International Women’s Month Q&A series

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I am a journalist and author based in San Francisco. My work has taken me inside San Quentin prison and to farthest Afghanistan. The last four years I have spent writing books to inspire young people to lead and take up whatever cause moves them. The great outdoors is my religion, and I love my daily runs in the woods with ten women I’ve been meeting in the morning for two decades. 

Can you share with us the inspiration behind your latest book, Girls Who Green the World?

As often happens, this book began with my kids. I have two teens and a 22-year-old, and they are sad, cynical, and angry about climate change. They have taught me much of what I know about the environmental movement, like to watch out for greenwashing and the sneaky attempt by oil companies to blame individuals for climate change by asking us to measure our carbon footprint. Two are vegetarians for the planet, one has basically renounced driving, and they all consider this the most important issue of their time, as they should.

Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet available where books are sold on April 5th.

Where can our audience find your book? 

The book is available at Amazon, Bookshop, B&N, Indiebound, Target, and other retailers. Here’s a link which has all those links!

I also recommend shopping at your local indie bookstore for it because shopping local is so important for climate, community, and more. 

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way, and how have you overcome them?

Journalism is full of rejection. If you saw my hard drive, it’s like a graveyard of half-baked, abandoned, or rejected projects. In order to sell stories and books, I have to do a tremendous amount of leg work, much of which often goes nowhere. I need to remind myself that the false starts are part of the job and not wasted time. In my writing community in San Francisco called the Writer’s Grotto, a group of writers commit each January to get 50 rejections in the coming year. The point is that aiming high means a high rejection rate, and that is OK. Better to take risks because otherwise there is no chance for winning the project.

What message do you have for today’s youth who want to take action on climate change?

Young people are the heart of the environmental movement. Your future is at stake, and you are listened to more than the adults, even. A friend of mine with a new book says to do “one green thing,” even if it’s small, every day, and make that a practice. Don’t allow yourself to feel that all is hopeless. Instead, take baby steps. Canvas for climate-friendly candidates and help get them elected. Convince your parents to get an electric car for the next car. Did you know that studies found that teen girls are the most effective at convincing parents to make “green” changes and embrace climate science? Eat less meat and minimize the food you waste. If all Americans cut one burger from their diet each week, that would be like taking 10 million cars off the road for one year. So do that! Then pitch your school cafeteria or dining hall to join “Meatless Monday”? Join a local chapter of the Sunrise Movement. They are gaining huge traction and creating loud noise that leads to actions.

For your book, you traversed the United States to find revolutionary women working on innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. What were some of your favorite solutions?

It is so hard to choose. That is like asking a mom to pick her favorite kid! 

I’m moved by each and every one of the 34 women in the book. I do think the duo at Lillian Augusta making braids for black women out of invasive weeds instead of plastic is incredibly clever. Mary Anne Hitt, who lives in coal country, used good old, unsexy grassroots organizing to close down (or prevent the opening of) 339 coal-fired power plants. That is such inspiring and important work and reminds us that there is no magic that is going to reverse climate change. The power is in people taking brave steps to make change.

Why do we need more women in leadership roles?

In 2019, Forbes put out one of their famous “lists” titled “America’s Most Innovative Leaders.” They listed 99 men and one woman. That is unacceptable. There are far too few women CEOs, entrepreneurs, engineers, and so much more. This is due to age-old bias largely and we can’t afford to lose out on all their big brains.


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