Today’s International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Women worldwide have already changed the world for good, and play a vital role in the transformation to a fairer, just and more sustainable world. The World Future Council is working to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren, and in the light of the global climate crisis especially highlights the accomplishments of their female environmentalists for a living planet.
The World Future Council includes female Councillors and Honorary Councillors on all continents who already have made a significant contribution to the protection of our planet working in a wide variety of working areas.
- Jane Goodall: Primatologist and UN Messenger for Peace
In July 1960, Jane Goodall began her landmark study of chimpanzee behavior in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Her work would become the foundation of future primatological research and redefine the relationship between humans and animals.
In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute, which continues the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. The Institute is widely recognized for innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and its global environmental and humanitarian youth program “Roots & Shoots”.
Jane Goodall’s honors include the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania, and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize. In 2002, Jane Goodall was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2003, she was named a Dame of the British Empire. In 2010, Jane Goodall received the international Human Rights Prize Golden Dove.
- Maude Barlow: Environmentalist and recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize
Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.
Maude is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).
In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.
- Thais Corral: a social innovator and entrepreneur
As part of the Women’s Global Movement, Thais Corral was one of the leaders who actively participated in the Earth Summit in 1992. Together with American Congress representative, Bella Abzug, and Nobel Award winner, Wangari Mathaai, she founded WEDO (Women’s Environment and Development Organization). Ms Corral is the founder and current director of two established and nationally recognized non-profit organizations in Brasil, REDEH (Network of Human Development) and CEMINA (Communication, Education, Information and Adaptation). Her current most important initiative is SINAL do Vale, a 400 acres agro-forestry farm, near Rio de Janeiro. SINAL is a platform which encompasses several initiatives geared to educate young entrepreneurs to embrace resilience at the local level. SINAL Retreat is also a space where leaders from around the world come to cultivate their wellbeing and refine their strategies.
As a social entrepreneur, Ms Corral conceived and implemented a women’s radio network which links 400 female radio programs to their communities throughout Brazil during two decades. She coordinates the project Adapta Sertao, whose mission is to improve food security and resilience to climate change in the semi-arid region of Brazil. In a decade the Adapta Sertao model was adopted in a whole region influencing technical assistance, the way cooperatives work, credit and the production system. In 2015, the project received the MDGs award given by the President of Brazil, by its contribution to the improvement of poverty.
Ms Corral was recognized as “Woman of the year 2001” by the Brazilian National Council of Women. In 2004, she received as part of WEDO the Award Earth Campion by UNEP. She holds master degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a post degree by the United Nations University and University of Chicago. She serves on the advisory board of Ethical Market. Is the focal point of Mercado Etico in Brasil. Also is part of the Advisory Council of Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption. She was also the former president of the LEAD Brasil until 2015.
- Julia Marton-Lefèvre: French-US environmentalist and academic
Julia Marton-Lefèvre has completed a year as the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholar at Yale University and a Fellow of Davenport College at Yale. She will continue her links with Yale University as an Executive Fellow at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and as a board member of the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative. She also serves on the boards of directors of several other universities: the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; Oxford University’s James Martin School and the Global Institute of Sustainability (Arizona State University).
Julia stepped down as Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in January 2015, after eight years as head the world’s largest international conservation membership organisation. Prior positions have included Rector of the UN-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE); Executive Director of LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) International, and Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Julia has given hundreds of speeches throughout her career, written articles, op ed pieces, and contributed to several books. Her board memberships today include: chairing the Executive Committee for the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Donor Council of the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, and Bioversity International.
- Wanjira Mathai: Kenyan environmental and civic leader
Wanjira Mathai is the Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF) whose mission is to advance the legacy of 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. Wanjira is leading the development of innovative training programs, for children and youth, that will nurture courage, leadership, and integrity. Wanjira also serves as Senior Advisor at the World Resources Institute and for the Partnerships for Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER), and sits on the Boards of the Green Belt Movement and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).
