Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” This list comes filled with those who dared to imagine; the dreamers of the world. Just as yesterday, the leaders of tomorrow will be the dreamers and the visionaries. You see... the world was once a really simple place. All we did was eat, sleep, make babies, make houses, and make graves. But we had so much imagination… So we made farms. And then we made machines. And then the machines started taking over the world. And now we’ve made everything too complicated and nothing makes sense.
We don’t even know if we’ll have a world to live in 100 years from now. Or if we’ll all get swallowed up by a giant ecological retaliation from Gaia, mother nature herself- the mother goddess, creator of the Earth, and giver of birth. She's the one from whom all the great titans and heavenly gods were born. Maybe we'll get swallowed up by Earth itself for our false sense of superiority, our love of vanity and comfort, our unending greed and all the vices you could ever imagine.
Five hundred years ago, it was illegal to say that the Earth revolved around the sun. Imagine what people will think 500 years from now. How will they think about our civilization? Are we going to fix our problems or are we going to wait for things to get worse? Perhaps YOU can change the world. Certainly, every person on this list, ranging from A-list celebrities to certified geniuses, can change the world.
10 Susan Wojcicki - YouTube
In the beginning, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were working from Wojcicki’s garage. Thus, Wojcicki became the 16th person to work at Google. Her accomplishments include amazing developments like Google Images, Google Books, AdWords, AdSense, Google Analytics and Google Video. AdSense later became Google’s second largest cash cow. She proposed that Google acquire YouTube in 2006. And she became CEO of YouTube only two years ago.
It will be exciting to see what Wojcicki does in the future. She has no lack of brilliant business ideas, and she keeps a keen eye on the relationship between content creators and fans. Wojcicki could be one of the most important people in this shift away from traditional entertainment towards a new digital frontier (currently including YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon). If anyone understands this new frontier, it is Susan Wojcicki. “People have eventually got to understand, On-Demand… they’re not gonna go back,” she said at a UCLA talk.
9 Amory Lovins
Time magazine named him one of the world’s “100 most influential people." Amory Lovins is the author of “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era," where he explains how to grow a sustainable clean economy. Plus, he’s Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI has worked with over 80 Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, several national governments, and, well, you get the picture.
He's briefed 19 heads of state, and says things like, “Buildings [of the future] will be able to provide comfort without controls… to have the building keep you comfortable regardless, all by itself.” That is already the setup of the RMI headquarters, which stays at room temperature in -40 °F Colorado winters using only sunlight and body heat. So nothing this man says should we take with a grain of salt. Lovin's "hypercar" would be able to travel 300 miles/gallon, release almost no emissions and generate power while parked.
8 Bill McKibben
Bill’s list of accomplishments and worldwide accolades is enormous. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who can explain climate change as intellectually and emotionally sharp as McKibben. On May 26, 2016, Bernie Sanders picked Bill to help him with his environmental campaign, working along with several other high profile appointees.
Bill has a way with words and statistics. He’ll tell you a story about the Earth that will stop you in your tracks. His rare gift is to offer simple solutions to complex problems. For example, Bill founded 350.org, “a global movement for climate solutions.” It started with just Bill and seven college students around 2007. Only a year later, 350.org went on to create the most “widespread day of political action in the planet’s history,” according to CNN. "350" offers a climate solution the average person can understand in only five-seconds, and since its conception, has attracted a huge amount of support.
7 Dean Kamen
CBS news called him a benefit to the “hundreds of millions of people throughout the world without access to clean water.” Dean Kamen is a dreamer. But what sets him apart from other dreamers is his pragmatism. He’s a practical Tesla who now holds over 200 patents. He’s built all-terrain wheelchairs, the first wearable insulin pump, prosthetic arms for veterans, and, of course, the Segway, to name only a few.
Today, Kamen is doing more than inventing Segways. Many scientists today, like Jeffrey Dobkin (The Dobkin Technique), say a practical solution to many major health problems is simply clean water. Kamen says clean water could cure "50% of all diseases." So in 2012, Kamen teamed up with Coca Cola to bring his water purification system to the 900 million people worldwide without adequate drinking water. His program FIRST also inspires youth.
6 Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban is the only architect in the world to successfully conceive and build shelters and community structures using paper. His paper is both fire-proof and waterproof, and if his buildings ever get torn down, someone will recycle them. At some point, Shigeru realized he was working for “rich people,” and he says he became disappointed that his team of architects was not working for society.
