TreeHugger's Person of the Year: The Shortlist

Once the voting period has ended, we will honor two individuals: one representing the "People's Choice Person of the Year" and another chosen by Team TreeHugger.

The Results are in:
TreeHugger's Person of the Year, Chosen by the Readers
TreeHugger's Person of the Year

Steven Chu



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

As the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu has drawn on his experience as a researcher at Stanford, Bell Labs, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to bring a reasoned, science-based, approach to energy policy that had been missing for more than a decade. In the past year, Chu has been a vocal advocate for electric cars and has pushed the government to increase investment in clean technologies. In addition to these new responsibilities, he has also found time to continue his research, publishing papers in both February and July of 2010.

Read more about Steven Chu
Steven Chu: China Giving U.S. a Clean Technology "Sputnik Moment"
Steven Chu Announces $200M+ for Clean Solar and Water Power Technologies
Dr. Steven Chu Answers Questions from Citizens About Energy Conservation (Video)
A Day in the Life of Steven Chu, U.S. Energy Secretary Extraordinaire

Sylvia Earle



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 2009, TED Prize Winner Sylvia Earle made a wish: That TED "would use all means at your disposal...to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet." This year, she had the opportunity to see this dream become a reality with the launch of Mission Blue—and, with oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico for half of the year, her vision and skills were never needed more.

Read more about Sylvia Earle
Sylvia Earle on the Gulf Disaster and Saving the Seas (Podcast)
TED 2010: Sylvia Earle Gets Her Wish - Mission Blue Launches To Create Marine Preserves
Save the Oceans, Save Ourselves! Sylvia Earle's Top 3 Actions to Take on World Oceans Day

Josh Fox



Photo credit: The Daily Show/Comedy Central

In 2008, a Josh Fox received a letter from a natural gas company. It expressed the company's interest in leasing a piece of land in Pennsylvania owned by Fox's family—and explained that the company was willing to pay $100,000 for the access. Instead of blindly accepting the offer, Fox dug deeper, uncovering the dirty, dangerous, process of natural gas extraction. He turned his research into a documentary, Gasland, of which one reviewer said "Gasland may become to the dangers of natural gas drilling what Silent Spring was to DDT."

Read more about Josh Fox
Burning Tap Water and More: GASLAND Exposes the Natural Gas Industry
Wyoming Town Close to Drilling Told To Avoid Drinking Water
Sundance Film Fest 2010 Debuts New Hot Eco-Docs

Jane Goodall



Photo credit: whiteafrican/Creative Commons

For 50 years, Jane Goodall has been researching chimpanzees and apes and advocating for the conservation of the world's most threatened habitats. For all of these years, Goodall has argued that conservation plans "cannot separate the people from the animals," and, indeed, from marine reserves to the savannas of Africa, policy makers are finally realizing that community involvement is essential to the protection of biodiversity. With the awarding of two major grants to the Jane Goodall Institute, and a theatrical documentary set to hit theaters, 2010 has been a good year for Goodall.

Read more about Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall's Chimpanzees Win Prizes
Jane Goodall on Why She's REDD-Faced: Copenhagen's Big Market-Based Plan to Keep Forests Alive (Video)
Quote of the Day: Jane Goodall on the Human Animal

Lisa P. Jackson



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

After getting off to an impressive start in 2009, the EPA, led by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, has been a little quiet in 2010. Still, the department has continued to embrace a science-based approach to some the the country's most pressing problems: Climate change, air quality, chemical safety, the protection of drinking water, and more.

Read more about Lisa P. Jackson
EPA Leader Jackson Lays Out 2010 Priorities
EPA Administrator Pens Blog Against Murkowski's 'Dirty Air' Amendment
EPA's Lisa Jackson on Earth Day, Plus: Her Top Green Tips (Interview)

Ray LaHood



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

When Barack Obama announced his decision to nominate Republican Congressman Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, it was widely seen as a concession to car and road-favoring opponents across the aisle. Nothing, it turns out, could have been farther from the truth. In 2010, LaHood proved that he was not bound by his past, both by radically changing US transportation policy—announcing it would no longer "favor motorized transportation"—and giving an impassioned tabletop speech at the National Bike Summit. Indeed, he has shown that the future of America—at least in his vision—is walkable, bike friendly, and not at all dominated by the personal car.

Read more about Ray LaHood
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Marks "End of Favoring Motorized Transportation"
Ray LaHood's Tabletop Speech at the National Bike Summit
Ray LaHood Talks About 'Livable Communities'

Elon Musk



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

At the end of 2009—as major auto manufacturers imploded under the strain of global economic crisis—it seemed like the Silicon Valley-upstart Tesla Motors was certainly doomed. However, a year later—against all expectations—Tesla seems poised to take the roads by storm. Thanks to a loan from the federal government, an IPO, and the tireless work of Co-Founder Elon Musk, the company managed to not only weather the economic storm, but actually refocus its mission, securing a full-scale manufacturing plant and announcing plans to unveil a new sedan targeting a wider market. Indeed, the story of Tesla, certainly, isn't over—and that alone deserves recognition.

Read more about Elon Musk
Toyota and Tesla Partner to Build Electric Cars Near San Francisco
Tesla Motors Expands IPO to 13.3m shares, Could Raise $226m
Tesla Roadster Sport 2010: The TreeHugger Test Drive (Photos)

Michelle Obama



Photo credit: David DeFranza

Since becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama had made the fight against obesity the primary focus of her energy. With the obesity epidemic as the causus belli, she has worked to advocate for the importance of local and organic foods. From the White House garden to the new Farmers' Market outside, the First Lady has emerged as a role model for healthy, sustainable, eating.

Read more about Michelle Obama
'First Locavore' Michelle Obama to Oprah: Veggie Garden Coming to White House Lawn
The White House Farmers' Market Opens to an Excited Crowd
Michelle Obama Enlarges the White House Organic Garden

Jon Stewart



Photo credit: cliff1066/Creative Commons

There was nothing explicitly "green," perhaps, about Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity", but the need for a return to civility and rationality in the national discourse certainly extends to discussions of the environment. Though the lasting impact of the stunt will always be debatable, the sentiment—essential for solving big problems—had to be shouted.

Read more about Jon Stewart
Supporting Sanity Over Fear: TreeHugger Edition
Daily Show Calls Out Climate Deniers Over East Coast Storm Lies
Jon Stewart's Outlook on BP Gulf Spill: "We're So F*$ked" (Video)
The Results are in:
TreeHugger's Person of the Year, Chosen by the Readers
TreeHugger's Person of the YearOnce the voting period has ended, we will honor two individuals: one representing the "People's Choice Person of the Year" and another chosen by Team TreeHugger.

Vote for TreeHugger's Person of the Year!

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