High Alert Institute



Celebrating Women Leading Environmentalism on Global Recycling Day

by | Mar 16, 2023

Celebrating Women Leading Environmentalism on Global Recycling Day

Author: Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN

“At its core, the issue of a clean environment is a matter of public health.”
    – Gina McCarthy, Former Administrator of the U.S. EPA and Climate Change Expert

For more than half a century, women have played a significant role in protecting the environment and addressing climate change. This week marks the intersection of Women’s History Month and Global Recycling Day – an ideal opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women to recycling and environmentalism. Many female figures have championed these causes, which are foundational to the All Hazards, One Health, One Nature (AHOHN) Framework. Across 12 different organizations publishing a list of the Top Ten female advocates of environmentalism, the most commonly cited women are listed below:

  1. Jane Goodall – Environmentalist and Primatologist
  2. Sylvia Earle – Marine environmentalist
  3. Wangari Maathai – Environmentalist, Conservationist, and Social Justice Advocate
  4. Rachel Carson – Environmentalist and Author
  5. Vandana Shiva – Environmentalist and Defender of Biodiversity 
  6. Isatou Ceesay – Dubbed the “Queen of Recycling”
  7. May Boeve – Climate and Environmental Activist
  8. Marina Silva – Environmentalist and Amazon Rainforest Defender
  9. Gretha Thunberg – Climate Change Activist and Youth Environmentalism Leader
  10. Vanessa Nakate – Climate and Environmental Activist

Research shows that women are more concerned than men about the quality of the air that their families breathe and the water they drink. Women also are more likely to make long-term decisions that factor in the impact of their actions on future generations. This demonstrates an inclination towards sustainability, prioritizing the protection of their loved ones and surroundings over other factors, such as convenience or cost. This inclination has put women at the forefront of recycling and many other environmental efforts. Women also tend to be more involved in local government and community organizations, making them more likely to be involved in policy and decision-making related to recycling and other environmental issues. 

By recycling, individuals and communities can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and the number of resources used to produce new products. Promoting recycling and the other related ‘’Rs” – reduce, reuse, reclaim, repurpose, restore – are key aspects of environmental stewardship typically directed by women. They often are the first to recognize the impacts of human activities on their surroundings and the first to take action to reduce the consequences. With a long-term view of the environment and a wholistic approach to sustainability, women organize campaigns to encourage recycling and actively develop community-based recycling programs. 

Women are more likely to participate in household recycling. This activity requires some effort, including separating recyclables from non-recyclables, washing and cleaning items prior to recycling, and transporting articles to recycling centers or other pick-up locations. While men express interest in and support recycling, survey data shows that women are more likely to perform these tasks and prioritize recycling in their homes. Women are also more likely to teach their children and their neighbors about the importance of recycling and encourage them to participate in these efforts.

Community recycling programs are essential for reducing waste and conserving resources. These programs are often run by volunteers and require considerable effort and commitment. Women make up most of those who volunteer for these projects, encouraging others to participate and prioritizing such efforts in their communities. In addition, women are the most common participants in recycling events and campaigns, such as litter cleanups and electronic waste collection events. 

Beyond recycling advocacy and education, women remain key players in promoting and protecting the environment. Women are involved in the conservation of natural resources, the defense of wildlife, the campaign for sustainable development, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Professional organizations, such as WRISE (Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy), showcase and support the work done by women in the renewable energy fields. Increasing numbers of women are becoming involved in the architecture and construction of green buildings using sustainable materials designed to conserve energy and resources. And the impact of women on the development of green infrastructure, advancement of green transportation options, promotion of green businesses, and the development of green products has been instrumental.

While women vote for candidates across the political spectrum, data shows they are more likely to vote for political candidates who prioritize environmental issues. Support for environmentally-responsible policies and initiatives are crucial steps necessary towards addressing the issues of climate change, pollution, and waste reduction. Women continue to be the major supporters of such policies and initiatives by prioritizing environmental care and welfare in their communities and teaching this to their families.

Women have been and continue to be essential allies in the fight against environmental degradation. Their leadership in sustainability, participation in household and community recycling, and support for environmental policies and initiatives are crucial to the success of these efforts. As we face an uncertain future with the environment and climate change, we must encourage and empower women to continue to take active roles in environmental stewardship and work together to create a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.


About the Author:

Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN, is a nurse practitioner with decades of experience in pediatrics, hematology/oncology, regulatory affairs, software as medical device (SaMD) consulting, and disaster response. Allison is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the High Alert Institute. 

The High Alert Institute is a 501c3 not-for-profit educational public charity dedicated to providing disaster readiness education and resources to unserved and underserved communities, industries, and charitable organizations in an All Hazards, One Health, One Nature Framework. Learn more about the High Alert Institute at www.HighAlertInstitute.org

Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

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Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

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Lake Wales, FL 33898
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