How DARE you!Greta thurnberg
I mean…we all knew she’d be on this list, right? No list of Earth-saving powerful women would be complete without the Beyonce of Environmental Activism herself – Greta Thunberg. From the cry of “How DARE you” heard around the world (and echoed by billions of people everywhere) to her ongoing efforts to publicize the devastation of climate change, this girl is a serious badass.
In case you’ve been living under a rock (or avoiding the news, we feel you!) Greta Thunberg is a Swedish youth environmental activist who rose to fame for her viral speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2018, where she read world politicians the riot act. She gave an impassioned speech, saying “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!“
Less famous, but still a mic-dropping moment was when Thunberg was invited to give testimony in the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Instead of giving her testimony, she gave an eight-sentence statement and submitted the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C as evidence. (Mic Drop)
Need one last example of this girl’s unending self-confidence? In 2019, Donald Trump tweeted a video of Thunberg chastising world leaders, saying that “people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction”. Trump (always classy) mocked Thunberg, tweeting: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Thunberg wasted no time – she reacted by changing her Twitter bio to match his description, stating that she could not “understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead”. Science: 1, Bullying: 0.
But Greta summed up her ideals herself better than I ever could, when she said the following:
“My message to the Americans is the same as to everyone—that is to unite behind the science and to act on the science.”
Madam Vice President, Kamala Harris
Climate change is an imminent threat to our planet unless we correct course. It’s within our power to do so. Now is the time.Vice President Kamala Harris
Beyond being the groundbreaking icon she is (for SO many reasons), Kamala Harris is also a hard-core climate activist.
She summed up her stance on climate change in her own words perfectly when she tweeted a video of herself speaking in support of the Green New Deal in 2019, captioning it “Climate change is an imminent threat to our planet unless we correct course. It’s within our power to do so. Now is the time”.
She’s also been busy in government for a long time, and helped introduce or co-sponsored the following environmental and climate legislations:
- The Green New Deal (2019)
- Climate Equity Act (2019, introduced with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)
- COAST Anti-Drilling Act (2019)
- Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (2019)
- Living Shorelines Act (2018)
- The Environmental Justice for All Act (2017)
- Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act (2017)
- Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act (2017)
- A resolution opposing Trump’s efforts to withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris Agreement (2017)
In response to the growing awareness of climate change, the embracing of the need for ambitious climate action has shifted dramatically for President Biden and Democrats — it’ll be up to Vice President Harris to keep the momentum going. Not just towards solutions that impact our immediate future, but changes that can help tackle social, environmental, and economic injustice at their roots. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to have the second most powerful voice in the World when you’re fighting to save the Earth!
Climate change is a nightmare that affects every sector of our lives.Vanessa Nakate
Based in Uganda, climate activist Vanessa Nakate uses her voice — and impressive social media following — to stand up for people disproportionately affected by the climate movement, especially racism from within the climate change movement. This ultra-motivated woman also founded the Rise Up Movement, an initiative to “amplify the voices of different climate activists across Africa, and … to create opportunities for them on the world’s stage so they can influence decisions of world leaders”.
In October 2020, Nakate spoke at the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, demanding that world leaders “wake up” and actually publically recognize climate change as a crisis. Her impassioned speech effectively tied climate change to poverty, hunger, disease, conflict, and violence against women and girls. “Climate change is a nightmare that affects every sector of our lives. How can we eradicate poverty without looking at this crisis? How can we achieve zero hunger if climate change is leaving millions of people with nothing to eat? We are going to see disaster after disaster, challenge after challenge, suffering after suffering (…) if nothing is done about this.” She strongly urged these world leaders to “leave their comfort zones and see the danger we are in and do something about it. This is a matter of life and death.”
Nakate also started the Green Schools Project, pushing for renewable energy initiatives worldwide, and her goal is to transition schools in Uganda to solar energy and install eco-friendly stoves in these schools to lower carbon emissions. As of now, the project has carried out installations in six schools.
Vanessa Nakate was also a keynote speaker at the 2021 Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue in March. She spoke alongside other notable world leaders, making her voice heard alongside them as an equal spokesperson for her movement.
Suzy Amis Cameron
If you don’t go and do something in life, nothing happens.Suzy Amis Cameron
Wife of famous director James Cameron (maybe you’ve heard of him?) Suzy Amis Cameron was on tour promoting the recent release of the movie Avatar with her husband when she had the realization that red carpet fashion in Hollywood needed a serious, sustainable makeover. And I think anyone who has looked into the materials and labor that go into a couture dress would agree! In response to this glaring need, she founded Red Carpet Green Dress in 2009. This initiative encourages fashion designers to craft eco-friendly garments for celebrities to wear on the red carpet. Love!
And according to her bio on the Red Carpet Green Dress website, that’s only ONE of her numerous accomplishments as an environmentalist. As it turns out, Suzy Amis Cameron is also a powerful plant-based lifestyle advocate. She literally wrote the book on plant-based living – OMD: The Simple, Plant-Based Program to Save Your Health and Save the Planet and she co-founded MUSE School CA, a school for K-12 students that is run on solar power, supports zero waste, and only serves organic, plant-based lunches. Want more to love about this powerhouse? She ALSO founded the Plant Power Task Force, which works to educate people on the negative impact of animal agriculture, while promoting plant-based food options that are easier on the environment.
In Nature’s economy, the currency is not money – it is life.Vandana Shiva
A strong voice for environmentalism and an India-born author, Vandana Shiva is known worldwide as a pioneer and leader in the anti-GMO movement. Throughout her career as an environmentalist, she has advocated tirelessly for organic crop production, farmers’ rights, and women’s rights, as per the Genetic Literacy Project. Vandana Shiva has received many, many awards throughout her career, including the Earth Day International Award, the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, the Sydney Peace Prize, and the Right Livelihood Award aka the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. Basically, she’s a one-woman driving force for the awareness of the need for organic, sustainable farming.
Shiva is also a prolific writer, having written more than 20 books in her own name. Along with German author Maria Mies, Shiva wrote the groundbreaking 1993 book Ecofeminism. The book took a long hard look and analyzed the patriarchy, as well as globalization’s effect on women and on the destruction of nature, and the relationship between the women’s movement and other social justice movements. Eco-activist + leading feminist…could she be any more inspiring? I feel like this is a GREAT note to leave this list on!
Want more ways to get involved with environmental activism? Find a group near you at 360.org and get started small – but think big! Be sure to come follow Blendtopia on Facebook to stay connected, and follow us on Pinterest to get even more ideas for maintaining our mental, physical, and emotional wellness.