Women Earth Advocates who effectively and successfully changed the trajectory of how Earth is treated by humans. This article is written to honor them on Earth Day.
The environment is a cause dear to the hearts of women, who through the generations have played a significant role in caring for Earth and preserving its beauty and hospitality. Earth day is a time when individuals and communities come together to acknowledge the importance of our planet. However, women have been taking part in protecting our environment from different perspectives all year long and without seeking credit. Women are among the primary farmers, the ones responsible for conserving water, managing food waste, and cleaning up landfills.
In the future, we will see women expanding this role. Women ought to ensure that future generations can live their lives without threats to their safety and livelihood. On this Earth Day, let us applaud 4 Women Earth Advocates, these women have labored hard to save our dear planet and change the way we treat it:
Rachel Carson was an American biologist and conservationist. She launched the modern environmental movement by writing a book called Silent Spring exposing the fact that the widespread use of pesticides and synthetic chemicals is dangerous to both human health and the environment.
Silent Spring helped awaken the American people to the dangers of pesticides, resulting in a nationwide ban on DDT and other harmful pesticides. Carson’s efforts brought environmental concerns into the public eye and marked an increasing acceptance of ecology as a scientific discipline.
The book ultimately led to the creation of Earth Day, a day devoted to environmental activism. Her life and work inspired more than 1 billion people around the world who, like her, believe in a healthy environment for all living things, including those yet to be born.
It’s estimated that her actions have saved millions of human lives by slowing down or preventing harm from toxic chemicals.
Margaret Thomas Murie
Margaret Thomas Murie was a conservationist, servant, and pioneer in many ways. She was born in Seattle, Washington in 1867. In 1903, she married Olaus Murie, and the two spent much of their early married life exploring the wilderness of Alaska and the American West.
With a deep sense of appreciation for nature and a strong desire to protect it, she started a campaign to safeguard Alaska’s at-risk natural territory. She, her husband, and William O.Douglas convinced President Dwight Eisenhower to expand the refuge land (8 million acres) and grant it to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 30 years later, she worked to make amendments to Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to double the size of refugees. She was successful in her attempt. For her amazing work, she received the Audubon and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Wangari Muta Maathai
Wangari Muta Maathai, whose name means “bringer of trees” in Swahili, was born in 1940 in the Nyeri District of Kenya. Her father was an ardent nationalist who refused to serve in the British Army during World War II, which earned him the ire of the colonial administration. After primary school, Maathai could not attend secondary school, as it was for boys only. She sneaked into classes disguised as a boy and graduated at the top of her class to begin her undergraduate studies in biology at Mount St. Scholastica’s College in Atchuria, Uganda. She then went on to study at the University of Pittsburgh and obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi in 1975.
Wangari made sustainable development one of her primary focuses and challenged the traditional ways that Africans viewed the idea of “development”. She insisted that development that did not consider the environment was not true development. Wangari believed that the environment should be held as a basic right for all people and spoke out against the unwise exploitation of natural resources in Africa.
Wangari founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya, Uganda, and other parts of Africa. She also used the movement to improve civic engagement between men and women, promote health, and encourage education.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace. Her organization, the Green Belt Movement, employs thousands of people to plant trees in Africa.
In 2009, Phyllis Omido organized protests against the Gethi Forest Lead Smelting Plant. The latter is located in the middle of Owino Uhuru, a slum near Mombasa. The plant emitted lead and arsenic into the air and soil. Phyllis Omido claimed the facility was responsible for the deaths of numerous children and adults. She demanded that the government shut down the plant and relocate its 600 employees.
The protests began when the management of the smelting plant refused to relocate the factory away from the homes of people living in Owino Uhuru. The protestors demanded that the government clean up the toxic waste. As well as relocate the factory and compensate the inhabitants of Owino Uhuru living near the lead smelter.
Phyllis struggled against enormous odds. She was threatened with death, beaten, and arrested. Yet despite it all, she continued to mobilize the community. She organized protests and forced the government to respond. Ultimately, she forced the company to do a clean-up.
The environmental damage to the community decreased in a large extent. They relocated the plant to an industrial area about 30 km away from Mombasa. Also, all homes have running water and electricity.
In addition, Phyllis is now managing a SACCO, which helps finance an existing school in Owino Uhuru. On top of starting other schools for over 300 children. Phyllis is continuing her work for environmental justice and community development.
“Pollution is a real threat. I have buried children that I loved. I saw them being born as they were exposed to lead poisoning due to pollution. So it’s not just about the pollution but human beings too.” Phyllis Omido said while voicing her concern over pollution and its effects.
These women have definitely brought remarkable changes to the world. We appreciate their efforts to save our environment.
Authored by Aashna Chawla
Edited by Yara Fakhoury
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