International Women’s History Month (a personal perspective)

I participated in the Women’s March in January in Washington, DC, and was pleased to see many signs and placards that supported climate action. Signs like “100% Clean, Renewable Energy for All,” “Protect Our Planet,” and “There is no Planet B” reminded me that women have often been on the forefront of social change and environmental protection movements for centuries.

Rachel Carson is a name we all recognize. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, transformed our perspective on the natural world around us. It is still referenced and hailed as a seminal work on the dangers of pollution and the need to protect our natural resources.

There have been so many others, even in the early days of our country’s founding, up until the present. I am in awe, for example, of women like Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer who became the first female chief scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She was honored by Time Magazine in 1998 as their first Hero for the Planet.

And now teenage girls in Europe and the US are leading protests, asking Senators tough questions about the Green New Deal, and giving us all hope that the next generation is bold and strong enough to say goodbye to dirty fossil fuels — and will work long and hard to get the powers that be to listen. These teenagers will inherit the Earth, and they would like to inherit a sustainable planet that supports life for centuries to come. I, for one, will be right there with them — but of course, we welcome boys and men to join us along the way. The truth is that all voices are needed, and all hands are on deck, but during this Women’s History Month I will take a minute to rejoice the sisterhood and their long, resilient, and bold history of pushing — even when unwelcomed by those in power — for much needed change for the better.

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