Each year, the Women In Green Forum Steering Committee chooses an environmental leader to receive the Women In Green Forum Trailblazer Award and the Care2 Impact Award. The awards recognize one individual for her outstanding impact on sustainability, environmental health, and women’s leadership.
Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016. While in this position, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014. Her efforts culminated in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub national governments, corporations, activists, financial institutions, communities of faith, think tanks, technology providers, NGOs, and parliamentarians jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this achievement, Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.
She is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Its goal is to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity.
Participant Media is the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant’s content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. Participant’s more than 75 films, including An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc., The Cove, Spotlight, and He Named Me Malala, have collectively earned 52 Academy Award® nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight.
Learn more about Participant Media here.
Dolores Huerta, President, The Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader, civil rights activist, and leading voice in the women's and environmental movements. Ms. Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became United Farm Workers (UFW). She founded and currently serves as the President and full-time volunteer for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, where the next generations of leaders are working across the state and nation.
Learn more about Dolores Huerta here.
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder & Director, Navdanya
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a highly regarded international leader and activist for sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and fair trade. She is also an advocate for local farmers and a champion for elevating the role of women in sustainability. As Founder of both the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun and Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources and to promote organic farming and fair trade, Dr. Shiva is a globally recognized sustainable farming advocate. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental ‘hero’ in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.
Learn more about Dr. Vandana Shiva here.
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Founder & Chair, The Sylvia Earle Alliance & Mission Blue
As Founder and Chair of The Sylvia Earle Alliance and the consequent global initiative, Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s work centers around exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. Dr. Earle’s primary area of focus is in developing a global network of areas on land and in the ocean to preserve biodiversity and provide services that aid in combatting accelerating climate change. Dr. Earle has been on the cutting edge of underwater exploration and led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970.
Learn more about Dr. Sylvia Earle here.
L. Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions
As President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and co-creator of the Natural Capitalism concept, L. Hunter Lovins works with businesses, governments and organizations to implement this profitable approach to developing sustainable businesses and communities. She has been at the cutting edge of environmental thinking for the past 30 years. Ms. Lovins is also co-author of ‘Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution,’ it’s sequel ‘The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save our Economic Ass’ as well as of eleven other books and dozens of papers focusing on sustainable development. Ms. Lovins has been recognized with the Mitchell Prize, the Right Livelihood Award, and the Lindbergh Award for Environment and Technology. In 2000, she was named a "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine, in 2009 a “Green Business Icon” by Newsweek, and in 2012 awarded the Rachel Carson Award by the Audubon Society. Ms. Lovins has briefed numerous heads of state, served as advisor to the energy minister of Afghanistan and is currently advising the Prime Minister of Bhutan on transforming the global economic paradigm away from gross national product to gross national happiness.
Learn more about L. Hunter Lovins here.
Alexandra Cousteau, National Geographic Emerging Explorer
As a respected environmental leader, Alexandra Cousteau builds upon the legacy of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In 2008, she founded Blue Legacy, a Washington, D.C.− based nonprofit dedicated to exploring how humans relate to our water-based planet. Through projects like the recent “Expedition Blue Planet: North America”, a 17,100 mile journey across North America, Ms. Cousteau combines traditional film and social media to engage global audiences online − showing how individuals and communities contribute to an interdependent global water system, and how they can work together to protect it. Among other accolades, Ms. Cousteau has been honored as an “Earth Trustee” by the UN and regularly delivers testimony on critical policy issues before the U.S. Congress.
Learn more about Alexandra Cousteau here.
The Youth Trailblazer Award recognizes the contributions of a young leader who has made an outstanding impact in the areas of climate change, sustainable development, and human rights. The Youth Trailblazer Award is presented in partnership with American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Nalleli Cobo, Community Leader, People Not Pozos
Nalleli Cobo’s community activism started in 2009 when, at the age of 9, she noticed that she was getting sick more often than seemed normal. It started with headaches, stomach pain, nosebleeds, and body spasms. Then the problems got worse – she developed asthma and heart palpitations. She also realized that others in her neighborhood were having similar health problems.
Ms. Cobo lived in an apartment complex in South L.A., across from an AllenCo’s oil drilling operations. She and her neighbors noticed strong smells coming from the oil well, and these fumes made walking or opening windows difficult during drilling times. Despite calling the city and local health agencies to report the problem, nothing was done to protect the health and safety of her community. That’s when Ms. Cobo and her neigbords decided to take action. She helped organize her neighbors to create a grassroots campaign called People Not Pozos (translation: People Not Wells).
