Primed by record-breaking heat, a prolonged drought and windy conditions, Australia’s southern coast has been ravaged with devastating brushfires since September, forcing thousands out of their homes. The fires have claimed 33 innocent lives and has destroyed over 3,000 homes. With 26.2 million acres of land decimated, millions of animals have been under threat, wounded or killed. This extreme event attribute has caused climate scientist and conservationists to speak out on climate change’s role in exacerbating natural disasters. WWSG is proud of the work our elite Speakers have done for our environment and we continue to assist in ‘raising up’ these powerful voices as they fight against environmental catastrophes like Australia’s wildfires, caused by climate change.
Cristina Mittermeier - One of the most influential female photographers in the world and a powerful voice in conservation photography. Cristina began her career as a Marine Biologist. She soon discovered that she could better advocate for the planet through the lens of her camera than she could with data on spreadsheets. In 2005 she founded the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) which works to support environmental conservation through ethical photography. Cristina also co-founded the conservation society SeaLegacy with her partner, Paul Nicklen which is a collective of photographers who focus on cleaner, healthier oceans.
Paul Nicklen – As a co-founder of SeaLegacy, Paul is one of the world’s most acclaimed nature photographers, an acclaimed polar specialist, author, conservationist, National Geographic Fellow, and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine with 20 completed stories to date. He is also highly respected by the conservation community for his outspoken work, collaborating with scientists, filmmakers, conservationists and explorers to create awareness and inspire action for global issues like climate change. Paul has even been awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council BioGems Visionary Award and most recently, was bestowed an honorary PhD at the University of Victoria, for the impact his photography has had on climate change.
Jane Goodall - Hailed as the world’s most important conservationist and animal welfare activist, Dr. Goodall is most famous for her 45-year study of the social and familial interactions of wild chimpanzees. Knowing that local communities are key to protecting chimpanzees she founded the Jane Goodall Institute and redefined traditional conservation with an approach that recognizes the central role people play in the well-being of animals and habitat. Then in 1991, when a group of young people confided their own deep concerns, she invited them to help start Roots & Shoots, a program at work with young people in 100 countries to foster the informed generation of conservation leaders our world so urgently needs.
Newt Gingrich – A longtime advocate for environmentalism and endangered species, Newt Gingrich taught the first environmental studies courses at West Georgia College in the 1970’s. Since then he has been a major proponent for environmentalism. Whether it is working with Nancy Pelosi on a campaign to address climate change, Co-writing A Contract with the Earth about bipartisan environmentalism, or advocating for endangered species through his company Gingrich 360, Newt Gingrich has been an outspoken voice for conservation.
These speakers have used their powerful voices and years of experience to shed a light on these important environmental challenges, not just in Australia but for all the disastrous causes of Climate Change. Cristina Mittermeier once described the job of a conservation photographer as “creating images to inspire people to change behavior” and commit to a public obligation to reverse the impact of climate change. Through their images, writings, research and speeches these thought leaders and climate crusaders have changed the behavior, body of knowledge and thinking of so many.