Throughout history, the contributions of women have often been overlooked and it’s no different in the environmental health and justice movements. Women have been at the center of some of the biggest strides in environmental health and justice. From sparking international conversations on toxic chemicals and practices that harm health to being voices for overlooked communities, it is the hard work and sacrifice of so many women that have educated, advocated, and inspired change. For women's history month, let's celebrate and learn more about 8 heroic women environmentalists who have changed the world of environmental health.

Lois Gibbs

A prime example of everyday people enacting change in their community, wife, and mother Lois Gibbs began and led the grassroots movement to have 800 families relocated from the now infamous Love Canal. She discovered that 21,000 tons of chemical waste buried below the neighborhood was the source of high rates of birth defects, miscarriages, and other health issues in her community.

Gibbs later went on to create the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, an organization that supports grassroots movements like the one at Love Canal. Gibbs continued to serve as the Executive Director of CHEJ until 2021. You can read more about her work in her book Love Canal The Story Continues.


Rachel Carson

In her 1962 book, Silent Spring, author and marine biologist, Rachel Carson challenged the use of pesticides and helped inspire major social and political changes including a nationwide ban of DDT and the formation of the EPA. Her writings reflect the deep love she had for the natural world as well as call her readers to act as stewards of the environment.

Carson faced major push back from chemical companies after publishing Silent Spring. She stood her ground and continued to speak out against pesticide usage until she died from breast cancer two years after her book was published. Her work was widely validated by the scientific community and Carson’s work stands as a catalyst of major environmental movements to regulate the use of harmful chemicals.


Dolores Huerta

A champion for farm workers’ rights and safer working conditions for laborers, Huerta leaves a legacy as one of the most influential labor activists. As the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, she spent her life organizing and advocating for agricultural workers, including the elimination of exposures to harmful pesticides.

Additionally, Huerta led many boycotts, negotiated contracts, and fought for benefits for workers. Despite the adversity she faced as a Latina woman, Huerta continued to stand up for and lead the movement for agricultural workers for over 60 years. As of 2019, at the age of 89 she was still the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, an organization that advocates for civil rights all over the country.


Winona LaDuke

As an Indigenous American woman of the Ojibwe tribe, Winona LaDuke has made it her life’s work to advocate for issues in sustainable development, renewable energy, and better food systems. She has advocated for the return of indigenous lands, for the protection of fragile watersheds, and established organizations to support and advocate for Indigenous Peoples of America.

LaDuke continues her work through support of her organizations, White Earth Land Recovery Project and the Indigenous Women’s Network. She also led the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The majority of her work today is in farming hemp and spreading awareness of its advantages as an alternative to heavily water-dependent materials like cotton or petroleum based synthetics.


Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which led to the planting of over 30 million trees by women and community members all across the African Continent. The Green Belt Movement was key in counteracting widespread deforestation that threatened subsistence farming in Maathai’s home country of Kenya.

These efforts plus other contributions to sustainable democracy and peace made her the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Maathai was the first African woman ever to receive a Nobel prize, the first East and Central African woman to earn a doctoral degree, and the first female professor to teach in Kenya.


Erin Brockovich

In 1992, while working as a legal clerk, Erin Brockovich, a mother of two, uncovered evidence that over 600 residents in a small California town were exposed to high levels of hexavalent chromium in the drinking water. The pollution was the result of a Pacific Gas and Electric plant. Brockovich’s efforts on the case led to the rectification of the issue and the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.

Now as president of Brockovich Research and Consulting and an environmental activist, she continues her legal work on numerous international groundwater contamination cases, is an author and speaker, and media personality. You can watch Julia Roberts star as her in the Oscar winning dramatization of her story, Erin Brockovich (2000).


Peggy Shepard

Peggy Shepard is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of WE ACT, the first environmental justice non-profit in Northern Manhattan, that empowers people of color and low income residents to participate in the policies and practices that affect their environmental health. Their impact on that community has been immense from building green space on the West Harlem waterfront to implementing bus pollution standards that reduce tailpipe emissions by 95%.

Shepard started her career as a journalist and found her way into politics as a speech writer. Throughout her career she was a co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council for the EPA. Today she continues her work with WE ACT as the Executive Director.


