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Climate Action Warriors – Top 15 Women Leaders Fighting Climate Change

Climate Activists
Published on Mar 14, 2022

Many courageous and dynamic women are striving to secure a better tomorrow for future generations. Such women and many more – who have experienced the brunt of climate change – are doing crucial work to save the planet. They are bearing the burden of the global warming crisis.  

Acknowledging the role women are playing in protecting the Earth and their connection to nature is enabling the world to gain further insights into our existing understanding of the prevailing environmental problems. This enables people across the globe in recognizing how women's oppression is linked with the unjustified exploitation of nature.  

Women all over the world are taking it upon themselves to help resolve the climate crisis by playing integral roles in the fight. Here we highlight the top 15 such women who lead the frontiers of the Climate Crisis fight to build a sustainable tomorrow. 

Jennifer Granholm 

Secretary of Energy, United States, Jennifer Granholm is a long-time advocate of clean energy and the first woman elected as governor of Michigan. 

After serving two terms, she worked on the Clean Energy Program for Pew Charitable Trusts. As the Biden-appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy, Granholm is working to move the research and development funds for earth shot technologies important to the clean economy, including carbon capture and sequestration systems, green hydrogen, and energy storage. Her agenda is rooted in ensuring that the energy transition is equitable. She is also endorsing stronger support of domestic manufacturing, a plan that aims to create millions of good-paying jobs. 

Isra Hirsi 

Driven by her identity as a Black Muslim woman combating climate and racial justice, Isra Hirsi is a high school student from Minnesota. 

Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, Isra has been a long-time promoter for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement. A self-acclaimed anti-capitalist, she is vocal about the public seizure of livestock and social ownership of energy production managed by artificial intelligence. She was awarded the Brower Youth Award, where, in her acceptance speech, she stated that she aims to force the climate strike movement to acknowledge privilege and whiteness. 

India Logan-Riley 

An archaeologist and anthropologist, Māori climate activist India Logan-Riley is focusing her work on the wisdom and practices of her Indigenous cultures. Her organization Te Ara Whatu is a youth coalition operating for climate action and Indigenous sovereignty. She has been creating awareness about the warnings of sea-level rise and wildfires. She is petitioning government representatives to join their cause on the frontlines of the climate crisis. 

Txai Surui 

A native of the Amazon, Txai Surui has firsthand experienced the devastation caused by the changing climate. She became a climate activist at an early age.  

Founder of the Indigenous Youth Movement in her home state of Rondonia in Brazil, she has actively campaigned against deforestation across the globe. While addressing members of the COP26 summit, she expressed the pressing requirement to take climate action by canceling fossil fuel expansion and stopping deforestation. She is extremely vocal about the loss of biodiversity and the many Indigenous activists who are being killed for defending their ancestral lands. 

Greta Thunberg 

In 2018, the then 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg initiated a school strike to draw attention to the climate crisis. Since then, her message has been spreading and calling for stronger action on the climate crisis. Fellow students across the city joined, and young people across the world are following her path, striking and marching to bring to the light of adults and decision-makers that this, indeed, is a true emergency.  

Her public speeches and media coverage catapulted her to international recognition. In 2018, she addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, inspiring the global school climate strike movement Fridays. She even criticized the world leaders for failing to act on the climate crisis. She is vocal about her avoidance of air travel due to its high carbon emissions and aims to contribute towards a zero-carbon footprint.  

Read more: Climate Change Affecting Millennials Gen Z: Reports of Climate Anxiety Rising 

Vandana Shiva 

As a leading environmental activist and feminist, Vandana Shiva's activism focuses on the climate crisis and justice aspects.  

She has contributed through activist campaigns and was an active part of the Chipko movement in India. She also helped grassroots organizations against genetic engineering in the Green campaign across Africa, Asia, Switzerland, Latin America, Ireland, and Austria. For over 40 years, this Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist has been fighting for the environment and actively challenging large multinational corporations. She is also working to support farmers who support ecologically safe practices. 

Patricia Espinosa 

Long-time Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa is the Executive Secretary at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Previously Mexico's ambassador to Germany, Espinosa has been at the center of numerous movements addressing climate change for decades. She has worked on the framework development of the Green Climate Fund. The Fund aims to assist developing nations with climate adaptation and resilience. 

Jessica Tan 

Currently presiding as the Head of Corporate Strategy at BlackRock, Jessica Tan has spent more than half her career, spanning 12 years, in multiple roles. A Duke and Harvard alumni, she was the architect behind the 2020 launch of the investment management firm’s developing sustainability strategy that helps determine its net-zero commitments in 2021 and craft its transition investing strategy in 2022. Tan’s initiative will likely help tackle the ESG issues and act as the foundation for new sustainability consulting services and business initiatives. 

