Women fighting the ‘green fight’ around the world

| November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Teachers shouldn’t wait for Women’s Month (August) to tell their students all about courageous eco-heroines working in different parts of the world. Let your pupils learn from these stories right now, and find more of your own. In Ethiopia, Sue Edwards has been working for 40 years through the Institute of Sustainable Development (ISD) to influence the government’s policies on education and the environment. Seventyfour per cent of Ethiopians are younger than 30, and the ISD provides many youngsters with environmental clubs in government schools and out-of-school youth groups. (Visit http://www.isd.org.et to learn more.)

In 2001, Shirley Lewis – known affectionately as the ‘Bag Lady’ – started campaigning in Australia against the use of plastic bags and the litter they create. Today, Baglady Productions works with schools, individuals and governments on – ‘As Sustainably as Possible’ (ASAP). Baglady is particularly active in Northern Ireland, where the coastline has become littered with non-biodegradable rubbish. Lewis has visited over 200 schools that have taken the ASAP pledge, and benefited from the ASAP environmental programme integrated into classroom lessons. Lewis says she developed her comic ‘Baglady’ persona (she arrives at schools decorated with plastic shoppers) to counteract apathy, and urges children to equip themselves with ‘Positive Pester Power Cards’ that are used to persuade adults to live more responsibly. (Visit http://www.bagladyproductions.org to learn more.)

And in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Mariam Ouattara, the president of non-governmental organisation Chigata Fettes et Development (Women and Development), started Slow Food Chigata. Ouattara saw how the conflict caused by the 2002 coup d’état in the country destroyed much of the nation’s agricultural production. Women make up the majority of the agricultural work force in Côte d’Ivoire, and in 2002, yields and incomes disappeared and children stopped going to school. Slow Food Chigata helps women to grow organic food to feed families and children at schools. The organisation also works to persuade women to eschew imported foods that create a host of new health problems, and rather to grow traditional rice, haricot blanc (white beans), onions, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, radishes and other crops. “Once children eat,” says Ouattara, “it’s easier for them to become better students.” (Visit http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet to learn more.)

Category: Summer 2012

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