The environment is where people live. We rely on it to support and sustain life. Today, humans have affected almost every facet of the natural world. Crises like climate change and biodiversity loss remind us that people and the environment are interdependent.
On this page you’ll find stories of women engaging with the environment—from the local to the global level. Some have worked to conserve plant and animal life. Others have sounded the alarm about threats to human health, like pollution. Indigenous women, past and present, have used Traditional Ecological Knowledge to understand and manage ecosystems holistically so that all life can thrive.
You will also learn about how past environmental changes have affected women’s lives. Their stories of migration and adaptation can guide us as we face future challenges.
People change our environment, and it changes us. Explore these stories to learn more about how women care for the world around them.
Women and the Environment
Dr. Mary Amdur
Mary Amdur's toxicology research into the harms of smog shaped clean air standards.
Agnes Baker-Pilgrim was an elder in the Takelma tribe and an advocate for environmental justice and indigenous sovereignty.
MaVynee "Beach Lady" Betsch
Environmental activist MaVynee Betsch worked to preserve and protect a historically African-American beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Rachel Carson, biologist, writer, and environmental activist, alerted the public to the dangers of using chemical pesticides carelessly.
Hidatsa Women & Earthlodges
Discover the stories of Hidatsa women who constructed, owned, and maintained earthlodges.
Elizabeth Thacher Kent
Conservationist Elizabeth Thacher Kent was also a daring political activist, risking arrest to fight for women's suffrage.
Mothers of East Los Angeles
Latina residents of eastern Los Angeles founded MELA to stop threats to their neighborhood environment, including a waste incinerator.
Places of Women and Vegetarianism
Women have advocated for vegetarianism because of religion, health, and animal rights. Explore places associated with this movement.
Weedpatch Camp was a federal relief camp for migrants who had fled the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to seek work in California.
Discover More Stories of Women and the Environment
Last updated: November 4, 2021