As our world combats the climate crisis, it is good to take a step back to remember the numerous women who have been fighting for the environment during the past century. Here are a few highlights of several female environmentalist leaders and their important contributions to the environmentalist movement.

Wangari Maathai is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the founder of the Green Belt Movement. The Green Belt Movement helps to plant trees on critical watershed areas in order to add fertility to the soil and help support healthy ecosystems. GBM also advocates for climate justice and supports climate change action in Kenya and around the world.  Check out her autobiography below:

Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai 

Deb Haaland is the first Native American person to serve as a secretary in the United States cabinet and is the current U.S. Secretary of the Interior. She is also an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo. She and her department have been working to investigate the impact of residential boarding schools on Native American children from the 19th and 20th century.  For more information about Haaland and other women in politics, try the following book:

She represents: 44 women who are changing politics … and the world by Caitlin Donohue 

Vandana Shiva is an Indian environmental activist who began her work in advocacy after the Bhopal Disaster. This disaster was the result of a toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. She has fought against the corporate patenting of seeds, is a staunch anti-GMO advocate, and an author of environmental feminist books.  For more information on the fight against environmental disaster prevention try the book below:

The fight against Monsanto’s Roundup: the politics of pesticides edited by Mitchel Cohen; foreword by Vandana Shiva

Winona LaDuke is an environmental activist and former Vice-Presidential Candidate for the Green Party. She is enrolled as a member of the Ojibwe White Earth reservation. LaDuke participated in resistance efforts on behalf of those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. She is an advocate for industrial hemp farming in order to combat the negative effects of fossil fuels on climate change.  For more on the voices of other indigenous and Native American activists try the recommendation below:

#NotYourPrincess: voices of Native American women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale 

Berta Cáceres was an environmental and indigenous land rights activist in Honduras. She advocated against the illegal logging industry and its impacts on indigenous people. She founded a group that fought against the building of a large dam on behalf of the Lenca people.  For more information on the work of Latin American women try the title below:

Latinitas: celebrating 40 big dreamers by Juliet Menéndez