Sandra Steingraber

Sandra Steingraber is an ecologist and author who has written many books about how environmental issues reflect and go hand in hand with public health issues. A cancer survivor herself, Steingraber’s work is a personal exploration of how the quality of our water, air, and food affect things like reproductive health, fetal development, and cancer related issues.

Beyond her scientific and written work, Steingraber is also an outspoken activist against fracking and the industrialization of natural resources. She has been arrested multiple times for acts of civil disobedience as well as received many accolades for her work including the Rachel Carson Leadership Award.



Non-Toxic and Sustainable 2021 Gift Guide for Women

Something for every woman in your life, and maybe something for you too!

Whether you're shopping for a friend, spouse, or family member, it can be hard to find something that strikes the right balance between unique and practical. And if you throw on top wanting a sustainable and non-toxic gift from a brand that has good sustainability and ethical pracitces, it can make your head spin. With the holidays are right around the corner, we've been putting together the ultimate gift guide that takes all of these things into consideration for all ranges of budgets. Looking for non-toxic, sustainable, eco-friendly, and fun gifts for her? Look no further!

This year, we have highlighted many products by many Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) owned/founded brands. Buying from these brands is a great way to support economic opportunities in BIPOC communities and celebrates diversity in the sustainability space. Additionally, since climate change is an urgent issue with so many health impacts, we are also highlighting brands that are Climate Neutral certified. That means that the brand has committed to measure, offset, and reduce the carbon they emit. We believe that consumers and companies must work together to embrace and make true commitments to diversity and sustainability. Look no further for the ultimate gift guide!

$: Under $50

Cocokind Mymatcha All over moisture Stick (BIPOC Owned)

Matcha tea powder, beeswax, and organic coconut oil come together in this all-over moisture stick by Cocokind! Dry skin doesn't stand a chance against this moisture stick. Perfect small gift for anyone on your list.

Henne Luxury Lip Tint (BIPOC Owned)

Beautiful, pigmented colors make this Henne Luxury Lip Tint a must-have this holiday season. It's a super moisturizing formula that can be worn sheer or built up into a deeper color. We love this clean beauty brand!

Aya Paper Manifestation Journal (BIPOC Owned)

This beautiful journal by Aya Paper Co is made from 100% recycled, chlorine free paper. It's the perfect tool for manifesting goals for any woman in your life.

Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts (BIPOC Owned)

Unwind after a stressful day with these CBD infused bath salts by Vertly. This is the perfect gift for anyone who needs an extra umph in their self-care routine.

Mount Lai Jade Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool (BIPOC Owned)

Gua Sha is definitely having a moment, and this jade gua sha facial lifting tool by Mount Jade is the perfect way to get started! Pick up one up for yourself and a friend.

Coyuchi Mediterrnean Organic Towel

These organic, GOTS-certified Turkish cotton towels from Coyuchi are lightweight, super absorbent, dry quickly, and take up less space in the linen closet! They are stunning and very functional.

$ $: Between $50-100

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (BIPOC Owned)

There's a reason Tata Harper is such a well-known clean beauty brand. Their products are safe but super effective. This resurfacing mask makes a great gift for anyone who wants glowing smooth skin.

Shelf Bra Camisole 3 pack

These GOTS-certified organic cotton shelf bra camis from Pact are super comfortable and perfect for lounging and layering!

Innersense Shampoo and Conditioner

Innersense shampoo and conditioner is made with quinoa, rice extracts, shea butter, and coconut and avocado oils for extra shiny, healthy hair. This clean hair care company sets the bar for what is possible without harsh chemicals and surfectants.

Cuyana Panama Folding Hat (BIPOC Owned)

A Panama folding hat from Cuyana is the perfect travel companion- it's lightweight, packable, and stylish but still offers great sun protection. This hat is handmade in Ecuador, woven by woven using traditional techniques. The Toquilla straw is a renewable resource made from young Toquilla palm fronds that are harvested without harming the main tree.

Jade yoga mat

This om-azing yoga mat by Jade Yoga is made in the US from natural rubber! It's grippy texture will help create a better practice without the use of plastics like PVC. Perfect for beginners or advanced yogis on your list.

