Kendra Klein: Celebrating women in the environmental movement
Editor's note: This article and video first appeared on Friends of the Earth's Medium channel. Kendra was one of three women profiled.
Friends of the Earth is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the contributions and careers of several women on Friends of the Earth’s staff. We discussed their inspirations, interests, the importance of women in the environmental movement and each shared advice for the next generation looking to be a part of the movement.
Staff Scientist Kendra Klein
Next up is Staff Scientist Kendra Klein who supports our agroecology work. She has over 14 years of experience as a writer, researcher and environmental advocate. Her areas of expertise are environmental sustainability, environmental health and food and agriculture. She talks with us today about why she joined Friends of the Earth and the role of women in the environmental movement.
“I joined Friends of the Earth this January as Staff Scientist in agroecology and environmental health. You could say my journey to this position began in 2002 when I read Living Downstream by ecologist Sandra Steingraber. This “investigation of cancer and the environment” is the intellectual sequel to Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book on pesticides, Silent Spring. Like Steingraber, the experience of cancer in my family — my mother’s breast cancer at age 30 and recurrence at 48 — inspired me to learn about the intimate interconnections between the health of our bodies and that of the environment.
It is so often women who do the work of addressing threats to life, health and the environment based on their own experience with illness and that of their families. From pesticides and fracking to climate change, I see this intersection as a powerful platform from which to work for change. At Friends of the Earth, my work focuses on creating a healthy food and farming system — healthy for the land, for eaters, for farm workers and for communities. Organic farming is a huge part of the solution; it eliminates the toxic pesticides that Steingraber and Carson so eloquently and incisively warned us about,” Klein concluded.