Women disproportionately shoulder the burden of environmental destruction. On World Pulse, they come together to create change.
A woman in Canada protects indigenous land from industrial waste. Meanwhile, a woman in Kenya cries out for clean water. Their struggles are unique, but they dream of the same healthy planet. And their voices together are more powerful than they are apart.
Today, the sea level is rising. Natural habitats are shrinking and the lungs of the earth are straining under the pressure. Our garbage is piling up, threatening our health. Women worldwide are increasingly left to deal with the consequences of the mess.
On World Pulse, we see members turning to each other to lighten the individual load of that responsibility. We see women at the center of creativity and environmental action. We witness women rooted in the world around them, with a pulse on their communities, and an eye towards future generations.
Meet nine women who lead the way with voice, vision, and action for the Earth.
On the Front Lines
3 World PUlse Leaders, In their Own Words
OLANIKE OLUGBOJI| NIGERIA
Founder of Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE)
“Women are the ones who source water, yet they remain the thirstiest and most burdened by the search for clean and safe water points as they have no say when interventions are planned. They spend productive hours searching for fuelwood and take in all the smoke from their traditional open fire stoves, but they are rarely considered in conservation strategies. Of course, these women deserve better!
My heart swells with joy every time I remember Anna Avong, a grassroots woman leader who became the first female to be appointed into the traditional council of her village after my organization implemented a Water Sanitation and Hygiene project in her community.
I believe strongly that environmental sustainability and sustainable development can only be achieved when women have their say and make their input. My greatest source of inspiration remains my intrinsic care for nature, deep sense of equity, and optimism that women’s leadership in natural resource governing is realizable at all levels.”
My vision for the planet: “A safe and just world where humans live in harmony with nature and one another!”
Environmental advocate and World Pulse Community Champion
“I take action for the environment every day. For example, in the rainforest, our lights, freezer, and blender use water and not electricity. I recycle, reuse, and every day my waste is less. I buy local food, I walk as much as I can, and I do not buy things if I do not really need them.
When some developers wanted to kick me out of my land, they set it on fire. Thousands of species died and I had serious injuries. Because I took action, this was the last fire—but I payed an expensive price. My taxes were increased. My biggest win has been to protect these 10 hectares of forest close to the city so my people can breathe fresh air. Water begins here and millions of individuals of different species can live here.”
My vision for the planet: “An ecosystem in equilibrium with all life.”
Titilope | Nigeria
Executive Director of Centre for 21st Century Issues
“I have witnessed as the negative impacts of climate change, such as ocean surges and sea level rise, destroyed homes, leaving many families homeless and penniless. Those at the receiving end have been women and children. These harrowing experiences inspired me to advocate gender specific concerns in climate change responses at local and international levels.
As global attention on climate change has increased, I have been working with other women and gender activists to ensure that the voices, issues, and concerns of women are given visibility in climate change responses. My advocacy with other women’s groups at the international level led to the first reference to gender in climate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). My local advocacy in Nigeria led to the inclusion of women and gender concerns into the Lagos State Climate Change Policy which was adopted in 2015. And I was able to influence for the first time the inclusion of a women/gender session in the annual Lagos State Climate Change Summit in 2014.”
My vision for the planet: “The people and planet takes priority over profit.”
Meet More World Pulse Leaders Speaking Out for Change
Sharon Lewis | Canada
National Executive Director of Federation of Indigenous Women Canada
"Indigenous peoples depend on the Salish Sea for food fish, shell foods, and travel. Industrial waste and plastics continue to contaminate our waters, and we want international awareness and support to stop it, slow it down, and prevent corporate abuse and continued exploitation and violence against the Salish Sea and the life it carries. We believe that water is life and gives life! It’s time for healing the Salish Sea for the next generation before it's too late!"
Elizabethbee | Sierra Leone
Works with children in slum communities with the We Yone Child Foundation
“Through community service learning, I can get kids involved in cleaning their own communities. For Kroo Bay, one of the communities that we work in, the kids, teachers the parents, and I conduct a cleaning exercise every Saturday. Recycling can be done if we get the necessary equipment to help us.”
Victoria Vorosciuc | Italy/Moldova
Journalist and World Pulse Community Champion
“Through years of hard work and care, women of Moldova have gained considerable knowledge about energy resources, including the methods for energy location, maximum exploitation, quality, and storage. Women are not just victims of climate change and environmental degradation. They also possess knowledge and skills that are critical in identifying local solutions to environmental problems.”
Young environmentalist and youth leader
“Politicians sometimes lack the necessary long-term thinking that is needed to effectively address pressing environmental issues. It’s key that global youth have a say in environmental policies, which have a direct impact on the current and future environment they live in.”
MUKOCHE KHATONDI | Kenya
Radio/TV Producer at a community based radio station
“Water is life. It doesn’t just keep us alive; it gives us everything that makes life worth living.”
Nusrat Ara | Kashmir
Journalist and World Pulse Community Champion
“Climate change is a reality. Everyone is feeling its heat in one form or another, directly or indirectly, yet we are refusing to change. There are more and more choices made on individual and national/international levels which are taking us to the point of no return...I believe we all have to play our part. We all have to contribute in our ways to bring in change.”
Do you have a solution you’d like to share with the World Pulse community? Comment here to add your voice, and join these featured leaders in the Environment Group to continue the discussion!