- The Global Landscapes Forum honors “16 Women Restoring the Earth” through science, policy, journalism, music, land rights, and many other creative and effective avenues.
- Among the honorees this year are Sahana Ghosh, a contributing editor at Mongabay-India whose reporting focuses on gender, climate, biodiversity, and environmental health, and the legendary Jane Goodall, who serves on Mongabay’s advisory council.
- “Journalism, especially in the environmental domain, has the power to make people aware of the shared challenges and local connections,” Ghosh says.
Across the globe, women are leading the charge to protect and restore the environment. Today, on International Women’s Day, the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) honors 16 Women Restoring the Earth through music, science, policy, journalism, land rights, finance, and many other creative and effective avenues.
Among the honorees this year is Sahana Ghosh, a contributing editor at Mongabay-India. Ghosh’s reporting focuses on gender, climate, biodiversity, and environmental health. She also edits Mongabay’s Beyond Protected Areas series, in which 43% of the stories are by women and feature women.
“[This recognition] is a shot in the arm for journalists who continue to report on women’s agency in the environment/biodiversity sector,” Ghosh said. “I am deeply appreciative of the fact that Mongabay bureaus (including Mongabay-India and Mongabay-Hindi) are committed to reporting on such crucial issues and continue to highlight them despite challenges in the media sector. Thank you, Global Landscapes Forum, for having me on the list of 16 Women Restoring the Earth.”
Currently, Ghosh is working to add more content to Mongabay’s coverage of India and South Asia-specific paleoclimate research, extreme weather events, One Health, and northeast India. She also plans to scale up reporting for Mongabay-India’s Environment and Her series, launched in 2019, which explores how the environment impacts women uniquely and how women are driving climate and environmental solutions.
“Journalism, especially in the environmental domain, has the power to make people aware of the shared challenges and local connections,” Ghosh says. “Once the public is aware of personal jeopardy from challenges that are global in nature, they can push for policy action. They understand better the role they can play to resolve a situation. This helps them become part of the solution.”
Also honored this year is the legendary Jane Goodall, a scientist, leader, and U.N. Messenger of Peace who serves as a member of Mongabay’s advisory council. After decades of transformative work, Goodall, now 86, continues to run the community-led conservation organization the Jane Goodall Institute, as well as her Roots & Shoots program, which educates young changemakers.
The other women featured in this year’s list include:
Vanessa Nakate (Uganda), a youth climate activist, founded the Rise Up climate movement, which aims to amplify voices from Africa. She also led the campaign Save Congo Rainforest, an effort to protect the world’s second-largest rainforest from deforestation pressures.
Elizabeth Mrema (Tanzania), executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, has leveraged her background as a lawyer to steer environmental policy and become a career diplomat.
Varshini Prakash (India, U.S.) is a member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate task force and co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate movement that works to improve policy.
“Those closest to the pain can speak toward the solutions that we need with the greatest clarity,” Prakash said at a recent GLF Live session. “It is absolutely essential that those folks have a place in our movements, otherwise we’re going to have major blind spots.”
DJ Switch, a.k.a. Erica Armah-Bra Bulu Tandoh (Ghana), is an 11-year-old youth pop culture icon known for her confidence and skill.
“I picked the name DJ Switch because I switch up people’s happiness,” DJ Switch said in a statement. “I am not only a DJ but also a poet, dancer, an MC, a motivational speaker, actress and an advocate … being a DJ is just the beginning of my goals, I want to eventually become a gynecologist and help women around the world.”
Susan Chomba (Kenya) is a social scientist who works on climate change policies, land tenure, equity, vulnerability and gender with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF). She leads the Regreening Africa project whose primary objective is to scale up solutions to reverse land degradation across eight countries in Africa.
Patricia Zurita (Ecuador), CEO of Birdlife International, is the first woman from the Global South to become CEO of an international conservation organization. Her organization brings together more than 120 global organizations to conserve birds, habitats and biodiversity.
Sônia Guajajara (Brazil), a prominent Indigenous leader, activist and politician, coordinates Brazil’s biggest Indigenous organization, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (ABIP), and fights against the destruction and land grabbing of Indigenous territories.
Durreen Shahnaz (Bangladesh, Singapore) is the founder and CEO of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and IIX Foundation. Her work founding the world’s first social stock exchange and Asia’s largest crowdfunding platforms for impact has leveraged millions of dollars for positive social and environmental change.
Joji Cariño (Philippines), an Indigenous Ibaloi activist from the Cordilleras Highlands of the Philippines, serves as the senior policy adviser of the Forest Peoples Programme. Her work has led to important contributions by Indigenous peoples to international policy processes.
“We are all future ancestors, challenged to renew the earth for coming generations,” Carino said in a Global Landscapes Forum event on biodiversity last year. “This is humanity’s joint endeavor to save our home.”
Sumarni Laman (Indonesia) is a youth restoration steward in the peatlands of Indonesian Borneo. She leads the Heartland Project, which has helped more than 3,500 young people plant more than 8,000 trees.
Yvonne Aki Sawyerr (Sierra Leone) was elected the mayor of Freetown in 2018. As a leader, she is championing a data-driven, inclusive approach to address her city’s challenges. Her three-year Transform Freetown plan addresses waste management, environmental degradation, urban planning, and creating jobs in the tourism industry.
Carole Dieschbourg (Luxembourg), as Luxembourg’s minister for the environment, climate and sustainable development, played a key role in negotiating the Paris Agreement, and has helped to push her nation’s energy, transit, and finance systems toward greater environmental and social responsibility.
Jonna Mazet (U.S.) has been “at the helm of the One Health approach,” which acknowledges that the health of people, ecosystems, and animals is interlinked. She has worked in high-risk disease research and pharmaceutical innovation and serves on the board of directors of the Global Virome Project, the foremost initiative aimed at identifying and preventing outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases.
“We have to integrate science, health, communication, economics and other fields and build trust to set up a ready and resilient system to protect health for all,” Mazet said in a statement. “The beauty is that if we do this well, we will be looking at environmental and social drivers for planetary health that also can have positive impacts on many other critical problems, such as climate change.
“We must recognize that the devastating tragedy of the pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to come together and do things differently. We don’t have to allow ourselves to get into this situation again.”
Cristina Mittermeier (Mexico, U.S.), a National Geographic photographer and marine biologist, has used the medium of photography to convey the climate crisis to the public. Mittermeier founded SeaLegacy, a nonprofit that uses media and storytelling to teach about and amplify ocean conservation solutions.
“I want to be part of the generation that creates the paradigm shift I have dreamt of for so long,” Mittermeier said. “At the end of my life, I want to know that my contributions helped move humanity towards a better understanding of how to live within our planet’s natural boundaries.”
Banner image of Sahana Ghosh courtesy of Global Landscapes Forum.
Liz Kimbrough is a staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @lizkimbrough_
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