Celebrating female environmental pioneers this International Womens' Day

Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day, a perfect opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing and influential women who are at the vanguard of climate action. 

It could be argued that the modern environmental movement began with a call to arms from the American writer Rachel Carson, who in her 1962 book Silent Spring, brought concerns about the use of pesticides and environmental protection to a mainstream audience for the first time. 

Women have always provided a strong voice championing environmental causes and continue to do so today. Indeed, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who sparked a global wave of protest with her ‘school strike for climate” initiative, is widely considered to be the face of the modern climate protest movement.

Over in America, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the leading champion calling for a Green New Deal to develop a nationwide infrastructure programme of renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades. 

Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein is one of the world’s top influential thinkers on the climate crisis. Her global bestseller This Changes Everything; Capitalism Vs The Climate has been lauded as the defining book on the subject, and was described by The Times as “the first truly honest book ever written about climate change”.

Closer to home, Brighton is of course, the only part of the UK to have a Green Member of Parliament. Since 2010 Caroline Lucas has consistently fought on behalf of the environment and international women’s rights, and continues to hold the Government to account on its climate policy. 

And lets not forget that BHESCo ourselves were founded by Kayla Ente who worked tirelessly in the co-op’s formative years to get the business off the ground and who developed our unique business and economic model.

Women are leading the environmental cause in Brighton and Hove

On the eve of International Womens’ Day 2020 we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the women who are local to Brighton and Hove who are trailblazing a better way to live our lives and treat our planet.

We know that this article only highlights a small selection of the women making significant contributions to the well being of our local environment. If there are others you would like to see celebrated then please feel free to give details in the comments section below.

Cat Fletcher, Freegle UK

Cat is probably best known as one of the founders of Freegle UK, a website that enables people to donate unwanted items to someone who can reuse them. However, this is just one of her many achievements. Cat was a key driver behind the Brighton Waste House and is currently employed by Brighton and Hove Council as the first Re-use Manager in the country.

You can see Cat in action in this TEDx talk.

Jo-Anne Godden, Ruby Moon Activewear

After 25 years working in the unsustainable Fashion Industry, Jo decided to be part of the solution and founded RubyMoon sustainable activewear, which creates swim and gym clothing made from ocean plastic waste.

In her own words “RubyMoon combines the fashion industry’s substantial potential to positively impact the social and environmental state of our planet, with the knowledge that women and innovation are key to a better future”.

Jo is committed to activating women’s potential and elevating their status in communities where they often don’t have a voice. 

Ruth and Amy Anslow, HISBE

Sisters Ruth and Amy are shaking up the food retail sector with HISBE a new type of supermarket they founded to challenge the way that big supermarkets do business. HISBE stands for ‘How It Should Be’ and stocks products sourced from small, local producers and brands that trade responsibly, fairly and sustainably.

All suppliers receive a fair price for their products from this business founded on respect for staff, customers, suppliers and our planet.

Fran Witt, Fossil Free Sussex

Fran is a passionate climate justice campaigner who has spent her career campaigning with international development charities for justice and equality.

She attended the Paris Climate Talks in 2015, raising the voices of people living on the frontline of the climate crisis, and calling on governments to commit to a fair, ambitious and binding global deal on climate change.

Fran has been involved in Divest East Sussex for the last 3 years, lobbying the East Sussex Council Pensions Committee (which covers Brighton and Hove as well as East Sussex) to move its investments out of the giant oil and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis.


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