Read more: Top ESG investing trends to watch out for in 2022 

Keefe Harrison 

Co-founder and CEO of The Recycling Partnership, Keefe Harrison brings along with her two decades of experience in circular economy strategy. With her national, corporate-backed nonprofit initiative, she has successfully leveraged more than $120 million to address the gaps in the U.S. recycling system. 

Under her leadership, the organization has helped divert more than 500 million pounds of recyclable materials and products from landfills. Her organization was majorly involved in the development and launch of the U.S. Plastics Pact in 2020, a collaborative initiative to make plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable. The partnership's newest program is the Recycling Inclusion Fund set up to address the systemic inequities in the availability of recycling infrastructure based on race, gender, and income.  

Henintsoa Onivola Minoarivelo 

A theoretical ecologist from Madagascar, Dr. Henintsoa Onivola Minoarivelo, is researching the domains of ecology, the environment, and conservation.  

She is working to comprehend how climate change impacts the interactions between plants and animals through mathematical modeling and computer simulations. She believes that climate change is one of the most pressing issues and is not only a threat to biodiversity but to humanity. Climate action has become an urgent priority. Through her research, she is working to understand how climate changes are impacting every aspect of our lives, ranging from global supply chains to daily human activities. She aims to encourage young women and girls to utilize their capacities for the benefit of humanity. 

Rachel Kyte 

Rachel Kyte is the go-to expert for heads of state and multinational CEOs endeavoring to uncover ways to transition from fossil fuels. Kyte played a major role in assisting the U.N. Secretary-General to make new commitments to expedite energy transitions. After being appointed as the World Bank's climate program leader, she assisted in designing strategies to provide funds to developing countries working towards addressing climate change but are lacking the resources.   

Petra Laiti 

Twenty-six years old, Petra Laiti is an indigenous activist from Finland. Climate activism is her way of preserving hope for a better world and future. She has been working to raise awareness of her community's experience and the role of Indigenous people in climate action. With indigenous people safeguarding 80 percent of the remaining biodiversity on Earth, she aims to educate and uplift the indigenous voices. She believes the best reward for her efforts is spreading knowledge and making a single person understand the new point of view. 

Bianca Pitt 

The climate crisis is affecting us all. But the decisions concerning how to respond to the crises are still primarily made by men entrenched in existing political and governmental power structures. Co-founder of SHE Changes Climate, Bianca Pitt's organization is on a mission to assure that all climate negotiations are made in the presence of at least a 50 percent representation of diverse women in leadership. At COP26, she opened the 'SHE Changes Climate' seminar, gathering global women leaders on one platform to initiate discussions on how to implement the change in climate, sustainability, biodiversity, activism, finance, business, and media. 

Read more: 43% Of the World's Largest Companies Struggle to Drive Sustainable Growth. Here's Why? 

Dr. Sylvia Earle  

Now aged 86, Dr. Sylvia Earle is an American oceanographer, marine biologist, and deep-sea explorer. Dr. Earle was appointed as the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1990. Her organization Mission Blue has pledged to protect 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. She has dedicated her life to protecting the ocean and wildlife. 

Osprey Orielle Lake 

Founder & Executive Director of WECAN / Women's Earth and Climate Action Network International, Osprey Orielle Lake is working towards bringing more women to the forefront of policy, funding on-the-ground projects, and developing solutions for global climate justice. Through her organization, she works internationally, along with policymakers, grassroots leaders, and diverse coalitions, to create and scale women's leadership. Osprey is vocal about climate justice, Indigenous rights, community-led solutions, gender equality, and preserving fossil fuels in the ground. 

climate action warriors - infographic

Given their position on the frontier of the climate-change battle, women are being deemed as the agents of change—uncovering ways to mitigate the crisis due to global warming. 

Today, from boardrooms to policy positions and local communities, women everywhere are utilizing their voices to take calls for action on climate change. But there is still a further need to collectively extend support in climate decision-making.  

S.G. Analytics recognizes the significance of listening to the voices and opinions of women in climate activism and appreciates the pioneering leaders striving to change this dynamic. 

With offices located in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, London, Zurich, Pune, and Hyderabad, S.G. Analytics, a leader in ESG Advisory Services, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide. Contact us today if you are looking to make critical data-driven decisions that stimulate accelerated growth and breakthrough performance.