- Jan McAlpine: Former Director, UN Forum on Forests
Jan McAlpine was the Director of the United Nations Division on Forests and head of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), based at UN Headquarters in New York. The UNFF is a body in the United Nations made up of 193 countries in the United Nations. She previously served as the Senior Advisor and lead negotiator for Forests in the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, and in that role headed the interagency and Stakeholder process in the development of the President’s Initiative against Illegal Logging (PIAIL).
She also led in the development of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership at the Department of State, launched at the WSSD in Johannesburg by Secretary Colin Powell in September, 2002. Ms. McAlpine conceived and developed the Asia and Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Ministerial process, working with the World Bank and the governments of Indonesia and Cameroon. In 2007 and 2008, Ms. McAlpine was a Visiting Scholar and Senior Researcher at the University of Michigan’s School for Natural Resources and Environment, where she cofacilitated and chaired the first National Summit on Adaptation to Climate Change and edited the proceedings for the Summit.
She also helped to establish the Central Africa Forest Research Initiative and now serves as Chair of its Advisory Board. Ms. McAlpine served in the U.S. Government from 1989; she worked in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focusing on international policy issues, including developing the first advisory committee to the Administrator on trade and environment issues. Subsequently she worked at the White House, first with the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and then in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as the trade negotiator on forest timber, tobacco, and Montreal protocal matter. Prior to her career in the U.S. Government, Ms. McAlpine worked for 11 years for the Water Environment Federation, an international science and educational association in the water quality field.
- Gertrude Mongella: strongly engaging for women in Africa.
Gertrude Mongella was born in 1945 on a small island in Lake Victoria in Tanzania. After graduating as a teacher from University of Dar es Salaam, she worked in several ministries among others for Julius K. Nyerere and Ali H. Mwinyi in her home country until beginning of 1990. In 1991, Mongella was appointed Tanzania’s High Commissioner to India. Two years later, the strong-minded feminist became a diplomat to the UN and led the fourth World Conference on Women 1993-1995. As General Secretary and Chair she significantly contributed to the success of this conference and has since been known as “Mama Peking”.
Her diplomatic obligations in India did not prevent Mongella from keeping apace with her other interests. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the UN’s International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), as a member of the Global Assembly on Women and the Environment, the World Women’s Congress for a Healthy Planet as well as the Tanzanian Association of Women Leaders in Agriculture and Environment. In March 2004, Mongella was elected as the first President of the Pan-African Parliament.
She is highly committed to the political integration of Africa, as well as championing a strong involvement of women in political leadership. As such the inspiring feminist joined the Movement’s Global Coalition of Women Defending Peace in its Mission to Palestine, which supported Palestinian women to gain power in political processes. More recently Gertrude Mongella became Tanzania’s Goodwill Ambassador to the World Health Organization, a special advisor to the Economic Commission of Africa, and a member of the AU’s African Women’s Committee for Peace and Development.
- Hafsat Abiola-Costello: Nigerian human rights, civil rights and democracy activist
Hafsat Abiola-Costello is a human and civil rights campaigner and was appointed June 5, 2018 as the Executive President of Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative. The global platform is dedicated to the economic development and support of leading and high potential African women. She is the Founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) which seeks to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Nigeria.
In 2008 she founded China Africa Bridge (CAB), an organisation that seeks to ensure that growing Sino-African ties benefit both sides. Ms Abiola-Costello received the Youth Peace and Justice Award from the Cambridge Peace Commission in 1997, the State of the World Forum’s Change Maker Award in 1998, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Leader of Tomorrow Award 2000.
- Frances Moore Lappé: committed to food, agriculture and democracy policy.
Frances Moore Lappé has authored or co-authored sixteen books, including the bestseller ‘Diet for a Small Planet’, which points out the needlessness of hunger in a world of plenty. Moore Lappé is co-founder of Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and Small Planet Institute. Some of her most recent books are ‘Hope’s Edge’ (2003), written with her daughter Anna Lappé, about democratic social movements worldwide and ‘Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad’ (2007).
