Imagine a society where “all men are created equal” and women take a back seat. They make less than men, if they can even hold a similar job. They have no right to vote. Stewardesses are fired by the age of 32, and women are banned from the New York Stock Exchange floor.
This was once life for women in our country.
But women persevered. We fought hard and today continue to make strides in improving our country. There are countless stories and none more important than those who have shifted the way we think about sustainability.
Following are a few trailblazers we can all thank for creating a better world.
Rachel Carson and Bob Hines conducting research off the Atlantic coast in 1952
Marine biologist and author Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was criticized by the government but ultimately inspired an environmental movement.
Published in 1962, “Silent Spring” spotlights the detrimental effects of pesticides. Carlson called out the chemical industry and public officials for releasing false information, which led to a ban on DDT in agriculture and eventually the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Carson was a steadfast supporter of environmental issues and continued her pursuit of raising awareness until her death in 1964.
With a motto like “Green the Ghetto,” no doubt Majora Carter is clear on her purpose.
Carter is a leader in local economic development who got her start at home in the South Bronx. She is the force behind the neighborhood’s first open waterfront park in six decades. She also secured $1.25 million in federal money to create a greenway in the same area through the Sustainable South Bronx group she founded in 2001 that continues to combat economic issues in the area.
Today, Carter runs a private consulting firm focused on urban revitalization.
Alice Waters is the chef, activist and author behind Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., one of the first restaurants in the country to offer organic, locally grown food.
But her contribution to the farm-to-table movement reaches far beyond her kitchen.
Waters introduced healthy food choices to schoolchildren in 1996 when she founded The Edible Schoolyard Project that also trains educators worldwide to create sustainable food programs. She lobbied the White House to plant an organic vegetable garden for many years. In 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obama agreed.
Before he left office, President Barack Obama awarded Waters the National Humanities Medal for her work promoting “a holistic approach to eating and health…integrating gardening, cooking, and education, sparking inspiration in a new generation.”