Happy March 8, 2011, International Women’s Day! In honour of this day I decided to make a list of 10 women who are or were environmental achievers. Tomorrow, I’ll post a list of men who have excelled in working for the environment.
- Rachel Carson, American ecologist, wrote Silent Spring, in the 1960’s, warning of the dangers of pesticide use in industrial agriculture. Often credited for setting off modern environmentalism.
- Marion Stoddart, in the 1960’s started a fifteen-year crusade to restore the polluted Nashua River in Massachusetts, USA.
- Wangari Maathai, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work in Kenya, and Africa as a whole, promoting sustainable development, protection of forests, women’s rights, and democracy.
- Elizabeth May, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada since 1989, prolific author, environmentalist, and lawyer, who has won many prizes for her environmental efforts.
- H.E. Marina Silva, Brazil legislator who is credited for promoting legislation that significantly slowed deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and that improved the lives of persons directly affected; winner of a 2007 Champions of the Earth UN award.
- Eileen Wani Wingfield, spokesperson for an Australian aboriginal group that fought the establishment of a radioactive waste dump site in south Australia (winner of a 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco).
- Erin Brockovich, American, trained as a law clerk, known for launching lawsuits against major corporations for environmental contamination—and became very well known when she was the subject of a feature Hollywood film released in 2000.
- Maude Barlow, Canadian environmental awards winner–activist for water sustainability and justice, author of many books, including Blue Covenant–The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (2007)
- Maria Cherkasova, Russian journalist, ecologist, and activist who coordinated a four-year campaign to stop construction of a hydro-electric dam on the Katun River in Russia. In 1990 she became director of the Centre for Independent Ecological Programmers.
- Maria Elena Foronda Farro, a Goldman Environment Prize winner, honoured for her activism in the Peru fishmeal industry, campaigned to end dumping of toxic waste into the air and waterways, and promoted sustainable alternative practices.
There are hundreds and perhaps thousands more women with noteworthy environmental achievements. If you know of someone you think should be included in a larger list I’d love to hear from you!