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Category: Environment

Kim Knowlton: A Woman Making History

March 13, 2010

30 Women Making HistoryIn recognition of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month, Women’s Media Center is profiling 30 extraordinary women making history.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support WMC Exclusives — every dollar raised will go directly toward hiring women writers to comment on major news stories and report topics often neglected by the mainstream media. Will you contribute $30?
Click here to donate: or text WOMEN to 50555 to make a $10 donation. Kim Knowlton: A Woman Making History by Catherine Epstein I first became interested in Progressive Women's Voices alumna Kim Knowlton when I read her December Exclusive on how women – not just top researchers like herself, but those living in developing nations – can directly affect public perception and action on the environment. The piece was striking not just for acknowledging the influence of often unheard populations, but also because it highlighted a quality about the coverage of global warming that is extremely rare in the media: animals and plants are given more attention than humans. While climate change affects every being on the planet, Knowlton's point was that environmental advocates must highlight the human cost of global warming if they are to succeed in fighting it, and women provide some of the most valuable first-person accounts: "Women, who know how their villages work and how to make sustainable, long-term local change happen, can drive meaningful progress from the bottom up...Leadership from the top is essential, but there are also thousands of local opportunities to take swift action, so that we can thrive and remain secure in a globally warming future. So let’s move together. Our lives really do depend on united action." And as senior scientist with the Health and Environment Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), her research has a direct impact on the international understanding on the impact of climate change. I admire her use of this influence to pull attention toward stories and perspectives that are rarely told. On the most recent anniversary of 9/11, for example, Knowlton used the day's significance not for looking to the past but for examining the present and future: her NRDC blog for the day centered on the accelerated impact of global warming in India. This is what makes Knowlton so unique within – and invaluable to – the international conversation on climate change: she's willing to seek out and tell untold stories, and she's eloquent in her defense not just of consuming information but spreading it. As Knowlton says at the end of her most recent NRDC blog post on dengue fever, "Stay informed and stay tuned – because communication is the key."