So he started working in needy areas in 1994, building $50 shelters for refugees in Africa. It was a cheap solution. In 1995, he built shelters in Kobe, Japan after a devastating earthquake. Shigeru went on to build more shelters which were originally meant for temporary use, but eventually became permanent. “Even the building made in paper can be permanent, as long as people love it,” said Shigeru at a TEDxTokyo talk in 2013. Today he’s built paper shelters, churches, classrooms and more, all around the world.
5 Eric Schmidt - Google
Eric Schmidt (executive chairman of Google/Alphabet Inc.) describes himself as a dreamer. He once said, “If you paint a very broad vision, you attract people who really want to make it happen.” So you could also call him an artist or a leader. Schmidt does a lot of stuff, with a lot of money and a lot of power.
So what is on Schmidt’s mind these days? Self-driving cars, real-time non-invasive health monitoring, the human genome project, stem cells, lifelong personalized education, robotics, artificial intelligence, supermaterials, sustainable cities...the entire world is on Eric Schmidt’s mind! He’s worked with Obama to further along the progress of renewable energy. And he’s also advocated internet usage in North Korea and Asia, of which he appears successful. You could call Schmidt a power hoarder. But to the contrary, Schmidt lucidly told a Google Zeitgeist audience that he wants the next generation to take charge as soon as possible.
4 Michael Bloomberg
With a net worth of $44.7 billion, Michael Bloomberg is the eighth wealthiest person in the world. And no one would stop him from running for president. He’s also not a tool. He was a Democrat until 2001, then Republican for six years, until becoming Independent in 2007, which he remains to this day. And I wouldn’t worry much about his old age (74), because with all that money I’m sure he could buy any treatment available.
Bloomberg could do more than perhaps any other person politically as an independent. And if Bill McKibben is the nation’s “leading environmentalist” then Bloomberg is the world’s “wealthiest activist.” Because whether you know it or not, Bloomberg does an extraordinary amount of things to transform U.S. environmental, healthcare, and educational policy. And whether it’s right or wrong, Bloomberg can, will, and does do major political things, such as getting coal-plants shut down in 45 states.
3 Sergey Brin
Sergey started his PhD at age 19. Then he co-founded Google with his long-time friend Larry Page. Now Sergey is worth $39.2 billion. When Google turned into Alphabet Inc., Alphabet became the parent company for what is basically a whole bunch of smaller Google companies. Sergey is currently working as the CEO of Google X, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. Simultaneously, he is the President of Alphabet.
Google X is Sergey’s passion now. And Google X is working on so many amazing things. Like the Google driverless car. Or the flying vehicle that can deliver packages across a city. There's also a second version of Google Glasses. Or “Project Loon,” which aims to make the internet available to people who currently can’t reach it. And a few other projects, including super-incredible artificial intelligence that can learn from experience. With all of this said, if Sergey Brin doesn’t change the world, then I’m not sure the world can ever change.
2 Leonardo DiCaprio - Hollywood
20 years after Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio is still a Hollywood A-lister. He is still in the news everyday, and still making movies. Only now, he’s also become a huge environmental enthusiast, involved in the affairs of over 40 countries. Earlier this month, DiCaprio posted to Instagram a photo and short description of climate change in Iran. The photo received over 316,000 likes. Short environmental intrigues get liked over 15,000 times on Leonardo’s Twitter. And apparently, he’s just as powerful in person as he is on-screen. Because earlier this year, Leo had a meeting with Pope Francis. And after the meeting, the Pope expressed his wishes to act in a film (Beyond the Sun). Never has a Pope acted on film! All in all, Leo has an amazing amount of visibility and a hugely credible platform. Leonardo could probably change the world. And perhaps Leo does change the world, a little bit everyday.
1 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is obviously a great performer, but she’s also a great activist. Whatever she does, tens of thousands of people are listening and following. Gaga naturally involves herself with celebrity activism. Whatever she does, she is always seen as a strong leading force for social change. She is not only not afraid to say whatever she wants to say, but she can’t help it.
In 2011, Gaga and her mother founded the non-profit Born This Way Foundation. Its mission is “To foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated.” And to “build a kinder, braver world.” The foundation's partners include the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Office Depot. The BTWF covers anti-bullying, homophobia, eating disorders, body image, online harassment and more. They have fostered a world-wide discussion on topics that won’t get addressed by your congressman or CNN News’ coverage during an election year.