7 Inspiring Women taking on Climate Change
To celebrate International Women's Day this week I wanted to share with you some of the women I find most inspiring when it comes to the topic of climate change. These women have built communities, tackled outdated political agendas, addressed climate injustice and educated the masses in order to tackle some of the most important issues facing our planet today.
“We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.”
- Vandana Shiva, Environmental Activist.
1. Ellen MacArthur
Image Credit: Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Dame Ellen MacArthur made history in 2005 by becoming the fastest person ever to sail solo non stop around the world. Since retiring from professional sailing she has launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and it is the mission of this organisation that inspired me to launch Toddles. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation encourages businesses to operate in a closed loop, where nothing is wasted and rather everything is seen as a valued resource. Working with the likes of Burberry, H&M Group, Inditex (Zara, Bershka etc) and Stella McCartney, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is enabling positive change on a massive scale. A truly inspiring woman who discovered the beauty of our planet on her world sailing tour and immediately took meaningful action to help regenerate it. Watch the short video to find out more about the Circular Economy.
2. Aja Barber
Image Credit: Eco-Age
A sustainable and inclusive fashion advocate Aja encourages others to join her in the conversation against unethical and unsustainable fashion. Aja’s work builds heavily on ideas behind privilege, wealth inequality, racism, feminism, colonialism and how to fix the fashion industry with all these things in mind. She is opening up new conversations in this space and inviting her followers to speak up and have their voices heard. Her messages are both empowering and practical and she’s not afraid to call out brands who are failing to take action.
3. Christiana Figueres
Image Credit: Climate Homes News
When it comes to helping the planet Christiana Figueres is a force to be reckoned with. She successfully led the nations of the world to agree on the Paris Agreement in 2015, a key global agreement to reduce global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and reach net zero emissions by 2050. This agreement has been a catalyst for positive change from governments and industry throughout the world. Christiana has also written a book - 'The Future We Choose. Surviving the Climate Crisis', and she’s host of one of my favourite podcasts - Outrage + Optimism, where she discusses some of the most pressing issues facing our planet today and offers up practical solutions to solving them.
4. Leah Namugerwa
Image Credit: Twitter
At just age 16, Leah is taking bold action in Uganda to pressure the government into tackling issues facing the planet. She has put forward a petition to accelerate the ban on plastic bags in Uganda, a policy that the government has tried and failed to implement several times. To celebrate her 15th birthday she planted 500 trees and encouraged her friends and peers to do the same by launching a Birthday Trees project. Following the lead from Greta Thunberg, Leah leads a climate strike every Friday from school, and speaking on behalf of young people throughout the world she states ‘we are facing a crisis we never created’ and encourages action without delay. Young East Africans could be some of the worst affected by climate change.
5. Mary Robinson
Photo Credit: The Irish Times
Mary Robinson began her career as a politician, becoming Ireland's first female President in 1990. But it is her book titled Climate Justice that truly inspired me and is why she’s featuring on our week of inspirational women. Her book highlights the climate injustices being experienced throughout the world, that it is too often the people with the least who suffer the most. The book works through a series of first hand accounts from women on the front line of climate change, each of whom are incredibly inspiring in their own right.
"We are the first generation to understand how serious the climate crisis is and the last generation to be able to do something about it."
6. Ronni Kahn
Image Credit: The Weekend Edition
If you live in Australia there’s a high chance you’ve seen the iconic yellow OzHarvest van on the street, redistributing food to where it’s needed most, all the while avoiding it going to waste. This incredible not for profit organisation was founded by Ronni Kahn, a social entrepreneur and renowned voice the food waste conversation. Ronni didn’t set out to build a charity, she was simply wanting to solve a big problem with a simple solution. Starting with one van she collected food being thrown out and delivered it to local charities. So far the charity has delivered 160 million meals to people in need and now has a community of over 2,500 volunteers working throughout Australia, NZ, South Africa and the UK to fight against food waste.
7. Natalie Isaacs
Image Credit: Talking Sticks
Founder of 1 Million Women, a not for profit organisation galvanising the voice of women throughout the world to join the conversation about climate change. Author of ‘Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet’, Natalie has successfully built the 1 Million Women community to over 950,000 and growing. She not only educates and inspires through her blogs and social media channels but has also launched a marketplace where you can shop brands according to your values, and has created an app with the aim of building a lifestyle revolution to fight climate change.
“How we live each day matters. One small action at a time multiplied by millions and millions changes the system. Never underestimate how powerful you are through everything you do.”