The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

More Eco Sheros

posted by Donna Henes

Wherever I travel there is always some sort of local environmental nightmare, be it chemical waste, medical waste, nuclear waste or garbage waste. And wherever I travel there is always a women, usually a woman of a certain age, who has organized her community and fought the good fight for environmental preservation and protection.

These women usually think of themselves as regular people, never before thinking of themselves as environmentalists or feminists, yet they they walk the walk of both. They see that there is a problem and they roll up their sleeves and set out to solve it.

Winona LaDuke, United States-Anishinaabeg  (1959-2010)
Activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer 

Winona LaDuke was an ardent representative of indigenous perspectives. At the age of seventeen she spoke at the UN on behalf of Native Americans. She was 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 was most recently the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an organization she co-founded with the Indigo Girls in 1993.

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, United States (1960-)
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.

Julia Butterfly Hill, American (Born 1974)
Environmental activist and writer

In December of 1997, Julia Hill climbed into a 1,000-year-old California coast redwood tree to save it from loggers. She lived in a 6′x8′ tree house 180 feet above the ground for 738 days. Julia descended only after Pacific Lumber Co. agreed to let the tree and a 3-acre buffer zone around it stand. She subsequently, wrote  The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods and helped found the Circle of Life Foundation to promote the sustainability, restoration, and preservation of life.

Olya Melen, Ukraine  (1980)  
Environmental attorney

Olya Melen is a firebrand attorney who used legal channels to halt construction of a massive canal that would have cut through the heart of the Danube Delta, one of the world’s most valuable wetlands, a World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve. The organization Environment-People-Law (EPL) filed lawsuits to prevent construction and Melen tried the case. She was denounced by the notoriously corrupt and lawless pre-Orange Revolution government, but the judge ruled that the canal development flouted environmental laws and could adversely affect the Danube Delta’s biodiversity.

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
 - Rachel Carson

There is still a chance. And we are that chance!

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


Eco Sheros

posted by Donna Henes

These Queenly Eco Sheros are amazing women, all. They  inspire me. I hope they inspire you, too:

Wangari Maathai, Kenya (1940-)
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.

Dai Qing, China (1941-)
Journalist and environmental activist

Dai Qing reported on a conference in 1989 about the impending Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. Her subsequent research led to the publication of the book Yangtze! Yangtze! In which she denounced the dam as “the most environmentally and socially destructive project in the world.” Dai claimed that there was a potential risk for the Yangtze River and the Yellow River to dry up, leading to sandstorms in Inner Mongolia and environmental influence on Korea, Japan and even the west coast of the United States. After Tiananmen Square, the book was banned and she was jailed.

Dame Anita Roddick, England (1943-2007)
Entrepeneur and environmental visionary

Anita Roddick was the founder of the now world famous Body Shop boutique in 1976 in Brighton, England, long before fair trade and Earth-friendly businesses were fashionable. The Body Shop opposed product testing on animals and tried to encourage development by purchasing materials from small communities in the Third World. It also invested in a wind farm in Wales as part of its campaign to support renewable energy, and it set up its own human rights award. Roddick’s last struggles were against globalization and sweatshop economies.

Lois Marie Gbbs, United States (1951-)
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.

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.

Well, I don’t only think that the biosphere is in trouble, I know it is. I just have to look around in the environment, in which I live. In my own part of the part of the world, I keep telling people, let us not cut trees irresponsibly. Let us not destroy, especially the forested mountains. Because if you destroy the forests on these mountains, the rivers will stop flowing and the rains will become irregular and the crops will fail and you will die of hunger and starvation. Now the problem is, people don’t make those linkages.
- Wangari Maathai

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

Eco Shero Foremothers

posted by Donna Henes

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 dedicated Queens have affirmed my faith:

Amrita Devi, India (18th Century)
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 cut down 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.

Rosalie Edge, United States, (1877-1962)
Conservationist and feminist

Rosalie Edge took her experience in the women’s rights movement, her love of birds, her outrage over the behavior of the leaders of the Audubon Association, and with intelligence, persistence and wit became the role model for a generation of women no longer content to sit, breathless, by a campfire or in a city auditorium, while a man lectured on the beauties of nature and the need to preserve them. She also understood that predators have a vital role in the natural order and deserved respect and protection. Her legacy includes both the prominence of women in the environmental movement and a wildlife refuge in Pennsylvania named Hawk Mountain.

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 she courageously continued to speak 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.

Jane Goodall, England and Tanzania, (1934-)
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.

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.

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

And that hope, my dear sister Queens is us!
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


Queens Everywhere

posted by Donna Henes

One third of all women in America are over the age of fifty, and one woman reaches that milestone every seven and a half seconds. Climacteric women, more than fifty million strong, now comprise the single largest population segment of American society. Silent no more, we are reading and talking and conspiring among ourselves.

It is my hope that as more and more mature women rise to reign in the fullest potential of our supremacy, we will harness our purpose, passion and power and direct it toward creating a more balanced and peaceful world. This is the legacy of Her majesty.

The Queen
By Janine Canan

Not only in England–
Let us have queens everywhere!

Queen of Africa
Queen of Afghanistan
Queen of America
Queen of Arabia
Queen of the Argentine
Queen of China
Queen of Columbia
Queen of Egypt
Queen of Germany
Queen of Guatemala
Queen of Iraq
Queen of Israel
Queen of Italy
Queen of Japan
Queen of Mongolia
Queen of Palestine
Quuen of Russia
Queen of Spain
Queen of Syria

Queen of the World
Queen of the Universe
Queen of each and every Self–

To You I bow down.

- Janine Canan

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

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