The power behind the environmental movement lies in the voices that rise in discontent.
Without these battle cries for mainstream, affordable electric cars, widespread solar power, replanting efforts for endangered wildlife, gadget repairability, and clean energy without ground contamination, this world would be a much less pleasant place.
Each year, TreeHugger honors the people whose herculean efforts produced stand-out performances in the global environmental movement. This is our tribute to the five activists below, whom we hear loud and clear.
Who do you think should be TreeHugger Person of the Year? Vote below through Tuesday, December 18, 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time.
1. Elon Musk
He even won a $1000 bet with a journalist in the process.
Musk, who is also chairman of solar energy system installer SolarCity, and CEO of space transportation company SpaceX, and who a few years ago founded and sold Zip2 and Paypal, had a dream to take electric cars mainstream. And despite critics expecting him to fail, he did it.
More on Elon Musk
1-Hour Interview With Elon Musk: Tesla, SolarCity, Electric Planes, 'Fool Cells", and Lots More...
Elon Musk Wins Model S Bet With Journalist, Donates $1 Million to Charity Anyway
Tesla CEO Elon Musk Speaks on the Future of Energy and Transportation
2. Hermann Scheer
This past summer, half of Germany was running on solar power -- a feat that would never have been possible without one of the world's leading solar power advocates, Hermann Sheer.
Sheer, who died in 2010 at the age of 66 with a library of renewable energy books under his belt, was a member of the German parliament for three decades, president of Eurosolar, the European Association for Renewable Energy, and general chair of the World Council for Renewable Energy. We honor him with this posthumous award for his efforts in spreading solar power in not just Germany, but around the world.
Solar power today would not be the force it is without this one man's personal mission.
More on Hermann Sheer
World Future Council Launches PACT
More on Solar Power in Germany
Last Weekend, Half of Germany Was Running on Solar Power
Germany Added 543 Megawatts of Solar Power Capacity in July
3. Jadav "Molai" Payeng
Jadav "Molai" Payeng is not one to be intimidated by a massive undertaking: Such as planting, say, a forest in northern India's Assam region on a barren sandbar.
At just 16, Payeng discovered a large number of dead snakes -- washed on to the sandbar to die without any protection from the heat. He took action, and today, the spot holds 1,360 acres of jungle, providing shelter not just snakes but birds, deers, rhinos, tigers, and elephants -- species increasingly at risk from habitat loss elsewhere.
4. Kyle Wiens of iFixit
The amount of electronics the world tosses annually is shocking -- some 20 to 50 million metric tons. One man is here to make a dent in that number.
With free online repair guides, tools, parts, and upgrades for sale, sensational tear-downs of Apple products, and more, iFixit brings repairability to the home -- extending the life of gadgets that would otherwise end up in the bin.
It's a horrifying thought that fixing gadgets, in our modern age, is a revolutionary concept. Weins is here to change this.
5. Sandra Steingraber
A cancer surviver that blames reckless agricultural and industrial pollution for widespread cancer in her home town, Sandra Steingraber has recently risen to the forefront of the anti-fracking movement.
The ecologist and outspoken environmentalist is the author of the book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment. In August of this year, she made headlines for her Pledge to Resist Fracking speech and op-ed given during a Don't Frack New York rally in Albany, NY.
Today, she is on a mission to help citizens of Colorado in their fight to stop fracking.
Steingraber's story is a personal one. Through the story of her own suffering, she wishes to end the devastating and unnecessary suffering of others due to disease from environmental pollution.
More on Sandra Steingraber
The Science is Clear: Hydraulic Fracturing is Putting the Lives of our Children at Risk
Book Review: The Future of Nature
New York Fracking Proposal Creates "Sacrifice Zones" in Poor Counties