When it comes to major issues that are currently facing our planet, women have been stepping up to the plate. With climate change already reshaping the world in negative ways, now is the time to take a stand and defend the precious resources and planet we call home. Luckily, Maliha Abidi, a Pakistani-American artist and author has teamed up with Lonely Whale (the organization that spearheaded the global Strawless Ocean movement) to showcase six diverse women of different ages who are in unique fields that are advocating for climate action. Abidi's stunning portraits celebrate these inspiring women who are making a difference in their community and across the globe.
"It was really about how do we identify women who are on the front lines of a lot of this work, and really make sure that what they're going through is heard and understood and that the ways folks can get involved is then meaningful for them."
"The goal of this collaboration was to uplift voices that are otherwise not as loudly heard," Emy Kane, senior director of digital marketing and communications at Lonely Whale, told POPSUGAR. While there is room for — and a need for — every person in the fight for climate justice, these six women were chosen to be highlighted due in part to the fact that they are not yet as well known as other activists. Putting these women at the forefront of the collaboration shines light on those who are doing work in their community, no matter how big or small their efforts may seem. "It was really about how do we identify women who are on the front lines of a lot of this work, and really make sure that what they're going through is heard and understood and that the ways folks can get involved is then meaningful for them," Kane said.
Aside from the different countries, backgrounds, and identities of these women, Abidi and Lonely Whale wanted to underline the importance of having an intergenerational approach when it comes to climate justice. "This intergenerational approach is something we've seen, and research has shown, [that] really helps move climate actions forward more quickly," Kane said. From Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, who has been fighting for justice for decades, to 13-year-old Ridhima Pandey, who is one of India's youngest environmental activists, there's no age limit for those who can stand up to climate change.
"When you say 'climate change' or 'climate justice' or 'environmental activism,' it's not just one story and it's not just one issue you're trying to tackle — there are so many different avenues within the climate-justice issue we all need to contribute to to make a difference."
"When you say 'climate change' or 'climate justice' or 'environmental activism,' it's not just one story and it's not just one issue you're trying to tackle," Abidi told POPSUGAR. "There are so many different avenues within the climate-justice issue we all need to contribute to to make a difference." And these women are doing just that. The six women who are highlighted in Abidi's work — Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, Sharon Lavigne, Ridhima Pandey, Vanessa Nakate, Xiye Bastida, and Helena Gualinga — have inspiring backgrounds, stories, and plans that are on track to change the future. They are advocating for climate justice in everything they do, thus inspiring others to be more aware, proactive, and gentle toward the planet.
"When people think about climate change, they think that the impacts are somewhere far away and that it's not going to impact you, but whatever is going to happen to our planet is going to impact us, and it is already impacting us and we need to keep in mind that climate change is not just an issue of weather — like the forest fires or hurricanes or tsunamis — but it's a human-rights issue as well," Abidi said. "And within human rights, it's a race issue as well, it's a gender issue, it's a class issue. I think that's something a lot of people don't understand, and if people start thinking from that angle, everyone will be a contributor."
Taking care of the planet is not only essential, it's crucial. These six women have put nature and the well-being of others first, and their work is just a fraction of what it takes to achieve the justice the Earth deserves. Keep reading to see the unstoppable women who are making a change toward climate justice.