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Nature Nuggets

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OUR PLANET’S WONDER WOMEN

Around the world, in different communities, women hold important roles as caregivers, educators, professionals, and more. But did you know that women are sustainability champions too? Keep reading to find out more.

Nature Nuggets - April Edition Image

In many communities, women tend to hold roles where they manage resources like water, fuel, and food for the family and community. This makes them ideal sustainability allies. This also means they are the first to be affected by resource scarcities caused by climate change. Despite their roles, women are often not a part of critical decision-making, such as that related to the management of resources and development at local, national, or international levels. The fact is—empowering women means empowering all people and ensuring a sustainable future for the planet! This edition of Nature Nuggets shines a light on women sustainability champions who have strived to shape a greener future for their communities and the planet.

 

Nature Chatter - April Edition

Environmental movements in India have seen women often leading action for conservation. “Our bodies before our trees” – this was the message that echoed during the Chipko Movement in Himachal Pradesh as local women hugged the trees to prevent them from being chopped down. The Bishnoi Movement in Rajasthan and Appiko Movement in Karnataka also saw women protest deforestation by embracing the trees. Incredibly brave, don’t you think?

Let’s look at examples of how the women of today have made great strides towards sustainability through their unique initiatives.

Increasing green cover

  • Tulsi Gowda, a tribal woman from Karnataka, was awarded a Padma Shri award for having single-handedly planted 30,000 saplings over six decades.
  • Another Padma Shri awardee, Saalumarada Thimmakka, affectionately known as the “Mother of Trees”, planted and tended to 400 banyan trees along a highway, and went on to plant 8,000 more trees with her husband!
  • Founded by Wangari Maathai in 1977, the Green Belt Movement in Kenya brought women together to plant tree saplings in a bid to prevent drought in the area, and empowered communities, especially women, to protect their environment.

Transforming trash into treasure

  • Kunjpreet Arora, a young civil engineer-turned-entrepreneur from India, co-founded a company that produces eco-friendly bricks called ‘WRICKS.’ WRICKS are made using 100%-recycled waste material like plastic and other construction and industrial waste.
  • Isatou Ceesay is a Gambian activist who empowered thousands of West African women by teaching them to upcycle plastic waste into bags, purses, and rucksacks, earning her the name Queen of Recycling”.

Protecting nature

  • The SeaWomen of Melanesia is a group of women that monitors the health of the fragile coral reefs that surround Melanesia, a group of island nations in the South Pacific. The group trains local women too so they can help survey coral reefs and create and restore marine protected areas.

Find more examples of wonder women who motivate you to live more sustainably and add them to the list!

Shark Image

Common name: Killer whale
Scientific name: Orcinus orca

Killer whales, also known as orcas, are the largest members of the dolphin family and typically don’t attack humans. They got their
ferocious name when sailors saw them hunting other whales in groups.

Not unlike the amazing women that you just read about, female killer whales are essential for their group’s survival, particularly for their “grand calves”.

Orca groups are matriarchal, which means young whales stay with their mother throughout their lives, even after they have offspring of their own. And female orcas can live for up to 90 years! Researchers believe that in all that time, they gather a lot of knowledge about where they can find food when fish are scarce and how the fish usually behave. By leading their group in hunts, the matriarchs make sure that younger whales gain this knowledge, giving them a much better shot at sustaining themselves. Watch this video to understand how, in a killer whale group, grandma knows best!

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

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