Hazel Johnson is now known as the “mother of the environmental justice movement,” but back in 1979 she was a mother of seven children with respiratory and skin problems, and the widow of a husband who died from lung cancer a decade prior. Living in Altgeld Gardens on the South Side of Chicago, in a housing project that was surrounded by factories, landfills, industrial buildings, and sewage treatment plants, Johnson began to investigate the chronic health impacts on her community from surrounding air and water pollution. She learned that her family and her neighbors had been exposed to toxic fumes, asbestos, and contaminated drinking water, and that her community had the highest cancer rate in the city – leading her to call Altgeld Gardens “The Toxic Donut.”
We’ve all heard of Sylvia Earle, Rachel Carson, Gina McCarthy, and Jane Goodall, and there is no doubt that they are all heroines and role models to me. But there are so many more kick-ass women coming up in the ranks of environmental activism right now that I knew it would be amiss not to share my list. This is not comprehensive by any means – there are so many amazing women doing great things for the planet, known and unknown. But as a woman and as an environmentalist, here are ten incredible females that I am looking to for inspiration in this time of deep challenge and struggle: Continue reading “Top 10 Kick-Ass Female Environmentalists to Watch”
The lush green vines billow in the city breeze, muffled by the quiet roar of stamping feet and tourists’ conversations. The neat slices of sidewalk meld with the garden beds, tracing a line to the half-finished skyscrapers. The elevated walkway peers over the manicured streets, with glitzy shops and storefronts lighting up the avenue.
Twenty years ago, this place was sketchy during the day, and extremely dangerous at night. This is New York City’s Meatpacking District. This is the High Line.