The Greatest Facial Hair in the History of Environmental Advocacy

Behold, the finest beards, mus­tach­es, goa­tees, and mut­ton chops to ever grace the con­ser­va­tion, envi­ron­ment, and out­door communities. 

Know of any that are bet­ter? Tell us about it in the comments.


Edward Abbey
The author of Desert Soli­taire and The Mon­key Wrench Gang was a staunch envi­ron­men­tal crit­ic in his day, and his work has been cit­ed by groups like Earth First!, Green­peace, and Earth Lib­er­a­tion Front. Mr. Abbey’s beard is inspi­ra­tional in its own right: a bird’s nest that reflects his life­long denun­ci­a­tion of ‘civ­i­lized life’.

Ansel Adams
Arguably the great­est out­door pho­tog­ra­ph­er of his ― or any oth­er ― time, Mr. Adams rocked a full beard through­out his life. In his younger days, the whiskers were kept at a mod­est length. But after he achieved world­wide fame lat­er in life, Ansel start­ed to let it all hang out, so to speak.

Patri­arch Bartholomew I of Con­stan­tino­ple
Dubbed ‘The Green Pope’, this Turk­ish holy man was award­ed the Sophie Prize for his work in areas like cli­mate change and eco­log­i­cal ero­sion. His beard has also been rec­og­nized for its volu­mi­nous great­ness; at a con­fer­ence last Decem­ber, Jane Goodall likened it to the “beau­ti­ful white beard” of an ape she once encoun­tered in Africa. This was intend­ed, and received, as a heart­felt compliment.

Paul Ehrlich
Lest we for­get about cer­tain types of facial hair, Paul Ehrlich, cur­rent­ly the pres­i­dent of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty’s Cen­ter for Con­ser­va­tion Biol­o­gy, makes our list for the sweet chops he rocked through­out his career (most promi­nent­ly in the 60’s and 70’s). While his the­o­ries on over­pop­u­la­tion have been great­ly dis­put­ed over the years, no one will argue about the great­ness of Mr. Ehrlich’s sideburns.

Chico Mendes
Mr. Mendes spent his life oppos­ing the urban­iza­tion and defor­esta­tion that plagued his native coun­try of Brazil ― and through most of it, he main­tained as hand­some a mus­tache as the days are long. Sad­ly, he was mur­dered under mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances in 1988 ― but you can still view Chico’s ‘stache in all its glo­ry on a bust that was erect­ed in Sao Paulo’s Ibi­ra­puera Park.

John Muir
It stands to rea­son that the found­ing father of mod­ern envi­ron­men­tal advo­ca­cy boast­ed one of the great­est beards of all time. Con­sid­er this: Mr. Muir’s beard extend­ed near­ly a foot at its great­est length, while the man only stood five feet and nine inch­es tall.

Phil Rad­ford
Mr. Rad­ford, a long­time envi­ron­men­tal advo­cate who cur­rent­ly serves as the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Green­peace USA, finds the right bal­ance with his goa­tee. Its full­ness dis­plays his rugged­ness, while its trim shape allows him to get down to busi­ness with his D.C. counterparts.