50+ People to Listen To and Learn From

Robin Greenfield standing a woman, with
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I am in love with humanity. I love every one of the approximately eight billion of us that exist in our global family. There are so many people I have met for a moment that I would have loved to spend a lifetime with. I have many Dear Friends who will be with me for life. I truly believe that everyone has something special to offer to the world, whether we realize it or not. In this essay, I share with you some of the humans that I know of who have special gifts to share. And I want to share their gifts with you. 

Some are global leaders and some are local leaders. Some chose leadership, while others unexpectedly rose to the occasion. Some are not leaders at all. Some are activists, truth seekers, farmers, ecologists, scientists, human rights advocates, monks, spiritual leaders, politicians, astronomers, comedians, musicians, entrepreneurs, philosophers, writers, speakers, academics, psychologists, messengers for Earth, and Earth workers, among many others. Some hold multiple roles and all hold many roles in life. But they are all so much more than any label. They are complex humans. 

Within this selection of people, you will be introduced to humans who are dedicated to sustainability, peace, human rights, equity, justice, women’s empowerment, Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, living in harmony with Earth, growing food, foraging, reconnecting with our plant and animal relatives, food sovereignty, simple living, joy, mindfulness, compassionate communication, nonviolence, planet Earth, the cosmos and being the change they wish to see. 

Some of these people are not alive today. Their work still lives on and there is still much to learn from them. 

Some of these people you have certainly heard of before. But have you dived deep into their philosophy? There is always so much more there than the mainstream narrative shows or within the pages of their books. 

Their websites, their speeches, their books, their media interviews, their social media pages, all hold so much information for us to learn. 

There are thousands and thousands of people that could be on this list. This is a selection of the people that I know about and I’ve kept it to about 50. There are many people who aren’t known by the public eye who are dedicated to these causes. Some will become known around the world, but most will be known only within their community and perhaps not even by them. I honor all the people doing the work. 

Mostly everyone shared here has been doing their work for at least a couple decades. They’ve proven their dedication. They’ve set the track record that shows who they are. 

I certainly don’t agree with everything that everyone on this list has to say. In fact, I have substantial disagreements with some of them, perhaps many of them. I don’t believe there’s a human on Earth with whom I live in complete agreement. But that’s not important to me. I see the value to humanity in each of these humans with both their strengths and weaknesses. I choose to see the beauty in what they embody and I also choose to learn from their philosophies or practices that I do not fully align with. 

Every person on this list has made an impact in my life. Some have been a substantial influence. I have marked those with an asterisk [*]. 

Why am I sharing this selection of humans with you? Because I believe that we become what we surround ourselves with. I believe that listening to their words, learning from their actions and learning from their explorations can aid each of us on the path to liberation. I believe that taking time to truly understand their philosophies can help us to come into harmony as a humanity and come into harmony with Earth and the plants and animals we share this home with. 

I could tell you everything that I love about each them, but instead, I’ll simply share this as an opportunity to explore these gems of humanity. You are welcome to click on their name to be taken to their website or Wikipedia profile to learn more about them. 

Mahatma Gandhi*
Vandana Shiva*
Thich Nhat Hanh*
Martin Luther King, Jr.*
Wangari Maathai*
Leah Penniman*
Robin Wall Kimmerer*
Annie Leonard*
H.H. The Dalai Lama*
Nelson Mandela*
Angela Davis*
Carl Sagan*
Winona LaDuke*
Jack Johnson*
Yvon Chouinard*
Mark Boyle*
Tristram Stuart*
Michael Pollan*
Paul Stamets*
Marshall Rosenberg*
Michelle Alexander*
Bryan Stevenson*
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez*
Sandor Katz*
Samuel Thayer*
David Attenborough*
Amy Goodman
Charles Eisenstein
Jane Goodall
David Suzuki
Dr. Cornel West
Alice Waters
Bernie Sanders*
Robert Reich
Noam Chomsky
Stephen Hawking
Neil DeGrasse Tyson*
Rowen White*
James Baldwin*
Paul Hawken*
George Carlin*
Bob Marley
Autumn Peltier
Satish Kumar
Sean Sherman – The Sioux Chef*
Linda Black Elk*
Leah Thomas*The Intersectional Environmentalist
Karen Washington
Ron Finley*
Jerry Greenfield* and Ben Cohen*
Fred Rogers*
Harvey Milk*
Malala
John Francis – The Planetwalker
Alexis Nikole Nelson AKA Black Forager
Nemonte Nenquimo
Chase Iron Eyes
Eric Joseph Lewis
Banksy
S. N. Goenka
Paramahansa Yogananda
Jai Dev Singh

More: 

Will Allen, John Oliver, Van Jones, Michael Moore, Amma, Naomi Klein, Bill Mckibben, Tom Goldtooth, Ava DuVernay, Rachel Cargle, Xavier Rudd, Malik Yakini, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren 

Read Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists which brings together many of today’s most respected and influential Black environmental voices. The book is a powerful reminder of how ecological humility is an intrinsic part of Black cultural heritage. 

Explore the list of Peace Activists on Wikipedia, including Peace Pilgrim. 

Listen to Green Dreamers by Kamea Chayne and For the Wild by Ayana Young to be introduced to many messengers for Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. 
 

Resources for Education and Inspiration:

Robin Greenfield’s Book Recommendations
50+ People to Listen to and Learn from
Films that Changed My Life
Nonprofits I Recommend and Support
Social Media Pages I Recommend to Follow
YouTube Channels I Recommend to Watch
Black Liberation Resources
Indigenous Sovereignty Resources

This page was created in 2014 and was last updated 12/08/2023.

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