It is coming to the end of Women’s History Month and what not better time to show appreciation to the females that have dedicated their lives to helping our planet. March marks a month where we can all reflect on the fantastic accomplishments achieved by women globally. Progressive societies have come a long way since the days of women being reduced to wife or mother label, yet there still is a long way to go to reach equality. The leadership gap is far too unbalanced as the majority of positions in power are men, however this does not stop a host of strong willed and passionate females to stand up for what they believe. Below is a list of 5 inspirational female activists that have committed their time and energy to raise awareness and make a change in the world. From 11 year old Ridhima Pandey to 69 year old Laurence Tubiana each one of these females have proven a resilience and commitment to their cause, creating a shift in our world.
Starting with a well known and incredible young women is Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg. At 17 she has achieved more than most have in a lifetime, not only has she spread awareness surrounding the dire state of our planet, she has used her voice to inspire millions of young people. In 2019, Greta was named the Times Person of The Year and holds two consecutive nominations for the Nobel peace prize. Thunberg continues to prove her dedication and passion to fight the climate crisis by actively organising protests, speaking at important political events and continually working on her global mission to make a change. In 2018, a book named No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference was published containing eleven speeches which she has written and presented about the climate crisis. Overall, Thunberg has become an icon in this modern day, she represents the voices of young people around the world.
Laurence Tubiana is a former French ambassador that worked on the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change and is the CEO of the European Climate Foundation. Tubiana worked relentlessly to persuade countries globally to prioritise the importance of investing in the future of the planet. Though she encountered difficulties and pushbacks along the way she fought for what she believed in. Tubiana was appointed as special representative at the COP21 (Paris climate change convention) and was a key architect of the landmark Paris Agreement. Her responsibility was to ensure the entire event went ahead and agreements with other countries were made. Following COP21, she was appointed High Level Champion for Climate Action by the UN and continuously persists for countries to take accountability for prioritising climate change as a top concern.
At just 11 years old, Ridhima Pandey filed a petition with the Indian Supreme Court, addressing the governments failure to protect the environment. She proves alongside Greta Thunberg that no matter how old you are and gender, a difference can still be made. Pandey grew up in India and saw the dramatic effects global warming had on her country with the devastating rainstorm in Haridwar and the Kedarnath flood in 2013, Ridhima’s life forever. The flood sparked Ridhima to do something about it and so she made it her goal to be heard by the Indian government. Since then she has gone on to attend the Youth UN conference alongside 15 other young individuals around the world and continues to be a role model for India.
In 2014, South Africa’s government made a secret deal with Russia to produce nuclear energy and build eight to ten nuclear power stations throughout South Africa. Makoma alongside Liz McDaid worked together to stop this happening and the devastatsting effect it would have on the environment. She divides her time between her home in Johannesburg and the Earthlife satellite office in the Limpopo province, where pollution from power stations and coal mines has contaminated local communities to such an extent that farmers can no longer safely grow crops. Lekalakala got her start as a youth activist through her church, moving to trade unions, then women’s rights, social and economic justice, and finally environmental justice. The NGO’s work has never been more urgent. The effects of climate change are increasingly being felt across the world and, according to a huge UN report last year, there are only 12 years left to avoid a catastrophe. Makoma proves that no matter how big of a challenge you face with persistence and strength you can be heard.
As Program Director of the Honour the Earth, Winona works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. She is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organisations in the country and a leader in the issues of culturally based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy, and food systems. Winona has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues, she has contributed enormously to environmental research and often holds talks around the world. As a result of her work, Winona has held many accolades and awards for her commitment to the environment and research with academic writings.
To summarise, every one of these females proves no matter what background, race or age you can be the change you want to see. So let’s continue celebrating incredible woman for their achievements and keep fighting for the wold to act on climate change. Whether it is joining a local environmental group or organising a protest, every action big or small counts, helping towards the bigger picture.