People like to number things. They like to make lists. But I’m always impressed by the seeming randomness with which organizations decide to publish decisive lists. Why choose Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006 to publish your top 100 green campaigners of all time? Why not?!

Not quite at the end of the year and a little late for the turn of the millennium, the U.K. Environment Agency released their “Earthshakers” list today, just in time for … well, I’m sure it’s in time for something.

Topping off the list is U.S. scientist and much-heralded green leader Rachel Carson, not all that surprising a choice, followed by German green economist E.F. Schumacher. The list pretty evenly disperses scientists, politicians, religious leaders, pop culture icons, and writers. Kenyan conservationist and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, the Prince of Wales, and Al Gore also make it into the top 10. How Charles edged his way in there is beyond me. Talking to plants is cool and all, but his passion for the environment could be a little, well, more passionate.

Indian eco-crusader Vandana Shiva and green-energy guru Amory Lovins are also included in the top 20. Wilderness photographer Ansel Adams is ranked number 14, which seems high considering he’s above Jane Goodall, Buddha, and St. Francis of Assisi. But because my orthodontist covered his walls with Ansel Adams photos, I’ve always associated him with pain, perhaps biasing my opinion of the man and his work.

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The Governator was ranked a shocking 29, above James Hansen, Gandhi, and Charles Darwin. And above Lester Brown, the Worldwatch and Earth Policy Institute founder and renowned environmental leader (who also shares my podunk hometown, again perhaps biasing my opinion). He’s also above Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, which I feel a little better about.

The best addition to the list, though, coming in at 100, is Santa Claus himself, extolled for his “carbon-free delivery.” If only he’d find a way to market the technology …

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