March 6, 2023 /
Christina Hester

Happy Women’s History Month!

For Women’s History Month, we’d like to recognize some of the amazing female environmentalists who have changed the world for the better. We are inspired by these women and their work and hope that their legacy will continue to inspire future generations to protect and preserve the planet.

Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Carson was the first person to warn of the long-term dangers of synthetic pesticides, particularly DDT, and her research influenced environmental policy in the United States. She wrote three books, including The Sea Around Us, which won a National Book Award in 1951. In 1962, Carson published Silent Spring, which argued that DDT and other pesticides had dangerous effects on the environment and human health. The book generated an international response and was instrumental in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carson died in 1964 from a battle with breast cancer. Her legacy continues to be felt today, as her writings have inspired generations of environmentalists.

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan activist, the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate, and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1976, while she was serving in the National Council of Women, Professor Maathai introduced the idea of community-based tree planting. She continued to develop this idea into a broad-based grassroots organization, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. Since its creation, over 51 million trees have been planted and thousands of women have been trained in forestry and other related fields. Maathai’s renown legacy lives on today through her foundation and all those who she inspired to make a difference.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who has inspired millions of people around the world to take action on climate change. She rose to international fame in 2018 when she began her “school strike for climate” in Stockholm, where she would sit in front of the Swedish Parliament every Friday to protest the lack of action on climate change. Her activism has since spread around the world, and she has been featured on the covers of multiple magazines and newspapers. She has given speeches at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and other high-profile events and has been awarded several awards including TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year. Her powerful message and dedication to making a difference in the fight against climate change has inspired people of all ages to join her in taking action to protect our planet.

Xiye Bastida is a 17-year-old environmental activist from Mexico. She is a leader in the global climate justice movement, advocating for Indigenous rights and the protection of the planet. She has been named one of TIME Magazine’s 2020 Next Generation Leaders and was a leading voice in the 2019 Global Climate Strike. Xiye is a member of the Otomí-Toltec Indigenous community and has been advocating for Indigenous rights since she was a child. She is passionate about addressing the climate crisis from a social justice perspective and believes that Indigenous voices must be included in the conversation. She recently joined the board of directors for Earth Uprising, a youth-led environmental organization, and is a well-known speaker on the global stage.

Autumn Peltier is a Canadian environmental activist and water protector who has gained international recognition for her advocacy. She was only 8 years old when she became a water protector after speaking at the Assembly of First Nations in 2015. In 2018, Autumn was invited to the G7 Summit in Quebec to present her message of clean water to the leaders of the world. She has since gone on to advocate for the protection of water and the environment around the world. Autumn believes that the water is a living being and should not be treated as a commodity. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous rights and sovereignty and is a powerful voice for young people in her community and beyond. Autumn is an inspiring example of how one person can make a difference and inspire others to take action.