Time magazine names eco-heroes

Time magazine has published its annual list of the year's heroes - but this year the line-up has focused on those dedicated to the environment.

Nobel prize winner Al Gore, the Toyota Prius design team and entrepreneur Richard Branson are among those who make the influential list for their contributions to solving some of the biggest threats to the planet, such as climate change, pollution and species depletion.

Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, naturalist David Attenborough and geneticist David Suzuki are among the heroes who fall into the magazine’s leaders and visionaries category.

Time chose Russian sociologist Olga Tsepilova, and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathaias as some of its top environmental activists.

The roll call of scientists and innovators includes Australian Tim Flannery, and Bangladeshi Abul Hussam, inventor of the SONO filter to remove arsenic from drinking water.

Moguls and entrepreneurs on the list include Japanese rocker Kazutoshi Sakurai and producer Takeshi Kobayashi, who together funded a non-profit lending group for environmentally-friendly projects, and American Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric.

Michael Elliott, editor of Time International, said: “Each year at TIME International we produce a double issue that celebrates the year’s heroes – those from all walks of life, famous or not, who have made a difference in our lives.

“But 2007 has been no ordinary year; it has been the time when issues to do with the environment have forced their way into our debates, whether we have them around the family dinner table, or in the conferences where the world’s leaders meet.

“To recognize that environmental questions had found a new salience in the global conversation this year, we decided that our Heroes issue would concentrate on those who are trying to take a lead in addressing pressing questions of sustainability.”

TIME’s senior environmental writer Bryan Walsh added: “We selected candidates from developed countries, where environmentalism has had time to take root, and from developing nations, where tomorrow’s green battles will be fought.”

To view the list, visit www.time.com/time/specials

Kate Martin

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