As part of the launch of the new EcoWomen Shop where you can *finally* get your hands on logo t-shirts and accessories for everyone in your family, we are issuing our first (of what we hope will be many) fresh designs. We designed a historical tee that we are fondly calling our Women Who Paved the Way shirt, highlighting women from diverse backgrounds and expertise who have made a lasting impact on the environmental movement and the work each EcoWoman does every day. Our t-shirt includes activist women from the past and present, with a nod to the future. Maybe our next version will include… you?
The Women Who Paved the Way shirt is available in our online shop and features Rachel Carson, Lois Gibbs, Jane Goodall, Berta Cáceres, Sylvia Earle, Mardy Murie, Wangari Maathai, Julia Butterfly Hill, Sangduen Chailert, Vandana Shiva, and Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta.
- Rachel Carson: Perhaps one of the most well-known nature writers of the twentieth century, she is remembered more today as the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel than for her studies of ocean life. Her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and questioned the scope and direction of modern science, initiated the contemporary environmental movement.
- Lois Gibbs: Lois led the historic fight to relocate more than 800 of her neighbors away from toxic waste in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, NY. Known to many as the Mother of the Superfund, Lois’ experience at Love Canal woke up the nation to the seriousness of chemical pollution and led to the passage of federal legislation to fund the cleanup of similarly contaminated communities.
- Jane Goodall: Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives. Through more than 50 years of groundbreaking work, Dr. Jane Goodall has not only shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction; she has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment.
- Berta Cáceres: In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.
- Sylvia Earle: Sylvia is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and nonprofit organizations. Earle has led more than a hundred expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970. Her special focus is on developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.
- Mardy Murie: Mardy is the author of several books, including Island Between, Two in the Far North and Wapiti Wilderness. She played a key role in the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1977, the greatest land preservation act in U.S. history, where she testified in front of Congress by declaring she was an emotional woman, attached to the beauty and innocence of Alaska, and there was nothing wrong with that. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Mardy the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, for her lifetime service to conservation.
- Wangari Maathai: Professor Maathai authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth. She was active in the National Council of Women of Kenya (1976–1987) and was its chairman (1981–1987). In 1976, while she was serving in the National Council of Women, Professor Maathai introduced the idea of community-based tree planting. She continued to develop this idea into a broad-based grassroots organization, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. In 2004 she was honored as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
- Julia Butterfly Hill: For 738 days Julia Butterfly Hill lived in the canopy of an ancient redwood tree, called Luna, to help make the world aware of the plight of ancient forests. Her courageous act of civil disobedience gained international attention for the redwoods as well as other environmental and social justice issues and is chronicled in her book The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods.
- Sangduen Chailert: With a love and respect for her country’s national symbol, and the knowledge that they were becoming endangered, Lek began advocating for the rights and welfare of the Asian elephants in Thailand. In an industry steeped in tradition, advocating for positive change in the ways domestic and wild Asian elephants are treated has not been an easy battle. However, with hard work and determination, her voice is now internationally recognized. In addition to several documentaries produced by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC, Lek has also won many honorary awards.
- Vandana Shiva: An environmental activist, who has “specialized” in action to preserve biodiversity, particularly crop biodiversity. In 1982, she established the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology which in 1991 became Navdyanda, “a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, the promotion of organic farming and fair trade.” Shiva is also a feminist, a major figure in both the ecofeminist movement and environmental activism in the developing world. Fun fact: the expression “tree hugger”, which refers to environmentalists, was coined after Shiva and other activists hugged trees to oppose commercial logging in Uttarakhand (India) in the 1970s.
- Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta: Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. Despite ethnic and gender bias, Huerta helped organize the 1965 Delano strike of 5000 grape workers and was the lead negotiator in the workers’ contract that followed. Throughout her work with the UFW, Huerta organized workers, negotiated contracts, advocated for safer working conditions including the elimination of harmful pesticides. She was the driving force behind the nationwide table grape boycotts in the late 1960s that led to a successful union contract by 1970.