From solar and wind technicians to environmental specialists, the dedicated individuals working in renewable energy and sustainability are doing a lot to make our world a better place to live. When the job gets tough, or you’re exhausted from a long day of work, it can be hard to remember just how important these roles are. Need a dose of inspiration (and a little nostalgia)? Check out this list of some of our favorite fictional environmentalists that’s sure to cheer you up.
1. Lisa Simpson, “The Simpsons”
Although this middle child is often overlooked by her family on “The Simpsons”, Lisa is very passionate and intelligent for being (eternally) 7 years old. One of her passions, of course, is environmentalism. In fact, several episodes of the show featuring her have won Genesis and Environmental Media Awards.
2. Al Gore’s Head, “Futurama”
In the show’s imagining of the 31st century, former vice president of the United States Al Gore is not only still around — with his head stored in a glass jar — but is also the emperor of the moon. What hasn’t changed over the past century is his activism around climate change. He makes several cameos throughout the series in episodes that touch on environmental issues.
3. Swamp Thing, DC Comics
There have been many iterations of this DC character over the years — formerly a scientist working in the Louisiana swamps on a bio-restorative formula that could help grow vegetation in desert climates, Alec Holland is victim of an explosion that turns him into Swamp Thing. As a humanoid mass of vegetable matter with no hope of becoming human again, Swamp Thing instead turns his efforts to protect his swamp home, the environment, and humanity from various villains.
At the beginning of this Disney Pixar Film, Wall-E is merely a lonely robot designed to clean up an abandoned, waste-covered Earth. Over the course of the film, he finds the first sign of plant life on the planet, falls in love with a robot named EVE, travels to outer space, foils a villain’s plan, and makes even the most stoic viewer shed a tear or two. While his actions are partly driven by his programming, we think he still counts as an environmental hero.
5. Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the ‘90s cartoon show created specifically to educate children on the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Fighting off eco-villains like Hoggish Greedly and Duke Nukem was all in a day’s work for the Captain and his international team of passionate, teen-aged environmentalists.