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The Queen of My Self

Amrita Devi, India
Founder of the Shipko Movement in defense against deforestation

Amrita Devi organized a large group of peasants from 84 villages in Rajasthan in an effort to protect the forests from being felled on the orders of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. In one day in 1730, 363 protestors were killed by the axes that were meant to fell the trees. This event was the inspiration of the modern Shipko Movement, a grass roots association of women peasants who act to prevent the cutting of trees and to reclaim their traditional forest rights. The movement has now spread throughout India and has had far reaching impact on the global green movement.

Lois Marie Gbbs, United States
Grassroots environmental activist and community leader

Lois Gibbs became involved in environmental causes when she learned that her neighborhood, Love Canal, in Niagara Falls, New York was built on a toxic waste dump. With no prior experience in community activism, Gibbs organized the Love Canal Homeowners Association, which she led in a battle against the local, state, and federal governments. After years of struggle, 833 families were eventually evacuated, and cleanup of Love Canal began. Her efforts also led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

Jane Goodall, England and Tanzania
Primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist and conservationist

Jane Goodall’s holistic methods of fieldwork transformed not only how chimpanzees are understood, but influenced scientific thinking regarding the evolution of humans. In addition to being an animal rights activist, her involvement in tropical forests has led her to be actively involved in a number of environmental issues, and to found the Roots & Shoots an international children’s environmental education program and the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation.

Fatima Jibrell, Somalia
Environmental organizer and educator

Fatima Jibrell founded Horn of Relief to train young people to organize awareness campaigns about the irreversible damage of unrestricted charcoal production, which has deforested Somalia and led to widespread famine. As a charcoal alternative, she has spearheaded the development of solar cooking stoves. She teaches women and youth to build small rock dams to slow the runoff during the brief rainy season, which nourish vegetation, crucial in slowing the growth of arid lands.
Winona LaDuke, United States-Anishinaabeg
Activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer

Winona LaDuke is an ardent representative of indigenous perspectives. At the age of seventeen she spoke at the UN on behalf of Native Americans. She is a founding member of Women of All Red Nations and director of the Land Recovery Project on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. An inspiring speaker, she was the 1996 and 2000 vice-presidential candidate of the Green Party, the first Native American to run for national office. The author of All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life, she is currently the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an organization she co-founded with Indigo Girls in 1993.

Wangari Maathai Kenya
Environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya In 1977, in response to the serious problems caused by deforestation: soil runoff, water pollution, difficulty finding firewood, lack of animal nutrition, and poverty. The Green Belt program has planted more than 30 million trees to prevent soil erosion and to provide firewood for cooking fires. In recognition of her monumental efforts, she served both in Parliament and in prison. In November 2006, she spearheaded the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign.

Eco Sheroes continues on Monday, June 13th
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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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