Avocado Silk Pillowcase

This silk pillowcase from Avocado is the perfect eco-friendly luxury gift item. The silk is certified Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX and is machine washable.

Natural Wine Club

A subscription to Mysa's wine club is the perfect introduction to the natural wine world! Choose from 3, 6, or 12 bottles of natural wine delivered on a schedule of your choosing. Mysa works with small growers, that use low-intervention farming and cellar practices, are sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic, use minimal or no sulfites, and who ferment with native yeast.

Allbirds Wool Lounger

Calling all fans of slip on shoes! These Allbirds wool loungers are soft and cozy, but supportive enough for a day of running errands. Allbirds uses sustainability sources materials like merino wool and sugarcane. They have also made bold carbon footprint reduction commitments.

$ $ $: Over $100

Estelle Colored Wine Glasses (BIPOC Owned)

These delightfully colored wine glasses from Estelle are hand-blown and designed by Stephanie Summerson Hall. A gift worthy set that will make any happy hour fun!

East Fork Large Shapes Vase

Since these ceramic vases from East Fork are hand thrown, each is completely unique! With a unique shiny glaze, this vase is perfect alone or with a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Cuyana Recycled Cashmere Soft Wrap Sweater (BIPOC Owned)

The perfect balance of cozy and stylish, this recycled cashmere wrap sweater is a sustainable luxury gift. Made from 98% recycled cashmere fibers in Italy, this is a sweater that can last a lifetime.

Aurate x Kerry Venus Necklace (BIPOC Owned)

An ethically sourced golden shell necklace made from 100% recycled gold vermeil. This necklace is delicate and bold at the same time. A perfect gift for someone special.

Want an easy way to live healthier?
Sign up for our newsletter! Curated environmental health news delivered to your inbox every three weeks.
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.

We've all heard of breast cancer and seen the pink ribbons, but what do we really know about it? Surely you've heard about things like inherited genetic risk or lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol use, and lack of exercise. But there are also a lot of environmental factors that increase the risk of breast cancer too (1,5). Some of these environmental factors come from things like toxic chemicals in our personal care products and cleaning solutions, endocrine disrupting chemicals that find their way into our food, processed foods, poor air quality, and much more. This means aspects of our home life and the outside world could make us more susceptible to breast cancer. It's not just the cocktails and our seemingly inability to get off the couch and go for a run! And yes, "us" really means all of us! Whether you're a man, woman, non binary, transgender, or you're over the age of 50 or are young enough to know how Tik Tok works, breast cancer affects us all. The way breast cancer develops and knowing the risks for it can be tricky and sometimes uncontrollable, but it doesn't mean there aren't ways to limit your exposure to these lesser-known environmental risks, so keep reading to find out how!

Keep Reading Show Less

Women are the superheroes of our society, and just like in true superhero-fashion they carry out their work swiftly and efficiently without anyone realizing just how much they do to make sure everyone stays safe and life keeps running! They manage to juggle a variety of tasks everyday and their hard work is often under-appreciated. In lower income countries, women are the ones to grow and produce food, obtain water, cook, clean, bring up children, and take care of the household. However, even though women are awesome, they face unequal health risks compared to men and climate change will only make things worse. Read on to learn more about how climate change impacts women's health specifically.

How women are more vulnerable

Certain cultural and religiously based gender roles place women and girls at higher risk of developing health risks. For example, women suffer from higher rates of anemia and malnutrition compared to men globally (5). In countries with deep-rooted gender norms, women eat last after all the men and boys have been fed and consume the least amount of food (8). Women are usually also the first to sacrifice their own food to ensure their families have enough in periods of crisis (8). All of this contributes to calorie deficiency, chronic energy deficiency, and poor health in women, making them more vulnerable to climate catastrophes (13).

Women are also more economically vulnerable due to lower social and political status in countries with strong gender roles (12). They often don't share the same rights as their male counterparts when it comes to things like social status, land ownership, educational opportunities, and health outcomes as it relates to reproductive and sexual health (12). Since women are responsible for household food and water collection in these countries--both time consuming and physically demanding tasks--they often don't have the time or opportunity to earn an income or continue their education or participate in local governance (12,13). In general, women in these societies have lower average literacy and education levels and even if they are able to secure a job are still regarded as secondary income earners and are the first to be laid off (13). This economic and social insecurity highlights the fact that women are more likely to slip into and live in poverty, inhibiting their ability to adequately provide self-protection and improve their socioeconomic condition (13).

