Meet Annie Spiegelman, a Bay Area mom who blogs as "The Dirt Diva" on matters of love, gardening, and cultivating a healthy planet. Just in time for Mother's Day, Annie shares her interview with Rachel's Network Co-Director Laurie Syms on the evidence that women in Congress, regardless of party, support the environment at rates that outpace their male counterparts.
A Rachel's Network report entitled "When Women Lead: A Decade of Women's Environmental Voting Records in Congress," compares the environmental voting records of Congresswomen and Congressmen from the 107th through the 111th Congress. The conclusion: in both houses of Congress, whether red or blue, women are greener!
Here's Annie's personal account of a moving conversation:
How did a girl raised and hardened on the streets of New York City become a passionate environmentalist, geeky master gardener and full-fledged compost queen? I read Rachel Carson's bestseller, Silent Spring.
Overnight, I became a Rachel Carson groupie and went searching for my teammates. I found them at Rachel's Network, a nonprofit that builds productive alliances among women funders who care deeply about the environment and women's leadership. These impassioned leaders and agents of change have collected the latest statistics showing that women are uniquely positioned as environmental stewards and that women in policy-making positions will vote to protect the environment more than their male counterparts.
This is all swell, you may be thinking. We can stop worrying about clean water, safe food and the ubiquitous barrage of industrial and agricultural chemicals. But American women account for only 23 percent of state legislators and 17 percent of Congress, and the United States ranks 73rd in the world in gender parity in governance.
I contacted Laurie Syms, co-director of Rachel's Network, to ask how both women and men could earn some badly needed extra-credit points from Mother Earth.
And as you celebrate Mother's Day, consider the influence you could leverage by running for office yourself. Whether you're most moved by education issues, toxic chemicals, family-friendly workplaces, or health care for kids, there's no more effective way to effect lasting change than by setting the policy agenda yourself.
Don't get me wrong: breakfast in bed is dandy. But a seat at the decision-making table is invaluable!