Skoll World Forum delegate Marina Silva is “emerging as one of the most disruptive figures in Brazilian politics in a generation,” according to a recent New York Times article.

A vocal environmentalist and campaigner for social justice who has opposed the deforestation of the Amazon, Ms. Silva was selected as the Socialist Party candidate for the October 2014 Brazilian presidential elections after the death of Eduardo Campos in a plane crash.

Born in a small village in northwestern Acre state, Ms. Silva was the first rubber tapper to be elected to the Brazilian senate in 1994. While she served as environment minister in the Lula government (2003-2008) Brazil witnessed a 59% decrease in deforestation.

Watch her plenary address at the 2013 Skoll World Forum:

Some quotes from a forthcoming Skoll Foundation interview give a glimpse of Ms. Silva’s philosophy:

Nobody asks kids what they are going to do when they grow up. We ask them what they are going to be when they grow up.

We have to ask ourselves what we want to be as human race. What do we want to be as civilization? This obviously has to do with our vision of the world.

Whenever I am asked whether I am optimistic or pessimistic I say I am neither pessimistic nor optimistic. I am simply persistent.