Women Pioneers for the Environment / Edition 1

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As the torchbearers of environmental activism, women from around the world have created profound changes that are helping to ensure a healthier planet for all living things. Whether it is Judi Bari, who was crippled by a car bomb because of her efforts to save California's ancient redwood forests; Dai Qing, who was imprisoned for her opposition to an environmentally destructive dam on China's Yangtze River; or Dr. Tatynana Artyomkina, who defied KGB threats and exposed health and environmental risks in the Soviet Union, women have put their lives on the line and persevered against daunting odds to restore and protect the environment.

Mary Joy Breton provides absorbing sketches of these and other women activists in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, and Asia. Breton interweaves her accounts with narrative on the ecological hazards that drove these women to spearhead various environmental campaigns, examining why and how they challenged, and often defeated, the power structures of government and industry.

Although these remarkable women come from various geographical regions and represent a wide range of economic, ethnic, and political backgrounds, they share insights, values, and a particular sensitivity to the Earth that led them to change the course of history. Their courageous efforts illuminate the crucial role of women in the environmental movement, and provide inspiration for a new generation of activists.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Breton effectively profiles 42 19th- and 20th-century women from around the world who broke with traditional subservient roles as housewives and mothers and became dynamic environmental activists. A few of her subjects worked behind the scenes, such as Harriet Hemenway, a founder of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Katharine Ordway, preserver of tallgrass prairies. Most, however, have been outspoken and highly visible: Lois Gibbs mobilized the Love Canal Homeowners' Association; Cathy Hinds fought for the cleanup of a toxic-waste dump site in Maine; Michiko Ishimuri crusaded for the victims of methyl mercury near Minamata Bay in Japan; Hazel Henderson, an authority on global economics and human development issues, was labeled by corporate CEOs the "most dangerous woman in America." Some--such as Judi Bari, crippled by a car bomb while fighting to save the California redwood forests, and Dai Qing, imprisoned for her opposition to the Three Gorges Dam in China--have risked their lives. Breton, a former vice-president of the National Audubon Society, has created stirring portraits that describe the ecological problems that motivated these women, show how they challenged male-dominated power structures and emphasize the special insights they brought as women to the issues. They are inspirations for anyone bucking the odds to protect the environment. Photos. Editors, Scott Brassart and John Weingartner. Sept.
Library Journal
Breton, a conservationist and former vice president and director of the President's Office of the National Audubon Society, believes that women's natural instinct to nurture is exemplified by the number of women who have taken leadership roles to protect or restore our environment, many at terrible risk to themselves. To illustrate her point, she has gathered sketches of over 40 women environmentalists, trying to balance her selection both geographically and ethnically. Some of the environmental issues included are dealing with toxic industrial waste, saving waterways and natural habitats, and preserving native lifestyles. Breton has done extensive research, including personal communications with many of her subjects, in order to tell each woman's inspiring story. She focuses primarily on the environmental issue, providing only limited biographical information. Recommended for both environmental and women's studies collections.--Linda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., IL
School Library Journal
YA-An introduction to women who struggled to maintain and improve the environment during the last 300 years. Each one is briefly profiled in a larger chapter of similar activists. An effort is made to show the political and social context in which each individual had to work. Amrita Devi, for instance, clung to a tree to prevent a maharajah's soldiers from destroying a sacred forest. She was axed to death along with her three daughters and 350 other protesters before the day ended. Rachel Carson and her present-day counterpart, Theo Colborn, are given full treatment, as are Lois Gibbs and Bella Abzug. Breton also describes Tatyana Artyomkina's quest to educate the Russian people in eco-issues and Dai Qing's efforts to prevent the building of an ecologically destructive dam in China. A readable book that introduces important issues.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555534264
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 3/9/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

MARY JOY BRETON is a lifelong conservationist who served for sixteen years with the National Audubon Society as a vice president and the Director of the President’s Office. She has worked in the governor of Delaware’s office as well as the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. She has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles for such publications as Outdoors West and Working Woman. She lives in Washington, Delaware.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Tree Huggers and Tree Planters: Amrita Devi, Wangari Maathai, Colleen McCrory, Judi Bari, Harriet Bullitt, Kathryn Fuller 3
Ch. 2 First Lady of Environmental Science: Ellen Swallow 47
Ch. 3 Early Municipal Housekeepers: Caroline Bartlett, Mary Eliza McDowell 64
Ch. 4 Whistle-Blowers under Fire: Rachel Carson, Theo Colborn, Mary Sinclair, Dai Qing 72
Ch. 5 The Tide of Women's Rage: Emma Must, JoAnn Tall, Joan Martin-Brown 102
Ch. 6 "Those Know-Nothing Housewives": Lois Gibbs, Cathy Hinds, Michiko Ishimuri 116
Ch. 7 Combatting Death by Ecocide: Tatyana Artyomkina, Maria Cherkasova, Maria Guminska 142
Ch. 8 Perseverance and Patience Pay Off: Carol Browner, Janet Gibson, Polly Dyer, Pat Waak 161
Ch. 9 Casting New Models: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hazel Henderson, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Florence Wambugu, Petra Kelly, Hazel Wolf 186
Ch. 10 Thinking Like a River: Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Marjorie Carr, Christine Jean 237
Ch. 11 Women and Wildlife: Harriet Hemenway, Margaret Murie, Sarah James, Sylvia Earle, Katharine Ordway 255
Ch. 12 Women and International Forums: Bella Abzug 280
Afterword 285
Notes 287
Select Bibliography 305
Index 311
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2005

    Uneven, untrue, undone

    Breton's hero worship gets in the way of searching out the facts. The books most glaring error comes to light in the section devoted to the late Judi Bari. The author uncritically gives a pass to Bari's own overinflated version of her own importance. Breton covers not a whit about the fact that Bari played out a role as a 'non-violent' forest activist while plotting the murder of her ex-husband. Poor scholarship on Breton's part.

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