Women have been at the forefront of fighting for the planet and its people. We asked you who are the women that has inspired your country or community and has created huge impact, and we have received a lot of submissions from you! In celebration of Women’s Month, get to know and be inspired by some of these women who are not afraid to #BeBoldForChange.

SUNITA NARAIN

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Sunita Narain has been with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) from 1982. She is currently the Director General of the organisation. CSE is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi. It researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable and equitable. 

Narain is a writer and environmentalist, who uses knowledge for change. In 2005 she was awarded the Padma Shri (fourth highest civilian award) by the Indian government. She has also received the World Water Prize for work on rainwater harvesting and for its policy influence in building paradigms for community based water management.

In 2005, she also chaired the Tiger Task Force at the direction of the Prime Minister, to evolve an action plan for conservation in the country after the loss of tigers in Sariska. She advocated solutions to build a coexistence agenda with local communities so that benefits of conservation could be shared and the future secured. Narain was a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change as well as the National Ganga River Basin Authority.

In 2016, she was also listed by the Time magazine among the 100 most influential people globally.


ANUMITA ROYCHOWDHURY

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Anumita has been awarded the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award for 2016 (in the category of International Air Pollution Policy). The prestigious award has been instituted by the California Environmental Protection Agency, and is considered the highest recognition for advocacy on clean air.

“If this does not wake us up what will? The World Health Organization (WHO) has pressed the alarm exposing that children below five years are at the highest risk from filthy air and dirty water across the world. Environmental risks, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene, have taken lives of 1.7 million children under the age of five, globally.”

“It will be suicidal for India to not act on the mounting health evidences globally and ask for more evidences from our own children, elderly and vulnerable, making them the guinea pigs,” she said.


ANGELA VICTORIA CAMACHO

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Angela is a Bolivian indigenous woman living in the UK. But she grew up in Argentina under a predominantly white culture where racism is an everyday currency. She’s a founding member of Wretched of the Earth and a key part of several grassroots groups including Movimiento Jaguar Despierto, where she works in race, gender, migrant and climate justice.

In her own words “I understand oppression as a lived experience and do not want anyone else to suffer the way I have.” That experience is something she carries everywhere and that converts in beautiful art, empowering activists all around the UK and honouring the life from those who perish in battle so they are never forgotten.

“Angela is a spark that never ends and lights everywhere she goes,” says Martin Vainstein.

REEM AL-MEALLA

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Reem is a nature lover by default, a biodiversity conservation & marine specialist by profession, a climate advocate by concern and the brain behind bnature – Bahrain’s first environmental online platform. Reem is a recipient of the M.E.I. (Motivational, Empowering, Inspirational Woman) Award from the University of Essex and has been involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) processes for the past couple of years.

Reem began her journey in working on issues relevant to gender and climate justice – in Doha, 2012 at the UNFCCC COP18. She is a member of the women and gender constituency at the UNFCCC negotiations and has been actively engaged in climate advocacy through her participation in COP18 (Doha), COP19 (Warsaw) and COP21 (Paris). She continued her  engagement and followed the gender and climate negotiation process at the Advancing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda Conference in Bonn (April, 2013) as a delegate.

On a local level, Reem is a co-founder of the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) which is the first platform ever established in the aim of providing youth from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region to work on climate issues on the ground and advocacy. Reem served as the AYCM-Bahrain co-ordinator for two years since 2012 before handing it to other young people to take it forward. Since then, she has been working on training Bahraini youth on climate issues and has been working on influencing national climate policies through her advocacy work.

 

BRIDGET BURNS

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Bridget Burns is the Co-Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), founded in 1991 by former U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, and other visionary women leaders. Bridget specializes in policy advocacy, research and movement building at the intersection of gender equality, women’s rights and climate justice. For several years, she has been particularly focused on integrating gender equality into the decisions and outcomes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In her work at the international policy level, she has facilitated travel support and capacity building for over 250 women from the Global South to participate as part of their national delegations in UN climate negotiations, under WEDO’s flagship Women Delegates Fund(WDF) programme, in addition to hundreds of women’s rights activists working at community and grassroots levels. In addition, Bridget serves as the co-Focal Point of the Women and Gender Constituency, which, through synergies with key civil society activists, has supported the integration of gender equality language across 50 programs and decisions of the UNFCCC. Bridget also co-led and organized ‘Women for Climate Justice’ contingents at the 2014 People’s Climate March and the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

Prior to WEDO, Bridget worked at LEAD International, coordinating a global network of environmental leaders and conducting leadership training. She obtained a Masters from the London School of Economics in Gender, Development and Globalization. Through this work and study, Bridget has also spent time completing on site practicum on a wide variety of development issues in several countries: renewable energy infrastructure in Beijing, global health issues in Tunisia, disaster risk and resilience in Bangkok, and women’s economic development in Costa Rica. She has been and is currently engaged in a number of local and international climate activist groups, including local NY fossil fuel resistance campaigns.

LUH PUTU BUDIARTI

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Luh Putu Budiarti is a leader from Bring Your Own Tumbler, Be an Eco Warrior in Indonesia.

Plastic waste is one of foremost environmental issue in Indonesia. Indonesia generated about 3.2 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010, about 10 percent of the world total.

Through Bring Your Tumbler, Be an Eco-Warrior movement, they want to create tumbler-bringing as a lifestyle among Balinese. They spread the message benefit, trend, and uniqueness of tumbler for life and environment. The campaigns also wants to make it viral among primary schools students in Bali. The aim of movement is to encourage kids and youth in Bali to bring tumbler and make it as lifestyle.

 

JENNIFER MUSISI

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Known as “the iron lady” Dr Jennifer Musisi has been the both the center of environmental change in Kampala, fearlessly smashing ramshackle and makeshift erections in the city’s green spaces and parks. These buildings had been caused by rapid population growth rates in Uganda. Musisi has many projects and programs all under what is popular as the Kampala Climate Change Action. Showing more commitments to the environment, she has added climate change to an annual street party known as the Kampala City Festival.She has also facilitated climate change interactions of the organisation she heads and brought climate change to the forefront. Considering the conservatism of Uganda stained with climate denialists and the development of oil wells, Musisi’s work has inspired the climate justice movement through projects such as the Climate Smart Capital Investment Plan and Ecosystem Services Valuation Exercise.

CHANDANA DAS

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Chandana Das, the Joint Director–Cum-Resource Centre In-Charge of the Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), a premier Solidarity organization in India, has promoted over 2937 women farmers to act as “Change Agents” for environmental protection in India by undertaking various sustainable agricultural practices like adopting Systems for Rice Intensification (SRI). This practice has helped to protect the soil fertility as well as the local ecosystem. In addition to producing cereals, pulses and oilseed crops without interrupting the crop cycle of millets (minor millets need less water and can be cultivated in upland and waste land), this practice, steered by Ms. Das, has also empowered and encouraged women farmers to come forward as leaders for their own communities and thus, regularly emphasize the appropriate management of natural resources. She has also ensured the protection, conservation and management of forests and their resources by heading projects in collaboration with the Medicinal Plant conservation Agency promoted by forest department  and facilitated the process of forest regeneration.

She has always and still follows participatory and gender sensitive approaches to address the issues related to climate change. Her relentless efforts combined with her vision driven endeavors have, thus, enhanced the intellectual capital of the target communities on natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.

About Renee Juliene Karunungan

Renee, from the Philippines, is currently Climate Tracker's Outreach Manager. She was a Climate Tracker fellow and was named by The Guardian as one of the "Young Climate Campaigners to Watch Before the UN Paris Summit" in 2015.