Women and girls bear the brunt of climate change. According to the United Nations, women consist of 80 per cent of the population that are displaced by climate change. While the negative impact of the climate crisis affects everyone, those that are in vulnerable situations—in particular females in traditional roles as primary caregivers and providers of food and fuel—have to pay a heavier price, especially those that are proportionally more dependent on threatened natural resources.
To that end, women are the agents of change when it comes to leading the fight for global sustainability. Here, we highlight some of the most incredible female leaders featured on Tatler’s 2021 Asia’s Most Influential list who are making strides in the sustainability sphere. While these women are all in different fields and represent varying approaches when it comes to addressing climate change, they all have a common goal: a healthier future for the planet.
1. Cherrie Atilano, Philippines
“Eco over ego”—this is Cherrie Atilano’s mantra. Raised by a single mother, Atilano grew up on a sugarcane farm, where she developed her love for land. At the mere age of 12, the eco-advocate began teaching low-income farmers how to plant their own food.
In 2014, the empowering agricultural educator founded Agrea, an inclusive enterprise based in the island province of Marinduque in the Philippines that aims to build the One Island Economy, a replicable model for island economies with zero hunger, zero waste and zero insufficiencies. Agrea has made a name for itself as an inclusive and innovative agri-business. As founder and chief executive officer, Atilano was awarded the UN Global Compact Agriculture Business Excellence Award in 2017.
Even as the world came to a halt during the pandemic, Atilano never stopped her efforts to push for change in the green space. She has been pushing for green recovery with the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture. Under the project, the advocate launched a ‘Women Save Food’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the lack of prioritisation for women during crises; the initiative also launched a slew of programmes for women to create nutritional diets based on organic backyard vegetables.
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