Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Science

Four Environmental Scientists Who Changed Our Understanding Of The World

Women have made major contributions to scientific research and to swing the spotlight back onto global environmental issues. The four women we feature here spent their lifetime exploring and documenting the planet with the goal to raise awareness about the importance of fighting for global environmental preservation.

This article was published in The Beam #8— Subscribe now for more on the topic.

Jane Goodall, Primatologist

When Jane Goodall entered the forest of Gombe for the first time, the world knew very little about chimpanzees. Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination for wildlife, she braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives. She took an unorthodox approach in her field research, immersing herself in their habitat and their lives to experience their complex society as a neighbor rather than a distant observer, and coming to understand them not only as a species, but also as individuals with emotions and long-term bonds.

Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools is considered one of the greatest achievements of 20th century scholarship. Through more than 50 years of groundbreaking work, Dr. Jane Goodall has shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction and redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment.

Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

Sylvia Earle speaks of our oceans with wonder and amazement. She has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater — exploring, documenting, learning and raising awareness about ‘the blue heart of the planet’. Earle has led more than 80 expeditions in the ocean and she was the captain of the first all-female team to live underwater in 1970. She has done pioneering research on algae, probed the ecology of coral reefs, and tracked marine mammals.

In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the seafloor at a lower depth than any living human being before or since. In the so-called Jim suit, a pressurized one-atmosphere garment, she was carried by a submersible to the depth of 1,250 feet below the ocean’s surface off of the island of Oahu. Today, she’s lobbying to establish a global network of marine protected areas.

Biruté Mary Galdikas, Conservationist

Biruté Mary Galdikas was the first to document the long orangutan birth interval which averaged 7.7 years at Tanjung Puting. She observed flanged adult males in combat, consortships and even wild orangutans giving birth. For four decades, Galdikas has studied and worked closely with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat, and has always been concerned with their conservation. Over the years, the rehabilitation program she first set up in Kalimantan led to the release of over 450 wild born ex-captive orangutans into the wild.

Today, the situation facing wild orangutans is far more complicated than when Galdikas first began her studies. As a result of poaching and habitat destruction, viable orangutan populations are on the edge of extinction and could be gone within the next 20 years. Biruté Mary Galdikas continues to work to save orangutans and forests, and to bring orangutans and their plight to the attention of the world.

Nancy Knowlton, Coral Reef Biologist

Nancy Knowlton’s research interests lie in determining the biodiversity of coral reefs and in protecting these fragile habitats. Her work has taken her across the tropics, from the Caribbean to the Cape Verde Islands, and from the Red Sea to the remote reefs of the Central Pacific. The Census of Marine Life project, of which Knowlton is a partner, is striving to find standardized and easily automated methods to take a global census of the biodiversity of coral reefs and results so far suggest the diversity is truly enormous.

Knowlton’s current research uses state-of-the-art genetic methods combined with globally standardized sampling to explore the hidden diversity that has been ignored by traditional approaches. And this is a race against time as increasing ocean temperatures and acidification are devastating coral reefs around the world.

By The Beam Editor-in-Chief Anne-Sophie Garrigou.

Subscribe to The Beam for more on the topic.

Read more from The Beam.

 
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
 

Written By

The Beam Magazine is an independent climate solutions and climate action magazine. It tells about the most exciting solutions, makes a concrete contribution to eliminating climate injustices and preserving this planet for all of us in its diversity and beauty. Our cross-country team of editors works with a network of 150 local journalists in 50 countries talking to change makers and communities. THE BEAM is published in Berlin and distributed in nearly 1,000 publicly accessible locations, to companies, organizations and individuals in 40 countries across the world powered by FairPlanet.

Comments

You May Also Like

Agriculture

To build sustainable food systems, women need to be formally represented in the process. Too often, responses to the global food crisis reinforce an...

Clean Transport

Buick just released their new ad campaign, which features some creative marketing to convey a vision for future female Buick ownership. However, innovative AI...

Clean Transport

There are a whole lot of reasons why women don't envision themselves driving an EV. Automakers say they want to diversify their audience, but...

Clean Transport

Technology advances are breaking all kinds of patterns. One notable improvement is more that women are to be found in automotive workplaces in India,...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.