World Pulse

Earth Witnesses: Speaking Out for Sustainability

Kim Crane
Posted April 22, 2015 from United States

World Pulse members are lifting their voices from the heart of global environmental struggles.

As the complexity of environmental challenges facing our planet grows, it is time to turn our attention to the experts: the mother fighting for her child to breathe clean air,the woman who must walk farther for water as this precious resource becomes more scarce.

Grassroots women leaders hold wisdom and a key piece of the puzzle to environmental sustainability. From deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo togas flaring in Nigeria, women are witnessing first hand, and often bearing the brunt of the devastation. They are feeling the effects of climate change and speaking out. They are coming together in parallel to international summits and demanding more from their leaders. They are educating and supporting the activism of the next generation.

"When women are involved in the protection of the environment, it can allow families—especially children—and society as a whole to lead healthy lives," writes Ito Ako in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Women, the mothers of humanity, pass on good environmental habits to their children. Environmental actors should support women’s ideas about protecting natural resources, sanitation, health, reforestation and deforestation, as well as renewable energy."

World Pulse's online community is brimming with insights from the front lines. We ignore these voices at our own peril.

Maddy M. profile image

Maddy M. | Nicaragua

"Government officials at climate summits argue that they cannot afford the costs of fulfilling their commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In the meantime, the human face of the crisis is invisible. For those strongly struck by extreme weather conditions linked to climate change, the increase in global temperature is more than just a number. My country, Nicaragua, is very vulnerable to the impact of a changing climate. In 2007, according to a Global Climate Risk Index report, Nicaragua was the third country most affected by extreme weather conditions in the world. It is not rare to hear people in rural areas explain the difficulties they face every year. They expect a good rainy season for their crops, but it is becoming more usual to have either droughts or heavy rains, both causing dramatic consequences for food security and access to water for people already struggling to survive."
Greengirl profile image

Greengirl | Nigeria

"For the most part of my childhood, I was intrigued by the sight of the stunning glow that stood out defying the darkness of the sky. It was most enchanting to watch it and fantasize about how it complemented the brilliance of the twinkling stars that decorated the sky with their radiance. By daytime, however, the accompanying fumes that soared towards the clouds became conspicuous. That was several years ago. I have since learned that the glow is an offspring of a wild fiend known as gas flaring in the ‘crude world’."




"Are the widespread disasters in South Kivu Province natural hazards or a consequence of poor environmental management?We see unregulated and unauthorised building work, as well as totally unorganised dumping of organic and non-biodegradable waste in lakes, waterways and rivers. We see trees being cut down and fires starting in forests, savannahs, and grassland. We see fishing that doesn't comply with standards because it either uses banned inputs or takes everything found. We also see blocked gutters and pipes, and a general lack of respect for public hygiene.Each of those is an act of destruction that risks prompting nature to rebel fiercely."



Rudzanimbilu |

South Africa

"After my son was diagnosed with asthma, I became angry, confused, and frustrated. As I searched the internet looking for answers, I began to understand the environmental injustices we face each day without taking notice in my community. Our neighborhood sits in the shadow of Sasol, one of the world’s largest petrochemical makers."






Khalida Brohi profile image

Khalida Brohi | Pakistan

"I am an indigenous girl from Balochistan, Pakistan. The land with diverse tribes and the province bordering with Afghanistan and Iran. Almost all the cultural and traditional fables have stories of water, rain, clouds, and monsoon. Rivers are discussed in poetry; happy endings mean it 'rained'. Stories my grandmother tells me of people praying, fasting and asking God for rain, for a drop of water and then it would rain, they would be happy and celebrate. Now when the chanting from traditional songs urge us to dance with their beautiful beats, we don’t take time to ever halt and concentrate. In those hearty words is the reality of Balochistans future: A climatically challenged area where barren lands have already given up struggling to live."


Myriam Vololonarivo |


"Giving voice to the girls, it's almost rare in a country where man alone must decide the future of the nation. This will not prevent us from acting! Locust invasion, illegal but abundant exploitations of natural resources such as precious woods, famine or floods in the south, pollution in the city; these are the realities we live daily. What can we do? I encouraged the scout unit I lead to organize an event for the respect of the environment. Ten girls were actively involved in organizing a flash mob.The event was very encouraging for young people who were coming... Above all, the girls were proud of their actions. This is my revolution, these are my actions."




Nelly Bassily profile image

Nelly Bassily | Canada

"I witnessed with great sadness the epic failure that was Copenhagen but then I witnessed the joy that was the People's World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia.It was there that I met inspiring men and women who called the earth their Pachamama and were demanding out loud: 'We want system, not climate change.' They were demanding serious carbon emissions cuts and retribution through an International Tribunal for Climate Justice."




Juana Munoz profile image

Juana Munoz |


"We climb over the massive eastern range, leaving the ever-growing urban monster called Bogotà behind... And for the first time since I heard it in class I see the reality, how little is left of the original Andean forest. It’s a shock, although it’s nothing I didn’t already know.My neighbour is undisturbed by the great gap in the mountain, where sand and pebbles are being blown out. Or by the fact that thousands of people live in almost inaccessibly steep parts of the mountain. Or that most of what little bits are covered with trees are, in fact, covered with foreign Eucalyptus or pine trees. This is why I went into education, so that when people see this landscape they will understand it like I do, they will see the truth and not just pretty colours and skinny cows. Granted, it is beautiful, but it is not complete. I need to see the dark greens and blacks you only get from mature forests. And the reddish-brown of the Encenillo leaves, and the yellow of the Gaque flowers."


Comments 7

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Yvette Warren
May 09, 2015
May 09, 2015

Very nice post.

May 11, 2015
May 11, 2015

Thank you so much Kim for using your creatitivity to beam light on our work, and also echo our voices. I am proud to be identified among such powerful women who are standing up for our Ecosystem. There is never a time that it becomes late to say Happy Earth Day, because we exist daily because the Earth provides for humanity.

Thank you so much for piecing together such a beautiful article.



Kim Crane
May 11, 2015
May 11, 2015

"We exist daily because the Earth provides for humanity." This! Thank you Olanike for your regular, beautiful reminders of this fact. 

Sep 19, 2015
Sep 19, 2015

Thank you Kim for being such a great pillar of support!

May 22, 2015
May 22, 2015

Thank you ladies for your posts. I like the effort you have taken to highlight some of the environmetal issues. Please be encouraged and fight for women as leaders to be included in the environmetal meetings and in particular the environmental and disaster risk management meetings. It is important to observe that women are the stewards of the natural resources.

Thank you


Lousa Sheenaz Yogo
Jul 02, 2015
Jul 02, 2015

Mother nature! I believe that whomever came up with the phrase knew well before that women play a very important role in the environment and are the best placed to protect it. Thankyou so much to you who have been working so hard to do it! And thankyou for the efforts you have made to put in place platforms for other women to help protect mother nature too!!

All the best,

Sheenaz Yogo

Myriam Vololonarivo
Aug 08, 2016
Aug 08, 2016

It has been a great pleasure to be selected to take part of this action.

This project has encouraged me to be more involved, to do more and to lead my own project a year after.

Many thanks to Worldpulse community! All the best to everyone