Being an environmentalist doesn’t have to mean sacrificing dreams of having a family. In fact, as the five women on this list prove, being a mother can make us even more committed to keeping the planet clean and green. And while some environmentalists point to overpopulation as the leading cause of global warming, there’s more evidence showing that our mismanagement of resources is more to blame than the number of people on the planet.
That fact alone is enough to make any mother mad (just like we make sure our children all get to take turns playing with the toys). Mismanagement of resources is creating excessive waste, leaving billions of people in poverty and dirtying up the planet to boot. We can do better.
Also, consider this: Why else are we trying to make the world a better place if not for our children and their children and so on? It is with the future in mind that we are so committed to creating a greener world today.
Whether having children is part of your plan or not, it doesn’t take much to appreciate the work these moms have and continue to do for the planet. These women are proof that we can make the planet a better place and be moms, too. Nurturing our personal family and our earth family with the love and consciousness only a mother can deliver.
Naomi Klein – There’s probably no other mom doing as much for the environmental movement in North America right now than Naomi Klein. Her most recent book, “This Changes Everything” is a manifesto for curbing carbon emissions. Her argument for making the world more equitable, would also make it a more beautiful and rewarding place for all of us.
Vandana Shiva – India may emerge as one of the global leaders in carbon reform thanks to Shiva who has been instrumental in speaking out against globalization and its connection to environmental issues (particularly GMOs). She’s also extremely committed to challenging gender biases, particularly against third world women.
Winona LaDuke – Not only is LaDuke a mother of three, but she’s also one of earth’s fiercest protectors. An activist, environmentalist, economist and writer, she works to protect tribal land claims for native Americans as well as usher in sustainable development for the good of all mankind.
Wangari Maathai – In her 71 years on Earth, Maathai was instrumental in making the world a better place. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which planted trees throughout Africa. She received numerous awards for her environmental work and helping to raise Africans (particularly women) out of poverty.
Erin Brokovich – The legal clerk who was instrumental in bringing justice to Pacific Gas and Electric Company for its role in poisoning California residents with contaminated drinking water, is not only a mother to three but continues to be a strong voice for environmental issues. She has helped propel anti-pollution laws and worked on several class-action lawsuits that implicated corporate misconduct and mismanagement of waste products including hexavalent chromium (the same chemical in the Pacific Gas and Electric).
And let’s not forget our green celebrity moms!
While celebrity status can often overshadow anything else a mom does, there are numerous Hollywood moms also doing their part for the planet:
New mom Olivia Wilde has not only partnered with H&M on the company’s green fashion line, she’s also started Conscious Commerce, a website dedicated to helping us make greener day-to-day decisions for ourselves and our families.
Alicia Silverstone may not be starring in any blockbuster films this summer, but the actress is indeed a superstar. With a commitment to green living and healthy eating, this mom is not only raising a green family, she’s making the world greener too.
Cate Blanchett, the Academy Award winning actress, is a mom and a champion for the environment. She’s committed to reduce her greenhouse pollution in her own home and has partnered with Australia’s ‘Who On Earth Cares’ initiative, which aims to help Australians make environmentally conscious decisions.
Beyoncé: While best known for being the Queen of Pop music and mom to Blue Ivy, Beyoncé has also just taken a huge step for the earth in adopting a vegan diet. She says the impetus has been mostly motivated by the health benefits (she reportedly lost 60 pounds), but there’s no denying the impact on the planet decreased meat and dairy consumption has. And what Bey does, her fans do too, so we could be at the very beginning of a huge wave of new vegans, with a fabulous soundtrack to it, as well.
By Jill Ettinger, contributing writer