
This badass list was created by Ashley Braun and Katharine Wroth.