When it comes to the environment, we all need to do our bit, but there are some women who are going the extra mile to ensure we leave the planet in a decent state for the next generation. While Greta Thunberg grabs the headlines, these individuals are quietly making a difference and this International Women’s Day, it’s time to find out a little more about what they’re up to.
In 2016, Lizzie Carr became the first person to paddleboard the entire length of Britain’s waterways, picking up rubbish as she went. Her aims were to highlight how adventures could be had without travelling to far-off destinations, and the need to protect the natural beauty of the UK. She has gone on to found the Plastic Patrol movement, encouraging people to combine outdoor activities with clean-ups.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Man Kwan
Kristine McDivitt Tompkins
Having founded a successful clothing brand with her husband based on their love of the great outdoors, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has gone on to become a leading conservationist. She is the president of Tompkins Conservation, which bought up large areas of wilderness in Patagonia and returned it to national parks. Working with local businesses and communities, her organisation has built a future for this area of Argentina and Chile, with endangered species such as the giant anteater being reintroduced.
Brazil’s former minister for the environment, Marina Silva has long been an outspoken representative for preventing deforestation. She can be credited with leading a drive to create a two-million hectare reserve in the Amazon, which is managed by the traditional communities of the region. As a native Amazonian and from a rubber-tapping family, she understands the importance of ensuring social justice and sustainable development go hand-in-hand.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Brian Yurasits
Activist and social entrepreneur, Isatou Ceesay has been tackling the twin issues of plastic pollution and women in poverty through her One Plastic Bag initiative since 1997. She employs traditional weaving skills passed down through generations of women in Gambia to turn unwanted plastic waste into fashionable items that can be sold for profit and prevent the raw materials from going into landfill.
Despite being just 21 years old, Brianna Fruean has been involved in climate activism for ten years. Her family is from the island of Samoa in the south Pacific, which is particularly vulnerable to freak weather conditions, and one such incident - a cyclone - when she was 11, launched her into the fight against climate change. She is a member of a number of grassroots environmental groups and an ambassador for change, as well as having won several prestigious awards and attended conferences on sustainable development.