Looking for creative ways to fight climate change that make a difference? Have I got the book for you!
COOL: Women Leaders Reversing Global Warming tells it all. It’s written by Paola Gianturco and Avery Sangste—but these aren’t your ordinary co-authors. Gianturco is 83 years old and an award-winning seven-time author. Sangster is Gianturco’s 14-year-old granddaughter. The two decided to take advantage of their widespread age difference and shared climate concerns to produce this book full of lively interviews, fun graphics, and great photographs to showcase the incredible work women are doing and inspire all of us to do more.
The result is the kind of book you can dip into anywhere and still come away being inspired. Here’s who you’ll meet when you do:
Two of Moms Clean Air Force’s very own leaders: Gabriela Rivera and Dominique Browning!
Gabriela Rivera was the Regional Field Manager and the founding leader of our EcoMadres program—connecting Latina mothers and elected officials to focus on their children. As Gaby says in COOL: “Many Latinos reside in communities that suffer the impacts of air pollution and climate change disproportionately. And their children have asthma as a result. They often miss school and have to go to the doctor… This complicates family life and sometimes puts paychecks at risk.” Gaby encourages Latino parents to tell their personal stories and meet with their members of Congress. She explains the EcoMadres program name: “It’s three words in one. ‘Eco’ represents the environment. ‘Madres’ represents mothers. And ‘comadres’ are co-parents or godmothers in the Latino community.” And what are the kids called? “EcoNiños.”
Moms Clean Air Force’s Dominique Browning certainly needs no introductions here. In COOL, she amplifies our message to protect children’s health by inviting readers to “cross the threshold into political engagement.” Meet with elected representatives, she urges, tell your own stories, and of course, vote.
Other notable women climate champions of the world included in COOL are:
Meagan Fallone, the CEO of Barefoot College International. The college identifies illiterate and semi-literate women around the world who have the potential to lead initiatives that reverse global warming. Barefoot College is working in 96 countries to train women as solar engineers (who they call “Solar Mamas”) and develop sustainable micro-enterprises.
Nelleke van der Puil, Vice President of Materials at LEGO. LEGO is developing plastic made from sugar cane instead of oil for the product Fortune magazine called the “Toy of the Century.” LEGO has offset 100% of the emissions its operations and suppliers create, der Puil said, and has aimed for packaging that is 100% sustainable by 2030. LEGO, which is based in Denmark, makes 4,000 different plastic shapes, as any parent with LEGO-loving kids can verify. The company is aiming to replace them all with plant-based products, and when they do, “You won’t be able to tell the difference,” der Puil swears.
Nina Smith, Founder and CEO of GoodWeave International. GoodWeave has rescued and educated 45,975 children who’d been forced into extreme labor and outright slavery. Working in Nepal, Afghanistan, and India, Smith extols the value of education as a key strategy to battle the climate crisis. Educated girls are able to earn an income and think about growing food sustainably, she says. They’re “better able to help their families and communities deal with climate change” too.
Sudeesa, a community cooperative in Sri Lanka, has mobilized 15,000 women to plant mangrove trees. These “miracle trees” sequester about five times more carbon dioxide than other tropical trees and provide a rich nursery for shrimp, crabs, fish, and other wildlife. Every year, the women of Sudeesa put 1.5 million mangrove seedlings in the dark silt at the end of a mangrove lagoon, then protect them from commercial shrimp farmers until they grow into what NASA says are “among the planet’s best carbon scrubbers.”
In addition to being fun and entertaining to read, COOL makes it easy to get more information on every project and woman highlighted by including a QR code in the “What You Can Do” recommendations at the end of each profile. The book is well organized into sections that include “Increasing Awareness,” “Inventing Solutions,” “Reducing Emissions,” and “Setting Policy.” In the final section, “Demanding Action,” Miranda Massie, founder and director of the Climate Museum in New York City, encourages readers to “Declare yourself.” She encourages readers to tell your elected representatives why voting for clean air for kids is important.
In acknowledging and celebrating the power women have to make a difference, Gianturco and Sangster repeat what Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement, previously declared: “Nations with greater female representation in positions of power have smaller climate footprints. Companies with women on their executive boards are more likely to invest in renewable energy and develop products that help solve the climate crisis. Women legislators vote for environmental protections almost twice as frequently as men, and women who lead investment firms are twice as likely to make investment decisions based on how companies treat their employees and the environment.”
Concludes author Sangster, “It’s a fact. If all of us do a few small things, we make a big impact. Actions like ours produce ripple effects that spread through our families, our friends, and our communities.”