Meet the Female Activists Leading the Charge in Advocating For the Environment

by | 3 Nov 2023

In a world in desperate need for environmental stewardship, these female activists are answering the call. By advocating for the environment, they are fighting the good fight for the preservation of our natural world. From Tech CEOs, documentary filmmakers, and everyone in between, each of these female environmentalists brings their unique expertise in the fight for a greener planet.

Alice Aedy

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Alice Aedy is a British documentary photographer and filmmaker who tells compelling stories of those deeply affected by the climate and refugee crises. She collaborates with the likes of TEDX, Vogue, The International Red Cross, and the U.N. In 2020, she co-founded Earthrise Studio, a digital media enterprise focused on climate communication, earning herself recognition on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Social Impact.

Shannon Guihan

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Shannon Guihan, the Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC), leads initiatives to address climate change and further the UN SDGs through MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences. She also launched TTC’s sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, which includes 11 measurable goals and supports the MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences program. Under Guihan, TTC became the world’s first tour operator to establish validated net-zero targets, implementing an internal Carbon Fund to support brands in reducing their carbon footprint.

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Leah Thomas

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As Leah Thomas started working in environmentalism, she noticed it neglected the perspective of marginalized communities. So, she became one of the first female activists to bridge these gaps, prompting environmentalists to support social justice movements like Black Lives Matter. In doing so, she created the ‘Intersectional Environmentalist‘, a platform and community focused on addressing the interconnected nature of environmental and social issues. She runs a blog on eco-living, and wrote the book “The Intersectional Environmentalist” to crystalize her unique perspective. Thomas is also an advisor for Daughters for Earth, which advocates for female environmentalists in the global effort against climate change.

Ezgi Barcenas

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Ezgi Barcenas, who sits on AB InBev’s senior leadership team, helped launch the 100+ Sustainability Accelerator, a global incubator program that helps solve supply chain sustainability challenges by supporting start-ups across several industries like water, agriculture, climate action, biodiversity, and more. 70 startups across nearly 30 countries have joined so far, and the program’s impact elevated even further in 2021 when Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, and Unilever joined in. Barcenas is also behind AB InBev’s 2025 Sustainability Goals and 2040 Net Zero plan, bringing colleagues together across different disciplines to produce an actionable roadmap. She is surely one of the most effective female activists in sustainability, proven by her 2022 Sustainability Trailblazer accolade at Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards.

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Esther An

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Esther An is adriving environmental force in Singapore’s real estate industry, setting a global standard in green construction and sustainability. She pioneered sustainability reporting in Singapore, she aligned CDL with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and established the CDL Future Value 2030 sustainability blueprint, integrating the company’s long-term ESG objectives with 10 SDGs.

Her advocacy about environmental awareness extends beyond CDL, as she advises on various international and local sustainability organizations, including serving on the World Green Building Council. An’s commitment is also highlighted by her creation of the Young CSR Leaders Award in collaboration with the Global Compact Network Singapore in 2011.

Dr. Jennifer Holmgren

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Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of carbon recycling company LanzaTech, is a key figure in advancing alternative aviation fuels over the last two decades. LanzaTech pioneered a unique process to convert carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into ethanol. They further transformed this ethanol into aviation fuel or polyethylene (plastic). Under Dr. Holmgren, LanzaTech is also developing the world’s first alternative jet fuel derived from industrial waste gases, with the first ever commercial flight using this sustainable fuel taking off in 2018. This is, of course, very welcome news for us in the travel industry, and makes Holmgren one of the most impactful female activists in travel today. LanzaTech’s main targets for recycling are industrial waste, “stranded” methane, waste forest biomass, and municipal solid waste.

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Katherine Hayhoe

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Katherine Hayhoe’s book Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World is one of the most important books about climate change you’ll ever read. This respected atmospheric scientist is a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor at Texas Tech University, and an Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law. She presently oversees scientific endeavors at The Nature Conservancy, while engaging diverse global audiences across the political spectrum to address climate change concerns. In 1997, she founded ATMOS Research, providing critical climate change insights to non-profit, industry, and government clients. Recognized for her leadership, she was listed among FORTUNE’s world’s greatest leaders in 2017.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

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Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a member of the Mbororo pastoralist people from Chad, is an influential advocate for indigenous communities affected by climate change. Her powerful presence at international forums highlights the challenges indigenous people face due to climate migration. She was chosen to represent civil society at the Paris Climate agreement signing in 2016, earned the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award, and is one of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals advocates. Ibrahim serves on influential committees such as the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, and was listed among Time Magazine’s 15 women making a difference in climate change in 2019.

From innovating jet fuel to championing marginalised voices affected by climate change, each of these female activists bring a unique perspective to the fight for a greener plant. With figures like these, we feel empowered and inspired to strive to do our very best. Read more about how, under leaders like Shannon Guihan, Insight Vacations and all our sister TTC brands Make Travel Matter®.

I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.