Women leaders from all over the world are showing us the way to a more sustainable world. Author/photographer Paola Gianturco and her 14-year-old granddaughter, Avery Sangster are showcasing these women in their new book: Cool: Women Leaders Reversing Global Warming.
At our May 15 GaGa Sisterhood meeting, Paola shared some of the women leaders’ stories featured in her book. She also explained how to create your own Family Climate Action Plan.
She and Avery began thinking about this book before the Pandemic. They noticed that although everyone is aware of fires, droughts, floods, and the unbearable heat caused by global warming, many people still avoid taking action to stop the climate crisis. For so many, the subject seems too big for one person to make a difference or too scientific and complicated to understand.
Their dream for the book is that the women’s stories will demystify global warming and inspire readers to take action to cool the earth. She wanted to focus on women because too often women’s stories go untold. Research shows that women are better at improving the environment. It’s true for countries, companies, boards, and investment firms led by women. Women’s climate actions qualify them as role models for all of us.
Women Leaders’ Stories
Imagine your company is counting on you to invent sustainably-sourced plastics to replace the petroleum-based plastics they’ve relied on for 60 years. Nelleke van der Puil, a chemical engineer and VP of materials at LEGO’s corporate headquarters in Denmark is leading the challenge to make its products 100% sustainable by 2030.
“Doing something good for the planet is important to me,” she said. In 2018, LEGO introduced a new product made from sugarcane-based plastics. The set was called “plants from plants” and included 80 different trees and shrubs.
In Tanzania, the Solar Sisters are putting clean power in the hands of the people. This non-profit recruits, train, and supports women entrepreneurs to build businesses that bring clean energy to their communities. Their most popular product is a portable table lamp that runs off a solar panel instead of using kerosene, coal, or candles. They also sell telephone chargers, home lighting, and clean cookstoves that operate on a solar charger that can be installed outside or on the roof.
Mangrove trees sequester five times more carbon dioxide than typical tropical trees in the Amazon rainforest. These trees not only absorb carbon dioxide but also bury it in the soil. A non-profit women-led community called Sudeesa organizes 15,000 women along the Sri Lankan coast to grow and plant mangrove seedlings in their backyards. Every year they sow 1.5 million seedlings in Sri Lankan coastal lagoons. They also monitor the mangrove forests and report people like shrimp farmers who cut down the trees and use the land for other purposes.
Clover Moore is the longest-serving Mayor of Sydney, Australia’s 179-year history. Since being elected in 2004, she has overseen the planting of 13,000 street trees, the installation of 4,000 solar rooftop panels, and the converting of street lights to LEDs. Moore has advocated for expanding public transport using hybrid and electric vehicles and added bike lanes to fight climate change. In 2011, Sydney was the first Australian city to be certified carbon neutral. Sydney is committed to reducing emissions by 70% by 2030 and belongs to C40 Cities, a network of mayors from 100 world-leading cities that share knowledge to confront climate change.
About the Book
Every chapter in the book ends with ideas from the leaders suggesting what readers can do to fight global warming. Each list of ideas is connected to the project website via a QR code which gives details on actions to take. You can also find action steps and suggestions on the website by clicking on the ACT tab.
Paola and Avery were inspired to create a climate action plan for their book.
- They offset their travel miles by donating trees to EarthDay.org’s Canopy project.
- They asked their publisher to print their book with linseed oil ink and paper certified by the Forest Steward Council which is sustainably produced.
- Avery designed their business cards and had them printed at moo.com on paper made from recycled cotton t-shirts.
- They’ve arranged to have a tree planted for every book that’s sold.
- 100% of author royalties will go to the Women’s Earth Alliance to provide seed funding for women around the globe who are starting businesses and non-profits that will help reverse global warming
Create Your Own Family Climate Action Plan
Paola hopes you will call a family meeting and create your own family climate action plan with multiple strategies. More than half of young people are afraid of the future because of climate change. Fear that is converted into conviction is unstoppable by using less carbon, gas, and oil.
- Start by quantifying your family’s carbon footprint on the Nature Conservancy website
- Younger children can pledge to turn off the lights when they leave the room
- Older children can ask their cafeteria to serve more plant-based meals
- Parents and grandparents can install solar panels or buy an electric car or check out induction stoves; use heat pumps
- All registered voters can use their voice, vote, and money to support local, state, and federal elected officials who will reduce carbon dioxide emissions
- Read books about climate change to your grandchildren. Here are two books Paola recommends:
- “10 things I can do to help my world,” by Melanie Walsh, Candlewick Press, 2008, ages 3-7.
- “Imagine It: A handbook for a happier planet” by Laurie David and Heather Reisman, Rodale press, 2020 for teens
Action begets action. If we act, we’ll inspire others to act and create critical mass.
1 thought on “Create Your Family Climate Action Plan”
Wonderful ideas and recap, Donne!
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