6 Women Environmental Activists You Should Know
In honor of International Women’s Day, we put together a (by no means exhaustive!) list of women around the world who inspire us with their pioneering environmental work. Though their projects range from community gardens to national policy, each is addressing an important aspect of the environment as we know it. Check out the awesome ladies below!
Yes, that Bianca Jagger. The actress-turned-advocate runs the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation (BJHRF), which addresses Climate Change in addition to violence against women and girls, the rights of indigenous populations, and the rights of future generations. While she acknowledges these causes “may seen unrelated,” Jagger argues they exist as symptoms of a larger issue. BJHRF focuses predominantly on research and advocacy to work towards its goals.
A public radio host and TED talk alum, Majora Carter has been a long standing advocate for environmental justice. In pursuit of ecologically minded urban revitalization, South Bronx native Carter set up Sustainable South Bronx (which offers green job training and builds community greening initiatives) and Green For All (which seeks to build a green economy to lift people out of poverty). Carter then transferred to the private sector, establishing her own company to “spread the message and success of social enterprise and economic development in low-status communities”.
Winona LaDuke is currently the Program Director of Honor Earth, whose mission is to “is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities”. In the past, LaDuke ran as Ralph Nader’s Vice President; her other work includes establishing the White Earth Land Recovery Project, which seeks to develop culturally based sustainable development strategies, including protecting indigenous plants. Most recently, she was involved in the #NoDAPL protests.
Journalist Naomi Klein is known for her bestselling books and incisive articles, which focus specifically on the effect of capitalism on the environment. In addition to her writing, Klein been invited by Pope Francis to speak at the Vatican (when Pope Francis released his second, earth-oriented encyclical) and has been extremely vocal about current events, like giving a speech at the Great Ape-Snake War protests (where she criticized money being poured into fossil fuels), or calling for international sanctions to be placed on the United States if Donald Trump withdraws from the Paris Agreement.
Though not as well known in the United States, Junko Edahiro is a prominent environmental journalist, social entrepreneur, and slow movement advocate in Japan. Beyond her writing, she co-founded and is the chief executive of Japan for Sustainability (a non-profit that distributes information on how to live more sustainably), translates seminal international environmental authors (like Al Gore) into Japanese, and was an advisor to Japan’s prime minister in 2008 during a Climate Change summit. Currently, she is a professor at the Department of Environmental Management at Tokyo City University.
After living in the Bronx for 26 years, Karen Washington moved to Orange County, NY in 2015 to live near Rise & Root Farm, a space dedicated to cultivating “strong, loving relationships between family, farm partners, and the larger community”. Washington has been a longtime advocate for all New Yorkers to have access to fresh, locally grown food, and has worked to transform vacant lots into community gardens. In addition, she helped launch City Farms Market, co-founded Black Urban Growers, and is a board member at the New York Botanical Garden, New York City Community Garden Coalition, and Just Food.