Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

I have always believed that if it is at all possible to save our planet Earth from the destruction that we have wreaked upon Her, that if it isn’t already too late, then it is we — women of a certain age — who are the ones who can and will do it. These Queens have affirmed my faith.

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.
Brooke Medicine Eagle

Sharon Beder, Australia
Civil Engineer and leader in environmental and water supply issues

Professor Beder’s work focuses on the social, political and philosophical aspects of engineering and environmental politics, ecologically sustainable development, environmental principles and policies, and socio-political dimensions of environmental economics. She has been Chairperson of the Environmental Engineering Branch of the Institution of Engineers, President of the Society for Social Responsibility in Engineering, and a director of the Earth Foundation Australia. She is now the Environmental Education Coordinator at the University of Sydney.

Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, India (1960 and 1956)
Grassroots environmental activists

 

Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, two illiterate village women took it upon themselves to seek justice for the survivors of the poisonous gas leak from a storage tank at a Union Carbide pesticide factory into the heart of Bhopal city, which killed 8,000 people instantly. More than 20,000 deaths in the years since have been attributed to the disaster. Since 1984, the two women have tirelessly continued their efforts to exact justice from the giant chemical companies responsible. They have inspired support from all over the world.

 

Erin Brockovich 1960 America
American legal clerk and environmental activist

Erin Brockovich was instrumental in constructing a successful case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993, despite the lack of a formal law school education, The case alleged contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium in the southern California town of Hinkley. Brockovich went on to participate in other anti-pollution lawsuits. After experiencing problems with mold contamination in her own home in the Conejo Valley, Brockovich became a prominent activist and educator in this area as well.

 


Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway (1939)

Head of the U.N. commission to define sustainable development

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a politician, diplomat, physician, and international leader in sustainable development and public health. Dr. Brundtland spearheaded the movement, now worldwide, to abolish   cigarette smoking through education and persuasion. She was a two term Prime Minister of Norway, and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization. She is now Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Rachael Carson, United States (1907–1964)
Biologist, ecologist and nature writer

Rachael Carson is widely regarded to be the mother of the modern environmental movement. Her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring challenged the practices of agriculture, scientists and the government, bringing to light the environmental hazards of common post-WWII pesticides. She was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world, subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem.


Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Canada-Inuit (1953)
Climate change activist

Sheila Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues affecting Inuit, most recently focused on persistent organic pollutants and global climate change. She is the President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, which represents internationally the interests of Inuit in Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. In 2005, she launched the world’s first international legal action on climate change, alleging that unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases from the United States have violated Inuit cultural and environmental human rights as guaranteed by the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

… Stay tuned for Eco Sheroes – Part 2, on Wednesday and Eco Sheroes – Part 3, to be posted on Friday

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

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