In many societies, women are also in charge of caregiving responsibilities, which could prevent them from leaving certain areas outside their immediate environment (12). This would impede their ability to mobilize in case of emergency or climate disaster (12). Women are also at higher risk of violence during and after disasters (12,13).

It's clear to see from this that women face a number of challenges due to just their gender identity and often suffer more than men from poverty, hunger, malnutrition, economic crises, violence, and disaster related problems (13). Climate change-related disasters have the potential to make things worse.

Climate Change will make things worse

Climate change can impact people's health through a variety of mechanisms—heat, poor air quality, extreme weather events, reduced water quality, decreased food security, and vector-borne diseases, just to name a few (5). Since women have distinct physiologic and health needs throughout their life cycle, especially during periods like pregnancy, this places them at a greater risk of climate change impacts and sensitivities (2,5).

Since climate change can lead to increased temperatures and sea level rise, this contributes to heat waves and saltwater intrusion in rural coastal areas (2, 6). Saltwater intrusion happens when seawater encroaches into fresh groundwater supplies and increases the salt content of people's drinking water (7). This is an issue because people can't drink salt water and it can't be used to irrigate crops, so this could contribute to water scarcity and food insecurity (7). In addition, both saltwater intrusion and heat waves increase the potential risk for pregnant women of developing preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, or delivering preterm (2,6).

Since women often eat last in their families in certain countries, climate-driven food insecurity would worsen their already limited nutritional intake (5,8). This would negatively impact women's health during menstruation, pregnancy, and nursing—all periods of time when women have increased nutritional needs physiologically (2,5). Since women produce around 60-80% of all food in low-income countries and are the main food producers and providers in the world, climate change-related agricultural issues and food scarcity wouldn't just be a health issue but an economic one as well (2,3,5). Women's livelihoods as smallholder farmers would be at risk from climate-related crop failure, which would increase their risk of falling into poverty (5).

During climate-related disasters like floods, storms, droughts, and heat waves, women suffer more mortality cases compared to men and are at a greater risk of experiencing physical, sexual, and domestic violence afterwards (2,5). This mortality difference is most striking when compared to women's socio-economic status in the country, since women have the worst mortality outcomes in countries where they have very low social, economic, and political status (10).

This combination of low social and economic status and socially constructed gender roles contribute to the increased climate change-related health risks women have compared to men (9,13). However, we can do things to change this.

The way forward

Thankfully, organizations are aware of this disparity and have been researching how to mitigate it. By empowering women to participate in decision making at all levels and providing proper access to information and education, we can help develop and improve women's livelihoods and create lasting social change (13). Increasing women's social and economic opportunities will allow them to not only develop more social network connections and have greater autonomy and independence, but also contribute to overall better health outcomes.

While both men and women will be vulnerable to changing environmental conditions, the drivers and effects of climate change are not gender neutral (3). To help address this, women should be included at all levels of decision making so as to contribute to the process of assessing vulnerabilities and capacities and promoting equality (2,5,13).



Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 9 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

Keep Reading Show Less
We always appreciate a reminder of how important our health is and that small steps towards health can make a huge difference 💫! What do you do to #findyourhealth ? Let us know in the comments below 👇⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ ⠀ ⠀
Let's spend some time today being grateful for all the women in our lives who help us be healthy and happy. Tag that special someone whose support you couldn't do without!⁣ ⁣ #repost 📷 @recipesforselflove⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣
These tampons have good reviews and are made without fragrances, dyes, chlorine, and pesticides. Most of these brands have tampons in several flow strengths and with and without applicators. There's also pads and liners too if you're feeling like you want something different. Give organic a try and find out what will work best for you, your style, and your flow.⁣ ⁣ a) Bon b) Cora c) The Honest Company d) L. e) Lola f) Natracare g) Organyc h) Seventh Generation i) Sustain⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣
Want an easy way to live healthier?
Sign up for our newsletter! Curated environmental health news delivered to your inbox every three weeks.
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.