10 Inspirational Women Fighting for a Cleaner, Kinder Planet

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The Real Mother Earth: 10 Inspirational Women Fighting for a Cleaner, Kinder Planet
Call it ecofeminism or self-defense or just plain common sense.
by Mickey Z.
What's the connection between gender and the environment? According to Women's Voices for the Earth, "When surveyed, women consistently rate the environment as one of their greatest concerns—in numbers greater than men ... When an environmental threat affects a community's health, most often it is women who take on these issues. Frequently they do so in isolation, far from established conservation groups and with few resources."

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The word ecofeminism has been called a new term for an ancient wisdom. The women you're about to meet have shared and/or continue to share such wisdom.
[For complete article reference links, please see source at Planet Green here.]


10 Powerful Women Dedicated to a Cleaner, Kinder Planet

1. Rachel Carson

Sounding a toxic wake-up with the publication of her must-read book Silent Spring in 1962, Rachel Carson alerted the public to the chemical dangers all around them. The use and abuse of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, Carson posited, were directly responsible for myriad health hazards not only for humans, but all life on the planet. Thus, Silent Spring became a major rallying call for the budding environmental movement.

2. Lois Marie Gibbs

Gibbs burst into national consciousness in 1978, when she discovered her child's elementary school was built on top of toxic-chemical dump in Niagara Falls, New York. She organized the Love Canal Homeowners Association to struggle for relocation for the families of Love Canal. In 1981, Lois created the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, an organization that has assisted over 10,000 grassroots groups with organizing, technical, and general information nationwide.

3. Arundhati Roy

The Indian novelist, activist, and often spokesperson for the anti-globalization movement, Roy has played a major role in issues like the Narmada Dam project, India's nuclear weapons, and power company Enron's activities in her native land. She was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004 for her work in social campaigns.

4. Julia Butterfly Hill

Best known for "sitting" in a 180-foot tall California Redwood tree for 738 days. From December 10, 1997 to December 18, 1999, Hill lived in the 600-year-old tree she named "Luna" to prevent loggers of the Pacific Lumber Company from cutting it down. Eventually, the company agreed to preserve Luna and all trees within a three-acre buffer zone...and Hill ended her civil disobedience

5. Helen Caldicott

Dr. Helen Caldicott has devoted nearly four decades of her life years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. Her book, Nuclear Madness--originally published in 1978 and still inspiring readers today--is to the nuclear industry what Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was to pesticides.

6. Maria Cherkasova

It would not be an over-exaggeration to say Maria Cherkasova, a Russian biologist and journalist, forced the Soviet Union to recognize environmental issues. In 1986, she stood up against Ministry of Energy plans to build a massive dam on the Katrun River in the Altar Mountains. She spread the word that such a dam would flood historic wilderness, wipe out wildlife and fertile land, and leach mercury (and other toxic substances) into the drinking water for millions of people. Her efforts inspired a successful four-year collective campaign, created a new consciousness in the Soviet Union, and led to her co-founding the Socio-Ecological Union, which has become the largest ecological NGO in the former Soviet Union.

7. Vandana Shiva

Trained as a nuclear physicist, Shiva has emerged as one the planet's most passionate and knowledgeable spokespersons for environmental and economic justice. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of many books, including Water Wars: Pollution, Profits, and Privatization. She is a leader in the International Forum on Globalization, along with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin and, in 1993, Shiva won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award).

8. Wangari Maathai

For some, it might be enough to become the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree along with the first woman in the region to also become chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor. Wangari Maathai was just warming up. After becoming active in the National Council of Women of Kenya, she introduced the idea of community-based tree planting. This inspired a further melding of issues related to women, to poverty, and to the environment. With the an organization known as the Green Belt Movement, Professor Maathai has assisted women in planting more than 40 million trees on community lands including farms, schools, and church compounds. I could on and on for pages but, for now, I'll end with this: Maathai and the Green Belt Movement received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

9. Judi Bari

Judi Bari was a fighter and organizer for many social and environmental justice causes but became nationally known as first, the principal leader of the Earth First! movement in Northern California and later, the target of a still-unsolved bombing in 1990. She fought on until her death (from breast cancer) in 1997 and her example continues inspire those who put their bodies and their freedom on the line in defense of old-growth forests. Even in her death, she taught us lessons by refusing hospitalization and chemotherapy, choosing to die with dignity in her mountain cabin.

10. Zoe Blunt

A self-described "journalism school dropout living in Victoria, British Columbia," Zoe Blunt lives the eco-activist life and writes about it. For example: "I'm standing at the base of the tree leaning back on my harness and peering at the platform sixty feet above. Ingmar is encouraging me to get up there. The press conference is supposed to start in forty-five minutes and we need to get into position. Ingmar's fully informed about my slightly spastic condition and I can tell he's not sure if I can still do this. I give him a thumbs up and start up the rope. By the time the camera crews arrive, we're both up on the platform with our feet dangling down." Zoe likes to say she's no action hero, but I say we could use a few million just like her.  

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