If you’re on a trip and start to ask yourself, I wonder who came up with those e-scooters? Or the idea to put TVs in seatbacks on airplanes? Or who designed that beautiful African American museum in Washington, D.C.? Those answers are here, among the few game-changers who made the way we see, taste, sail, and circle the world that much more incredible – part one.
Sir David Attenborough
At the time he joined the BBC as a trainee in 1952, Attenborough had only seen one TV show. He went on, of course, to present many of the most-watched and best-loved natural-history programs ever, seen by countless hundreds of millions (Life on Earth alone had some 500 million viewers worldwide when it aired in 1979). He insists that he didn’t approach film-making with any kind of conservation agenda – he merely wished to share the delight he took in observing interesting people, places, plants and animals. In the process he has probably done more than anyone else alive today to alert us not only to nature’s wonders but also the threats it faces. Such is his authority that a few minutes of his Blue Planet II addressing the matter of plastic waste were enough to provoke policy changes at the highest levels of government. Attenborough just turned 92. The ruffled quiff is thinner these days than it used to be, the instantly recognizable voice a little huskier. Yet he continues to inspire, to alter the way we look at and think about the world we inhabit. His great aim, he has often said, is simply to remind people of the interconnectedness of living things. “We are all part of the deal.” – S.K.
Credited with turning the Puma brand around a quarter of a century ago, this dynamic German businessman changed our perceptions of capitalism by sticking to sound ethical principles. Never one to rest on his sustainable laurels, Zeitz recently set up The B Team with Richard Branson, a non-profit organization determined to ensure that big businesses account for their impact on the environment. His sphere of influence is phenomenal and expanding all the time. One of Zeitz’s favorite sayings is “think globally, act locally.” After falling in love with Africa on his first safari, he went back and bought 50,000 acres in Kenya, creating Segera, a self-sustaining wildlife reserve and eco retreat. When he began collecting contemporary African art, the idea of founding a museum on the continent was born. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which opened in Cape Town last September, serves as a bold and vivid statement that Africa is a constantly evolving place, rich with positivity and creativity. Indeed, no sooner had the noise surrounding Zeitz MOCAA died down than the superb Norval Foundation museum opened in nearby Steenberg. It looks like the Face of Responsible Capitalism has just started another revolution. – Peter Browne