Moore Lappé has received seventeen honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions including the University of Michigan and was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000/2001. She received the 1987 Right Livelihood Award. In 2008 Lappé was selected as the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian Award honouree for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture.
- Vandana Shiva: Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist
Prof. Dr. Vandana Shiva trained as a Physicist. In 1982 she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun, which is dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times. In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds.
Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books, ‘The Violence of Green Revolution’ and ‘Monocultures of the Mind’, have become basic challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist agricultural practices. Dr. Shiva is a Founding Board Member of many important organizations such as the International Forum on Globalisation and Diverse Women for Diversity. Time Magazine identified her as an environmental hero in 2003. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993 and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.
- Auma Obama: known for her commitment for the rights of children and youth.
Born and raised in Kenya, Auma Obama completed her Doctorate in Philology at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. She is the initiator and CEO of the Sauti Kuu Foundation, which works to self-empower children and adolescents from underprivileged backgrounds in Kenya. Her autobiography “And Then Life Happens” was published in 2012.
- Anna Oposa: strongly engaging for marine life.
Anna R. Oposa is a multi-hyphenated changemaker who is best known for being the Co-Founder and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas (SPS), a movement to conserve and restore the Philippines’ coastal and marine resources through information, education, and communication activities and community-based projects. In 2012, Anna founded the Shark Shelter Project, which builds the capacity of local communities in Daanbantayan, Cebu, to protect thresher sharks and their coastal and marine resources. In 2015, she founded the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, an environmental education and leadership program that empowers young Filipinos to be leaders in conservation. To date, the SEA Camp has trained over 200 youth leaders in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Anna graduated with a BA in English Studies from the University of the Philippines (cum laude), and obtained her MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London (Merit) through the Chevening scholarship. In 2017, she was one of the three Global Fellows for Marine Conservation of the Duke University Marine Laboratory.
Outside SPS, she has served as a consultant for the Climate Change Commission, Asian Development Bank, Philippine Business for the Environment, Oceana, and the Purpose Business Ltd., and has co-written a workbook entitled An Introduction to Climate Change for Filipino Youth.
- Victoria Tauli-Corpuz: international indigenous activist
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is an indigenous leader from the Kankanaey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. Is a social development consultant, indigenous activist, civic leader, human rights expert, public servant, and an advocate of women’s rights in the Philippines.
She was the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2005-2010). As an indigenous leader she got actively engaged in drafting and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. She helped build the indigenous peoples’ movement in the Cordillera as a youth activist in the early 1970s. She helped organize indigenous peoples in the community level to fight against the projects of the Marcos Dictatorship such as the Chico River Hydroelectric Dam and the Cellophil Resources Corporation. These communities succeeded in stopping these.
She is the founder and executive director of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education). Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has founded and managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, climate change, the advancement of indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights. A member of the Kankana-ey Igorat peoples, she was the chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is an Expert for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and has served as the chairperson-rapporteur of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations. She is also the indigenous and gender adviser of the Third World Network and a member of United Nations Development Programme Civil Society Organizations Advisory Committee.
Each and every one of our councillors has already successfully promoted change – and they come from a vast variety of countries and backgrounds. This guarantees that the WFC can tackle problems in a holistic and inclusive manner. The Council meets once a year to discuss and decide on its work programme for the year ahead.
‘On International Women’s Day I congratulate all women environmentalists for their achievements for a healthy planet. I applaud their tireless efforts to pass on a living planet to future generations. I invite all citizens to draw inspiration from women environmental leaders around the planet who take strong stands for climate protection and biodiversity conservation as innovators for change. In light of the skills of women and continued gender inequalities, we need to speed up providing women equal access to education, land, water and participation in leadership at all levels to achieve a healthy planet.‘