Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Women's History Month, Environmental Style

I can't let March go by without a conversation or two about Women's History month, especially as it is tied to environmentalism. Truthfully, I don't believe in "The Months" as a way of teaching anything. It often pigeon-holes people to thinking that Black History should only be discussed in February, Women's History in March, Asian Pacific History in May, LGBTQ Pride in June, Hispanic Heritage from Sept 15-October, and Native American History in November. I'm sure there are many more "months" out there. Truthfully, all of these marginalized groups should be daily-remembered in any unit of study. 

Case in point, I was sharing Computer History with my 2nd graders the last two weeks and I detailed my "places it happened scavenger hunt" of Sillicon Valley from Summer of 2018. That was the expedition I navigated while my husband drove all around (God love him) soI could see the places history happened: the Hewlett-Packard garage, the garage of "the Steves" (Wozniak and Jobs) where Apple was born, Google, Facebook, meeting Carl Sjogreen of Seesaw, and more. What I discovered as I was preparing to share my photos and the backstory of computer history through those pics was all of the people that were missing. I was sharing it in March, so did that mean I should only be sure to include the famous women innovators in the tech field of Silicon Valley? No! So I made sure to share a collection of women of all ethnicities and a number of non-white men as well. We definitely had an open conversation on the "who's missing in these pictures?"... followed up by "look at all of the amazing things women and non-white men did as well."

This is how all concepts should be shared in 2021. And it's something we talked about in my Master's program, well over 20 years ago as well.

But, "The Months" do help give structure to those who aren't already thinking along the lines of being inclusive across races, genders, sexualities, nationalities, economics, and more. So for that reason, I think it's necessary to specifically pay tribute to a few of these women environmental leaders and change makers. 

I've listed the ladies names & major accomplishments under the resource that discusses them where you can go to learn more about how these fabulous females made a difference. I wasn't at all surprised to see repeated names on the list. With the first mention of her name, I included a brief description of what each woman (along with her birth and possible death date). Over half of the list was new to me, and it really highlights how fundamental and phenomenal each of these women are!

A Mighty Girl's Guardians of the Planet: 16 Women Environmentalists You Should Know (6.5.2020)

  • Anna Botsford Comstock (1854 - 1930) -- environmental educator, author, first female professor at Cornell University 
  • Kate Sessions (1857 - 1940) --"Mother of Balboa Park" who is responsible for gardens & park & tree planting in San Diego 
  • Rosalie Barrow Edge (1877 - 1962) -- founder of the Emergency Conservation Committee & world's first refuge for birds of prey. 
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890 - 1998) -- author of The Everglades: River of Grass and avid conservationist
  • Margaret Thomas Murie (1902 - 2003) -- known as the "Grandmother of the Conservation Movement" & key player in passing the Wilderness Act
  • Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964) -- marine biologist, author of Silent Spring which helped push for the creation of the EPA and the elimination of DDT
  • Dian Fossey (1932 - 1985) -- American primatologist who studied gorillas in Rwanda
  • Jane Goodall (b. 1934) -- British primatologist & world expert on chimpanzee in Tanzania and animal welfare advocate
  • Sylvia Earle (b. 1935) -- marine biologist, oceanographer, first woman Chief Scientist at NOAA, and founder of Mission Blue
  • Wangari Maathai (1940 - 2011) -- Nobel laureate, first woman in East & Central Africa to earn her doctorate degree, and Kenyan founder of the Green Belt Movement to empower women and plant trees in deforested areas of Africa.
  • Biruté Galdikas (b. 1946) -- primatologist who studied orangutans in Borneo and created a rehabilitation center for reintroducing orangutans into the wild
  • Winona LaDuke (b. 1959) -- Native American activist, founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth
  • Erin Brockovich (b. 1960) -- public health and safety activist who exposed groundwater contamination in Hinckley, California
  • Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores (1971 - 2016) -- indigenous environmental justice activist for the Lenca people of Honduras
  • Isatou Ceesay (b. 1972) -- known as the "Queen of Recycling" in The Gambia, creator of the One Plastic Bag movement, & women's empowerment through environmental advocacy
  • Greta Thunberg (b. 2003) -- Swedish teenager who is a dedicated climate change activist 

Heal the Bay's "Five 5 Women Environmentalists Who Changed the World" by post by Mariana Estrada (3.8.2021)
  • Wangari Maathai
  • Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores 
  • Isatou Ceesay 
  • Winona LaDuke 
  • Vanessa Nakate (b. 1996) -- Ugandan founder of the Rise Up Movement & climate change activist

University of Connecticut's 5 Women Who Have Revolutionized the Environmental Movement (4.12.2018)
  • Rosalie Edge
  • Sylvia Earle
  • Wangari Maathai
  • Lois Gibbs (b. 1951) -- public health and safety activist who brought attention to the Love Canal, New York neighborhood that was built on top of a toxic waste site and founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice
  • Vandana Shiva (b. 1952) -- Indian ecofeminist, biodiversity expert, author, and creator of the international college for sustainable living: Bija Vidyapeeth

  • Jane Goodall
  • Sylvia Earle
  • Wangari Maathai
  • Rachel Carson
  • Vandana Shiva
  • Isatou Ceesay
  • May Boeve (b. ~ 1984) -- environmental activist & cofounder of the climate change awareness website which is dedicated to reducing levels fo carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
  • Marina Sylva (b. 1958) -- environmental & social justice activist, politician, and Brazilian Amazon Rainforest advocate
  • Greta Thunberg
  • Vanessa Nakate

SF Environment's Celebrating Women Environmentalists During Women's History Month

  • This article is a comprehensive list of 41 environmental activist American women! Surprising too are that there are still new names! 
  • Included in the list: Jane Adams ~ Mollie Beattie ~ Frances Beinecke ~ Julia "Judy" Bonds ~ Reverend Sally Bingham ~ Carol Martha Browner ~ Rachel Carson ~ Aurora Castillo ~ Ruth Chickering Clusen ~ Heidi Cullen ~ Laurie David ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas ~ Dianne Dillon-Ridgley ~ Sylvia A. Earle ~ Rosalie Edge ~ Lois Gibbs ~ Dr. Dianne Glave ~ Maria Gunnoe ~ Dolores Huerta ~ Celia M. Hunter ~ Lisa Jackson ~ Lady Bird Johnson ~ Elizabeth Kolbert ~ Winona LaDuke ~ Maya Lin ~ L. Hunter Lovins ~ Sophie Maxwell ~ Margaret “Mardy” Murie ~ Donella H. "Dana" Meadows ~ Irma Muñoz ~ Barbara Y.E. Pyle ~ Marjorie Richard ~ Linda Sánchez ~ Susan D. Shaw ~ Hilda Lucia Solis ~ Sandra Steingraber ~ Wilma Subra ~ JoAnn Tall ~ Kimberly Wasserman Nieto ~ Dr. Beverly L. Wright ~ Elizabeth Yeampierre

All banners created on

Top banner images from in order: Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Wangari Maathai, Sylvia Earle, Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores and Greta Thunberg

Middle banner images from in order: Vandana Shiva, Marina Silva, May Boeve, and Vanessa Nakate

Bottom banner images from in order: Kate Sessions, Isatou Ceesay, Dian Fossey, Rosalie Barrow Edge, Erin Brockovich, Winona LaDuke, and Margaret Thomas Murie

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