Leading Ladies of the Green Movement
March 8, 2015
March is not only the month when we get into gear for Earth Day at EDN, it’s also Women’s History Month! Women have played a crucial role in the environmental movement in the last 50 years, and will increasingly do so in the future. More women now work in the environmental field than ever before – doing university research, running nonprofits, creating movements, and spreading awareness. Let’s take a look at some of the great females who have paved the way!
1) Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson is credited with sparking the environmental movement with her controversial book, Silent Spring. Released in 1962, Carson’s book exposed Americans to the risk of widespread use of chemicals, mainly DDT – it was killing fish, bird and other wildlife populations rapidly, and it caused cancer in humans. Silent Spring led to the ban of DDT use for agricultural purposes, and made America question “better living through chemistry.”
2) Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is most well known for being the Chimpanzee woman – she carried out a significant study of Chimpanzees and their familial relations in Tanzania. Her findings account for much of what we know about chimp behavior today. She is also a notable champion for wildlife conservation and animal rights. Most impressive about Goodall is that she had no college education prior to her research – she was both self-taught and mentored by Archaeologist Dr. Louis S. B. Leakey.
3) Dian Fossey
Jane Goodall is the Chimp expert, Dian Fossey is the gorilla expert. Part of a group now affectionately called the “Trimates,” – which also included Jane Goodall – Fossey was one of the three most pronounced primatologists of her time. She learned more about primate observation from Goodall, and later spent 18 years studying gorillas in Rwanda, where she founded the Karisoke Research Center.
4) Maria Sibylla Merian
Merian was one of the pioneers of entomology, the study of insects. She started as an artist – she drew and wrote – but her photo-realistic drawings of insects and their life-cycles were a great contribution to the sciences in a time before cameras. She moved to Africa and spent her time observing and drawing nature, and discovered many previously unknown insects and birds.
The Earth Day Network is a great supporter of women in the STEM fields and leadership positions. Through the WAGE campaign, EDN promotes leadership opportunities for women worldwide.
Sarah Miles, Intern