This International Women’s Day we look at some of the women who have made environmental history and changed the world.
Rachel Carson was a key catalyst in the global environmental movement following the publication of Silent Spring, focusing on the effect pesticides have on entire ecosystems. After completing an undergraduate degree in Biology and then a Master’s in Zoology, Rachel became only the second woman to be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries only to be promoted to Editor-in-Chief of all publications 15 years later. Silent Spring inspired people worldwide and led to the outright ban in the United States of DDT in 1972, the pesticide that had led to the production of Silent Spring in the first place. Rachel Carson’s work drove interest and concern for the environment and the impacts of chemicals on air, water, and land, leading to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Sylvia Earle has been named “The face of marine biology”, “Joan of Arc of the Ocean” and “Hero for the Planet”. She is a world leading oceanographer and is known for speaking out about overfishing and the large scale pollution of our oceans. Her influence on the oceans is unrivalled, as the first women to be appointed chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a huge influence on the foundation of what was at the time the worlds largest marine reserve, and broke a world record for the deepest untethered walk whilst diving 1250 feet below the ocean surface in 1979. Sylvia is far from done though. After breaking through countless barriers, Sylvia continues to champion women’s rights and promotes the opportunities and need for young women in STEM.
Amina J. Mohammed
Amina J. Mohammed has been influential in environmental policymaking worldwide. Amina was previously Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, involved in steering the country’s efforts on climate change and sustainable development. She was also a key player in the Post-2015 development process, serving as special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, where she was instrumental in the development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the production of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jane Goodall is famous worldwide for her over 55 year study on the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. A British primatologist considered to be the definitive expert on chimpanzees and the subject of numerous films, Jane Goodall has inspired generations of environmental scientists and her Roots and Shoots program has helped young women to produce meaningful change through activism for over 25 years. Jane has an icon for many women inspired to begin careers in conservation and has been a champion for activism, speaking out on climate change and most recently about the Trump administration. Jane’s accomplishments cannot easily be comprehended and her lifelong passion will surely inspire others to make their mark in the history books.
The IES would also like to champion some of our members making strides in the environmental sciences today. From revolutionising air quality networks across the UK to raising environmental awareness with sustainable innovation in engineering and implementing biodiversity precautions on a worldwide scale.