It’s March 8th, which means we’re celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day today! As a woman owned business ourselves, Uvida Shop is dedicated to empowering women-leaders and recognizing their incredible contributions to the environmental movement. Despite facing significant obstacles, women have always been at the forefront of protecting our planet and advocating for sustainable practices. We are taking this opportunity to highlight some of the many women advocating for a sustainable future.
Image from http://rachelcarson.org/
We’re starting with probably the most recognizable name on this list: Rachel Carson! She is best known for her book, Silent Spring (1962), which raised awareness regarding the misuse of harmful pesticides and shaped the environmental movement as we know it today.
Before that, she grew up near the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania on her family’s farm. This 65-acre farm fostered her love for nature and the environment as she spent most of her days wandering surrounding forests and streams, learning everything she could. She took this love for nature and extended it to her studies and eventual work as a marine biologist, writer, and conservationist.
Her years of research and writing, for works like Silent Spring, led to a complete overhaul and review of the federal government’s pesticide policy, banning harmful pesticides like DDT and eventually establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. Rachel Carson’s love, curiosity, and passion for nature has pushed forward a global environmental movement and continues to inspire countless environmentalists!
Image from Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP
This list wouldn’t be complete without Wangari Maathai! Her work as a political activist and environmentalist advocating for sustainable development, democracy, and women’s rights rightfully earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, making her the very first African woman recipient.
Born in Nyeri, in rural Kenya, she grew up seeing how forest clearing and dried-up rivers destroyed the livelihoods of women in her community, leading to her lifelong venture of environmental advocacy. Originally trained as a botanist, Maathai became the first woman in East Africa to earn a PhD, and even chaired the University of Nairobi’s Department of Veterinary Anatomy.
She eventually created The Green Belt Movement with the aim of planting tens of millions of trees to revitalize the environment and the communities that depend on them. Her work strove to empower local communities, especially rural women, while advocating for environmental justice at the grassroots, national, and international levels. Wangari Maathai will forever be remembered and recognized for her dedication and advocacy for human rights, democracy, and environmental conservation.
Image from the University of Rhode Island
Next on our list is Winona LaDuke, a member of the Anishinaabe (or Ojibwe) tribe who has been involved in environmental activism for over 30 years. Her relentless effort as an environmentalist and political activist earned her recognition as a prominent figure in the global environmental movement!
LaDuke’s upbringing on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota instilled in her a deep appreciation for nature and a powerful determination to fight for the rights of indigenous people. This passion is most evident in her work founding the White Earth Land Recovery Project, an organization that buys back indigenous land to foster sustainable development for Native people. She was also a prominent leader at the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests that strove to protect the Standing Rock Indian Reservation’s land and water.
Winona LaDuke continues to advocate for indigenous rights, sustainable development, and climate justice. Her continued perseverance has served as an inspiration for countless others to join the environmental movement and she continues to guide us towards a sustainable future!
Image from Vogue, Ryan Pfluger
We’re ending our list with one of the most influential environmentalists in recent years: Greta Thunberg! She is an incredible leader in the global climate movement whose work has gained international attention as she continues to spread awareness about climate change.
Her activism began in 2018 when she skipped school on Fridays in favor of protesting outside the Swedish Parliament, demanding that the government take action on climate change. Her School Strike for Climate gained global attention, and inspired many similar protests. She was invited to speak at high-profile events such as the United Nations Climate Action summit and the World Economic Forum, where she has vocally called out world leaders for their inaction on climate change.
As a leading voice for the use of renewable energy, reduction of carbon emissions, and action against climate change, she has shown incredible passion and dedication to the environmental movement, inspiring many others to do the same. Greta Thunberg’s leadership and activism has brought global attention to the urgent need for climate action and has fostered a new generation of young environmentalists!
Who Inspires You?
We hope you were able to learn something new about these inspiring women! Each of their individual contributions have been instrumental in pushing the environmental movement forward, leading us to a more sustainable future. Their determination, leadership, and passion for our natural world inspires us here at Uvida Shop everyday. This list only covers a small number of all the amazing women who have impacted the global sustainability movement, so if there’s someone not on this list who inspires you, be sure to let everyone know in the comments!