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Empowering women

EARTHDAY.ORG’s Kathleen Rogers is proof that women can change the world
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Kathleen Rogers, EARTHDAY.ORG

This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 08 March 2024. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, ignited the modern environmental movement by exposing the harmful effects of pesticides and their devastating impact on wildlife.

Through the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai was able to empower Indigenous Kenyan women to combat deforestation and advocate for women’s rights.

Today, activists like Greta Thunberg and Mavi Brilhante are the leading voices demanding action, inspiring a new generation to confront climate change head-on.

Empowering women

It’s evident women have long been pivotal in driving environmental action; a report from Project Drawdown underscored this connection when it revealed that empowering women and girls in developing countries is the second-most effective solution for limiting global warming to 2ºC.

Investing in the education of women and girls in these regions is paramount. Kathleen Rogers, president of EARTHDAY.ORG, has spearheaded efforts to champion equitable and universal climate education throughout her career as an environmental activist.

‘When girls are educated they are empowered to do the right thing by the planet’, Kathleen said. ‘And, once women take action, their families, colleagues and friends follow. We – women and girls – are a force to be reckoned with and I am deeply proud of those who have gone before me, and the ones who will follow.’

Green muscle memory

For over 20 years under Kathleen’s leadership, EARTHDAY.ORG has tirelessly advocated for the planet’s health.

Kathleen has championed the need for climate education in every school as a means to teach the next generation about the ways in which they can contribute to, and also advance, the new green economy.

Climate education helps to develop a ‘green muscle memory’, which instinctively fosters positive action for our planet.

With programmes like The Canopy Project and The Great Global Cleanup in more than 192 countries, Kathleen and EARTHDAY.ORG have prioritised the integration of civic participation into all their initiatives and activities.

A green sisterhood

Kathleen’s upbringing in a large family, coupled with a love for animals and exploration, deeply influenced her journey to environmental activism.

Having travelled to over 105 countries and attended 27 COPs with EARTHDAY.ORG (she missed Poland, which she still regrets), Kathleen brings a unique perspective and dedication to her advocacy.

‘I truly believe you have to get out there and connect with people, face to face, to really sell the virtues of environmentalism’, Katheen said. ‘One of the great joys of my job is that I get to meet, work with and learn from literally thousands of other women. I feel like I am part of a powerful green sisterhood! It gives me a lot of strength to know we are fighting for what is right, together.’

A sustainable future

One of Kathleen’s most memorable experiences was organising the first major environmental event in Ukraine in 2005, in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.

Despite the challenges – which ranged from extreme weather to mismanagement – Kathleen and her team successfully rallied 150,000 people in a snowstorm to take action for the environment.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s honour trailblazers like Kathleen, whose lifelong commitment to climate education helps to empower young women.

Her dedication should inspire us all; most of all it shows girls all over the world that they can make a difference and that they do have a voice.

Through her leadership and advocacy, Kathleen has given us another section of the roadmap in our journey to a sustainable future.

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