Through grassroots activism, Ms. Cobo strengthened her community’s voice while fighting the uphill battle against the oil company poisoning their neighborhood. As a result her their efforts, AllenCo temporarily closed in Nov 2013. Despite this being a great victory, Ms. Cobo continues to work with her community to close the plant permanently.
Zola Berger-Schmitz, Environmental Youth Activist and Student, Emory University
Los Angeles native Zola Berger-Schmitz began her environmental advocacy work with the organization Heal the Bay at the age of 12, and received a Super-Healer Lifetime Achievement Award from Heal the Bay soon thereafter. Heal the Bay also helped inspire her to produce and direct "What If," a short film about preserving the ocean for future generations. She has been giving environmental advocacy speeches at international, national and community events, including legislative hearings, TEDx, and youth summits. She was a youth delegate at the United Nations 2016 Climate Talks and has authored blogs and articles about youth environmental advocacy. In 2016, she became one of the first students in Georgia history to testify in front of the statewide Public Service Commission and recently helped co-found a Georgia environmental advocacy college coalition.
Maxine Jimenez, Senior Action Fellow, Alliance for Climate Education
Maxine Jimenez was born in San Pablo City in the Philippines. At the age of 8, she moved to Highland Park in Northeast Los Angeles. Ms. Jimenez created the School Alliance Committee in her local neighborhood council to connect her school with the surrounding community. Ms. Jimenez organized community clean-ups, tree care events, tree adoptions, and a green forum, and also lobbied for the environment at the California State Capitol and attended a 3-day Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Iowa led by Al Gore. Towards the end of her high school career, she became a part of the nonprofit organization Young People For in order to continue her work as an activist. In the near future Ms. Jimenez is looking forward to engaging younger students to become active voices regarding environmental issues, and one of her long-term goals is to become an expert in creating easier ways to live sustainable lifestyles in urban settings.
Jordan Howard, Social Good Strategist, Dell
Since her teen years, Jordan Howard has dedicated her time and energy working to ensure that young people have a seat at the table. At the age of 23, Ms. Howard has developed strategies and advises brands on innovative ways to educate, engage, and activate youth to solve global issues. Alliance for Climate Education, United Nations Foundation, The U.S. State Department, Hulu and Dell are some of the brands she has partnered with over the years. Whether it’s developing curriculum to teach the science of climate change, creating STEM programs for teen girls and working with city government to engage youth, Ms. Howard has done it. Ebony Magazine named her Ebony’s Power 100, as one of the most influential African Americans. Ms. Howard has been featured as an expert in the New York Times, ABC, NBC, FOX, GOOD, and the book Girls Gone Green. From Opening events for Hillary Clinton to teaching pre-teens across India, Ms. Howard’s journey to spark change among millennials around the world is only beginning.
Learn more about Jordan Howard here.
Esperanza Garcia, Founder, Cleantech Impact
Esperanza Garcia has launched three successful organizations focusing on sustainable development and climate change education. She is Co-Founder of the International Youth Council, which has provided educational resources and leadership opportunities to thousands of young global leaders, Founding President of the Columbia University Coalition for Sustainable Development, and Founder of the Philippine Youth Climate Movement, which raises climate change awareness in Philippine schools to over 50,000 students. In addition to spearheading these international development groups, Ms. Garcia served as a negotiator and official delegate of the Philippines at the UN Climate Change Conference. She has worked as a consultant for South-South News (SSN), the Philippine Senate, and the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which organizes the Youth Assembly at the United Nations.
Learn more about Esperanza Garcia here.
Aarushi Walia, Southern California Climate Action Fellow, Alliance for Climate Education
The 2013 Youth Trailblazer award went to Aarushi Walia, Southern California Climate Action Fellow for the Alliance for Climate Eduction (ACE). She helped her school save $40,000 by simply getting them into saving energy.
Mahuya Barua, ACE Youth Representative, Los Angeles
Mahuya Barua participates in the youth environmental movement by informing fellow students about climate change and taking on carbon-cutting projects as the head of her school's environmental club. She successfully guided her peers through both of ACE's Biggest Loser: Energy Competitions, by reducing carbon emissions, saving money on energy costs, and encouraging energy-efficient behavior on campus. She also mentored students across Southern California who were competing in the contest via regional peer-to-peer conference calls, which she helped organize and facilitate. Ms. Barua was recognized as a CBS Eco Media Earth Month Hero, and won 3rd place in Global Green USA's Citizen Entrepreneur Contest, for which she was given a Youth Ambassador position, and a grant for $1,000 to help enact a ban on harmful Styrofoam trays in her school cafeteria. Ms. Barua's journey of being an environmental leader has only just begun and it is a role she hopes to continue throughout her life.