In pop culture, environmentalists tend to be portrayed as a little soft, or less manly, even effeminate, which can probably be blamed for bringing the image of a bedraggled and bearded skinny hippy guy to mind when the term 'treehugger' gets thrown around. But there are actually quite a few tough green guys who would put the lie to that stereotype, from athletes to actors to activists, because trying to keeping our only planet in good enough shape to continue to sustain our lives is an essential manly skill, whether or not you're wearing a tie-dyed headband, a Deadhead t-shirt, or patchouli oil.
Here are seven of the toughest guys working to save our natural resources:
Captain Paul Watson:
For 31 years, Captain Paul Watson has been running the world's most active (and radical) marine non-profit organization - the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. With 274 voyages under his belt, his experiences have been pivotal in bringing the fight to ocean offenders, and has a record that speaks volumes about his commitment. In the process, he's engaged in ramming boats of illegal whalers, he's scuttled illegal whaling ships, been in seven naval confrontations, and come under attack from firearms four times. He continues to lead Sea Shepherd campaigns in protection of marine wildlife across the globe.
The young man who dared to try to outbid oil and gas companies for land leases in Utah in order to keep them out of production certainly showed some ballsy behavior. He acted on his impulse to do something, anything, to stop the 'land grab' and fire sale of some of the most beautiful land in the west. He's now serving two years in federal prison for his actions, and he's still calling for more civil disobedience in the climate fight.
Not just another pretty face in Hollywood, Damon is also the cofounder of Water.org, which works to find solutions to the global water crisis. He also co-wrote, and will star in, a new anti-fracking film, called 'The Promised Land'. Damon is certainly not afraid of putting his 'green' heart on his sleeve, and we wish more celebrities would follow suit.
Jones, a former White House advisor, wrote an instant classic on green jobs, called The Green Collar Economy, and co-founded Green for All, which is "working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty" by advocating for a clean-energy economy.
This 10-time world champion surfer is not just another pretty athlete or media personality, he's also an ardent environmental activist and fundraiser. He's the founder of the Kelly Slater Foundation, which serves to raise both awareness and financial support for social and environmental charities on local and international scales.
El Hijo del Santo
A superstar in Mexican professional wrestling, or Lucha Libre, El Hijo del Santo is also the spokesperson for the environmental non-profit WiLDCOAST, and wants all "icons, artists, and role models of the world to unite and become guides leading the way to a sustainable future."
Hall of Fame surfer and über-masculine Hamilton lends his weight to organizations trying conserve the oceans, and other media projects such as All the Way to the Ocean.
READ MORE: Laird Hamilton on Open-Ocean Sailing and More (Interview)
Check out More Slideshows from Discovery.com...
How to Brew Your Own Beer (in an Apartment)
Best and Worst of Summer Blockbusters: What To See, What To Skip, Who To Watch for
8 Surprisingly Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars
The Wildest Places Left on Earth