Women have been inspiring and leading the way in climate science, activism, justice and conservation since the movement began. One could argue that it was a woman who instigated the environmental movement as we know it today.

From Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring which mobilised environmental consciousness, to theorising of feminist geography and feminist political ecology, to Vandana Shiva spearheading the food and land rights revolution, it’s important to remember that whilst women may be disproportionately affected by climate change, women have been leading the climate fight as change agents too.

Here’s our pick of inspirational women:

Rachel Carson

Rachel CarsonA marine biologist, conservationist and author of  Silent Spring. 

Rachel is arguably the woman who inspired environmental concern and consciousness at an unprecedented scale. Her groundbreaking book resulted in the banning of DDT in the US and instigated a grassroots environmental movement that birthed the Environmental Protection Agency.

She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari MaathaiA Kenyan environmental and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement.

The Green Belt Movement addresses poverty, environmental conservation and women’s empowerment through community based tree planting. To date over 45 million trees have been planted around Kenya. Wangari was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Watch a film about Wangari here.

Susan Solomon

Susan SolomonA super intelligent kick-ass atmospheric chemist who spent many years working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and at MIT.

Susan was the first person to propose the atmospheric chemistry mechanism responsible for the Antarctic ozone hole.

She was on the panel for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was a contributing author for the Third Assessment Report and Co-Chair of Working Group I for the Fourth Assessment Report.

Vandana Shiva

Vandana ShivaAn Indian environmental and anti-globalisation activist who has tirelessly campaigned for changes in agricultural practices.

Vandana has lead the crusade against GM crops, corporate biopiracy and campaigned for food and land rights, as well as biological and cultural diversity.

She set up 111 community seed banks in India, trained over 500,000 farmers in food and seed sovereignty and sustainable agriculture and is a pretty big deal in the global eco-feminist movement.

Absolute heroine.

Connie Hedegaard

Connie HedegaardDanish politician who was the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy in 2007, and the first European Commissioner for Climate Action in the European Commission 2010-2014.

Connie’s aim was for Europe to be the most environmentally friendly global region. She introduced Denmark’s Energy Policy 2008-2011; Denmark was the first country to commit to an overall energy reduction.

“Sustainable economic growth is an attainable objective… some day it will be possible to stockpile energy generated from renewable sources such as windmills, and to run vehicles purely on excess energy.”

Idle No More: Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdams, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson

idleThese incredible indigenous women started the Idle No More movement, a response to the C-45 Bill, which proposed a removal of protection for forests and waterways in Canada.

Catalysed by the hunger strike of Chief of the Attawapiskat, Theresa Spence, Idle No More is a truly grassroots movement lead by the people and has been prominent in the anti-tar sands movement and protests against shale gas pipelines in Canada.

They continue to fight back for environmental and social justice today.

Naomi Klein

naomi kleinAuthor, journalist and  environmental-social activist best known for her criticisms of corporate globalisation and capitalism.

Naomi has been instrumental in vocalising the link between capitalism and climate change, as well as critiquing the Canadian oilsands industry.

Her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate argues that neoliberalism is blocking real progress towards climate action and environmental protection.

She says it how it is.

Kehkashan Basu

Kehkashan BasuAn environmental and social justice youth activist from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This super fantastic 14 year old was the youngest delegate at the Rio+20 conference in 2012, gave workshops on sustainability and launched the first Asia Pacific Youth Water Summit. She is a Climate Justice Ambassador and is the global coordinator for the UN Environment Programme for children and youth.

She also set up Green Hope UAE, a youth led campaign for environmental change and justice. Watch her speech here

Hell yeah to leading youthy women and girls!!


Watch this film and be inspired 🙂