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12 women environmentalists we love

Geste - Rendez hommage aux femmes pour l'environnement

For International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite women environmentalists.

Scientists and community activists...

Fashion designers and business women...

If you like them as much as we do, share this page on Facebook.

Marie-Eve Arbour (pictured)

Sharing information

In 2011, Marie-Eve Arbour organized an environmentally responsible tour of the province in a revamped trailer with solar-powered lighting and a simple, but effective, rainwater recovery system (an open air bucket) to create a directory of citizen-led environmental initiatives,

Catherine Potvin

Science for empowerment

This biology professor at McGill University is the first woman to have been awarded the Miroslaw Romanowski Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for scientific work on environmental problems. Her current work helps indigenous peoples in Panama lessen the effects of climate change.

Edith Smeesters

The myth of the perfect lawn

This Belgian-trained biologist and author is a longtime leader in Quebec’s organic lawn care movement. She founded Nature-Action Québec and the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP), and was instrumental in the creation of Quebec’s groundbreaking Pesticides Management Code. If you have a chance to hear her speak, we highly recommend it.

Johanne Gélinas

Sustainability is everybody’s business

Johanne Gélinas heads the Sustainable Development and GHG Management practice at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, and is chair of the Board of Directors at Recyc-Québec. She has more that 25 years of experience promoting sustainability. She was Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and commissioner with Quebec’s environmental protection agency, Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).

Julie Guicheteau

The social costs of over-reliance on cars

This climate change engineer for the city of Montreal and former environmental analyst for the Sociéte de transport de Montréal (STM) recently co-authored a book on sustainability mobility. It details the “consequences of our love affair with the automobile,” and proposes solutions.



K develops multidisciplinary projects and events that promote harmony with nature, including A Day without Brand-new Clothes, the Earth Evening benefit gala, and the collaboration 1000 Days for the Planet/Base Camp.

Laure Waridel

Fair trade pioneer

Laure Waridel, co-founder of Equiterre and an eco-sociologist specializing in international development and the environment, helped pioneer fair trade and responsible consumption in Quebec. In 2012, she was made a member of the Order of Canada.

Lis Suarez-Visbal

Ethical fashion pathway out of poverty

This Ashoka fellow is the founder of FEM International. She works with immigrant women and entrepreneurs in the female-dominated textile and fashion industry in Montreal and around the world to promote ethical fashion as a means to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development.

Mariouche Gagné

Sustainable chic

Mariouche Gagné’s fashion label Harricana recycles old furs and silk into chic new pieces. This has helped spare the lives of more than 800,000 animals so far.

Monique Laberge

Watching out for water

This chair of the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux en environment (RNCREQ) has been involved for more than 15 years in the protection of the environment, in particular, the Saguenay River Basin.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Speaking up for the North

This Quebec-born Canadian Inuit activist and Officer of the Order of Canada works on environmental issues affecting Inuit communities, notably the problem of persistent organic pollutants, which are found at disturbingly high levels in the North.

Sylvie Guilbault

Friend of the mountain

Sylvie Guilbault heads Les amis de la montagne, a Montreal non-profit that works tirelessly for the protection and enhancement of the city's beloved Mount Royal.

Photo credit: Alex Cv