March is Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month was created to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture and society. In order to honor this month, we’ve compiled a list of women who have made big positive impacts on the environment.
Founder of The Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai
The Green Belt Movement (GBM)’s mission is to “empower communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods.” Founder of the movement, environmentalist Wangari Maathai, created the organization after hearing local Kenyan women were reporting that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they had to walk further than ever before for firewood. GBM encourages and helps women grow and plant new trees, store rainwater, and provide food, all for which the women receive a small pay. Maathai, a Nobel peace Prize Winner, has said “when we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope.”
Politician, Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is currently the Chancellor of Germany, and is still a strong environmental advocate. However, her activism days began back in the 1990s when she was Germany’s Environment Minister. Her main mission as minister was to congregate leaders of all countries to talk about limiting greenhouse-gas emissions. Her efforts led directly to the agreement of the Berlin Mandate in 1995. This mandate was a precursor to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. It has been noted that without her work, the Kyoto Protocol would not have happened.
Camera operator, Rebecca Hosking
Rebecca Hosking is a camerawoman for BBC. She went to an island in Hawaii and found dead or dying wildlife that had ingested bits of plastic. She then returned to England with her film and began petitioning to ban plastic bags. In May 2007, the town of Modbury in Devon, England became the first in Europe to go plastic free, since then over 80 places have followed in their footsteps.
Founder of Ciudad Saludable, Albina Ruiz
Albina Ruiz is the founder of the environmental organization, Ciudad Saludable. The organization has helped communities, throughout Peru, manage and recycle garbage, advocate and promote regulations and environmental policy, and better the health of women and children. Due to Ruiz’s work, other countries now look to Peru as an example for environmental reform.