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5 Pro-Environment Women Who Inspired Us Last Year

This past weekend, women across the world– an estimated 3.2 million worldwide with almost half a million alone in Washington, D.C.– marched as an affirmation of their presence, voice, and rights. In that spirit, we put together a list of inspiring women whose works around nature and environment have made an impression on us in the course of the last year. 2016 was a great year for women and the environment, and 2017 is set to give women even more opportunities to shine.

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard

Since the very beginning, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard has been at forefront of the #NoDAPL movement– her land and her son’s grave were both the at the edge of the proposed pipeline’s path. Not one to sit by idly, Allard set up the Sacred Stone Camp on her own private land and then took to social media to seek support. “I grabbed my iPhone, and I made a small video and posted it on Facebook: ‘Please come help’,” LaDonna told CBC Radio in November, of the origins of the protest. “People came…I couldn’t imagine this in my whole lifetime to ever see this.” Though the camps had begun to pack up at the end of January, the fight against big oil continues as Donald Trump signs executive orders to resume work on the Keystone and Dakota pipelines.

Aishol-pan (aka The Eagle Huntress)

The documentary The Eagle Huntress (one of our favorite nature films from 2016) traces the inspiring story of Aishol-pan, a 13-year-old girl who is to become the first girl in thirteen generations to become an eagle hunter. Shot against the magnificent Mongolian steppes, The Eagle Huntress is a thoroughly uplifting tale, narrated by Star Wars’ own Daisy Ridley– exactly the kind of #girlpower for all ages movie we need right now.

@jessiemacalpine via Twitter

Jessie MacAlpine

Early in 2016, we interviewed then 20-year-old Jessie MacAlpine about her bio-herbicide based malaria cure. While clinical trials are still a few years away, the mustard seed oil she uses has proven 100 % effective at combating the disease in vitro. MacAlpine began the project when she was 16 but had to wait until she was 18 to patent it– a truly impressive testament to the power of inspired youth. (And one that gives us plenty of hope for the future!)

Google Science Fair

Kiara Nirghin

Drought has been a major topic across the world, especially as Climate Change creates increasingly volatile temperatures. Last year, however, brought a major breakthrough when Kiara Nirghin, a 16-year-old from South Africa, won the Google Science Fair competition with her entry “No More Thirsty Crops”. The invention utilizes orange peels and avocado skins to create a super absorbent polymer than can store reserves of water at a minimal cost. A breakthrough for farmers, the product has the added bonus of recycling materials that are typically discarded.

Chris Eaves via Wikimedia Commons

Amy Goodman

We’ve always been impressed with Amy Goodman’s commitment to investigative, factual journalism, but this year she outdid herself with her unapologetic, down-in-the-field coverage of Standing Rock (culminating in her being slapped with a riot charge), which began before most major news outlets. In addition to her work at Democracy Now!, Goodman frequently participates in and facilitates discussions of divesting from fossil fuels. Listen to her work here.

Want to take action after the Women’s March? Check out these four sites to become a source of inspiration in your own right.

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