As chairman of the National Wildlife Federation, 52-year-old Jerome Ringothe first African-American to hold the top spot at a major conservation organizationwent on a mission to make green more inclusive. "Poor people and people of color are the most adversely affected by bad environmental practices, but we are the least involved," says the Louisiana native, who grew up hunting and fishing on the bayous near his hometown of Lake Charles. He spent the past two years preaching his message to inner-city kids, Native Americans, Beltway politicos, and residents of New Orleans's hurricane-devastated Ninth Ward. Ringo's two-year term at the NWF ended last month, but he's still spreading the word as president of the Washington, D.C.-based alt-energy think tank Apollo Alliance. Their goal: to drum up three million new clean-energy jobs and eliminate America's foreign-oil dependence by 2017.
CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON
Watson, 56, cofounded Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and has spent the past 35 years fighting the whalers, sealers, and poachers decimating marine ecosystems. "We save whales for whales," he says. "We don't protect them for people."