After posting last week about women leading the way in sustainable agriculture, I forgot to mention that March is National Women’s History Month and that this year’s theme is “Women Taking the Lead To Save Our Planet.”
For those who aren’t aware of it, National Women’s History Month was started by the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1980. The group provides educational resources, materials, and information about the roles of women in American history.
In 1981, the NWHP successfully lobbied Congress to declare a Joint Congressional Resolution for “National Women’s History Week.” In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to an entire month.
Each year, the NWHP picks honorees to highlight during the month. This year, they are honoring women who have led in the environmental or “green” movement, and are featuring Rachel Carson, considered the founder of the modern environmental movement as the “iconic model” of the theme.
As the group states on its web site “the 2009 Honorees are scientists, engineers, business leaders, writers, filmmakers, conservationists, teachers, community organizers, religious or workplace leaders or others whose lives show exceptional vision and leadership to save our planet.”
These honorees include Helen Caldicott, a well-known physician, pacifist and anti-nuclear activist who has worked for more than 35 years to educate the world about the medical and environmental hazards of nuclear energy. She was named by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the most influential women of the 20th century www.helencaldicott.com.
Other well-known honorees include Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, honored for her work as a Senator in securing federal legislation to protect the environment; Marjory Stoneman Douglas, writer and naturalist who wrote the well-known book The Everglades: River of Grass and who led the successful preservation campaign establishing the Everglades National Park; and Alice Waters, the pioneering chef, restaurateur and food activist who created the Chez Panisse Foundation to help students eat healthy food by bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias and developing organic school gardens.
The complete list of 2009 honorees is available on the NWHP site.
As part of the Women’s History Month celebration, the NWHP has partnered with Sense of Wonder Productions to host 100 screenings across the United States to show their new film “A Sense of Wonder” about the life of Rachel Carson. Check the site to locate a screening near you and to learn more about the movie and this wonderful woman.
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