From fighting to combat climate change to discovering the world’s intrepid landscapes and wonders, these seven fearless activists and explorers are helping to change and explore the world as we know it.
Climate Activist Greta Thunberg | @gretathunberg
Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old girl from Sweden who was voted Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Greta is a fearless climate and environmental activist who began a global movement by skipping school. In August 2018, she spent days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament holding a sign that read ‘Skolstrejk for Klimatet’ (School Strike for Climate). She has since addressed heads of state at the United Nations, met with the Pope and has sparred with President Trump via Twitter. She single-handedly inspired more than four million people to take part in a global climate strike in 2019, which was the largest climate demonstration in history.
Women’s Rights Activist Emma Watson | @emmawatson
Emma Watson is a vocal advocate for women’s rights as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and an actress known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movie franchise. As an active member of Time’s Up, she uses her celebrity status to increase public discussion and awareness around gender equality. Emma is a member of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and last year used Instagram to announce a rallying cry to world leaders and her 55 million followers, writing: “The G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council has a simple first step for gender equality. Ditch discriminatory laws and adopt laws that lift up girls and women.”
Animal Welfare Activist Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot is an outspoken campaigner on animal welfare issues. She rose to fame as an actress, singer and fashion model from the 1950s. At the height of her fame in 1973, she stopped acting and decided to dedicate her life to animal welfare. In 1986, she established her own organization dedicated to the protection of animals — the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. Her achievements include funding the construction of a wild animal hospital in Chile and facilities to care for mistreated bears in Bulgaria, koalas in Australia, elephants in Thailand and for horses in Tunisia.
Explorer Bear Grylls | @beargrylls
Bear Grylls is an impressive adventurer, survival expert and former SAS trooper. As a child, Bear was already an avid climber when he joined the cub scouts. In 1988, a parachuting accident led to a severe spinal injury and he was told he may never walk again. 18 months later at the age of 23, Bear climbed the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal. He was subsequently awarded a Guinness World Record for being the youngest British person to successfully scale Mount Everest. His adventures include circumnavigating the British Isles on a jet ski and crossing the north Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable boat. In 2009, he became The Scout Association’s youngest-ever Chief Scout — his proudest achievement to date.
Rock Climber Alex Honnold | @alexhonnold
Alex Honnold is an American rock climber who is best known for his free solo ascents of big walls. Free solo climbing is a form of rock climbing without ropes, harnesses or other protective equipment, forcing the climber to rely entirely on their own strength and skill. Alex is the only person to free solo El Capitan — a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park. He achieved this incredible feat in June 2017 and his quest to perform his free solo climb of El Capitan was the subject of the Oscar-winning film, Free Solo. The term ‘free solo’ was consequently added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2019.
Social Justice Activist Yara Shahidi | @yarashahidi
Yara Shahidi made her TV debut at 14 playing Zoey Johnson on the ABC sitcom, Black-ish. Now 19, Yara is widely known for speaking out on issues surrounding politics and social justice. Her voice is so important to her generation, Oprah Winfrey has said she hopes she is still alive when Yara becomes president. For her 18th birthday, Yara hosted a voting party in a registration booth and launched the national initiative, Eighteen x 18 to encourage young people to vote. In 2018, Yara enrolled in Harvard University. Her application to Harvard was supported by a recommendation from former first lady, Michelle Obama, who commended Yara on her efforts to influence social change.
Women’s Rights Activist Malala Yousafzai | @malala
Malala loved school and relished learning, but this all changed in 2008 when the Taliban took control of Swat Valley, Pakistan — where Malala lived. Girls were told they could no longer go to school. In 2012, Malala bravely spoke out on behalf of girls and why they have a right to an education. On her way home from school in October that year — a masked gunman boarded the school bus and shot Malala in the left side of her head. She woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. In 2014, after months of surgeries and rehabilitation, Malala and her family moved to a new home in the UK. Malala chose to make the most of her new life and continued to fight. She established the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve the future they choose.