Celebrating Female Environmentalists this Women's History Month
by Tatiana Orr
Women are the source of life, so it is no surprise that they are at the forefront of environmentalism. In some countries, March is Women’s History Month and is meant to celebrate the history and accomplishments of women as it corresponds with International Women’s Day on March 8th. Women have been an integral part of the climate change movement since the very beginning and continue to be influential in bringing attention to the most important issues around the world. These four women are kicking up dust and refuse to back down from their platforms no matter what obstacles come their way.
Nenmonte Nenquimo- The indigenous community has always been at the very front of climate change, particularly those living in the Amazonian rainforest. As a member of the Waorani tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon, she and other indigenous activists led the campaign for legal action that resulted in the protection of over 500,000 acres of land from the oil industry. She is the first female president of the Waorani of Pastaza and co-founder of the indigenous non-profit organization Ceibo Alliance. This past year she was the recipient of the most prestigious environmental award, the Goldman Environmental Prize and was named on the 2020 Time 100 list. She gave the world a beautiful reminder that ancestral land is sacred and not to be taken for granted.
Isatou Ceesay- The Queen of Recycling. She gains her title from from a recycling movement she started called One Plastic Bag in the Gambia, which then evolved into a community based organization, The Gambia which is now Njau Recycling and Income Generation Group (NRIGG), and services over 11,000 people in four separate communities teaching women how to repurpose waste and turn it into sellable products. She has been honored with The International Alliance for Women Difference Maker Award, and is a published author. Her grassroots organization changed the lives of many giving income sources to families with very little means, empowers women, and continues to be a blueprint for turning “waste to wealth” within the recycling community.
Greta Thunberg- Chances are you have heard her name and seen her face. At 18 years old, she has made international headlines for her straightforward approach to calling on the public and political leaders to take action in order to save our planet. Her activism started in her home country Sweden in 2018 where she and others organized a student strike in front of Sweden’s parliament and gained worldwide attention. Since then, she gave a powerful speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and has been nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes. She may already have made her mark in the world, but we have a feeling she is just getting started.
Miranda Wang- CEO and co-founder of Novoloop(formerly Biocollection), Wang together with her high school friend Jeanny Yao are using science and technology to change the world. The company specializes in plastic to plastic chemical upcycling focusing on polyethylene plastic waste. Her company patented ATOD™ process transforms the waste into a platform chemical with 70% less CO2e footprints and synthesizes them into quality performance materials. She won a Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureate, made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, is an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, UN Young Champion of the Earth, Pritzker Environmental "Genius" Prize Winner, and the first undergraduate winner of the Wharton Business Plan Competition. Her decorations are a revelation that her hard work is paying off and in the long run could lead to the innovation we need to fight plastic pollution.
While the list could go on forever of the women making a positive impact in climate change activism, these four are just a few that shine bright and continue to push the world forward by putting our environment first.