Doing a lot with a little

I had a great trip out to Montana (except for the Chicago weather on the way home that delayed flights everywhere).

Women?s Voices for the Earth logoI’m excited to be working with Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), especially after my face-to-face meetings last week with its smart, passionate and hospitable staff.

This small, Montana-headquartered organization is developing a powerful voice at the intersection of the environmental and women’s health movements. WVE (say weave) is proving once again the power of citizen activism and that nonprofits don’t have to have enormous budgets to make an important difference. (Of course, they could do a lot more with a lot more $$$)

As a partner in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, they are pushing for removal of chemicals with known harms. WVE’s focus on nail polish and the nail salon industry includes the release of their report Glossed Over — which has focused the attention of legislators in states like California. Top nail polish manufacturer OPI Products, Inc. announced that it has begun removing toluene, a hazardous solvent, from their products, on the heels of an announcement last spring that it would remove dibutyl phthalate (DBP) from their products.

With the release of their report HouseholdHazards and subsequent media attention, women across the country are downloading information on safer choices and are signing up as part of WVE’s activist network to pressure manufacturers to get unregulated and harmful chemicals out of household cleaning products and in the meantime, to voluntarily label those products so that customers know exactly what they are buying. Hundreds of concerned individuals are offering to host “Green Cleaning Parties” to show their family and friends how to make inexpensive, effective and safe alternatives.

How did WVE do it? With a combination of dedicated and skillful women on their staff and board, good science, strong alliances, dogged advocacy, and smart use of the media, WVE’s been able to link the critical concerns and experiences of women to the growing public awareness about the health and environmental consequences of what we put into our homes and on and into our bodies.

I’m honored to be helping WVE think forward on building the financial resources and capacity that will continue to fuel their important work. If you’d like to learn more about their work, just click on Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Best, Gayle

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