Incredible Women Leading the Charge to protect planet ocean

Surfers Against Sewage releases list of the Top Earth Defenders to Celebrate International Women’s Day

  • Surfers Against Sewage announce top Women Earth Defenders to celebrate International Women’s Day.
  • Leading Journalist and environmental campaigners Lucy Siegle curates unique list of leaders with Surfers Against Sewage.
  • Plastic pollution campaigners, climate activists and sports leaders feature in list of 18 inspirational change-makers.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) today announces a special selection of remarkable women leading the charge to protect our planet, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The Women Earth Defenders list shines a spotlight on incredible individuals and luminaries in environmental campaigning, ocean advocacy, social justice, art, science, sport and politics. Among the 18 women featured are: pop star turned climate change activist Ellie Goulding, TV presenter and plastic pollution campaigner Liz Bonnin, Head of World Surf League Sophie Goldschmidt, Founder of the Arctic Basecamp at Davos Gail Whiteman and plastics campaigner Nimco Ali.

The Women Earth Defenders was curated by Lucy Siegle, one of the UK’s leading environmental campaigners and journalists. The list brings together a diverse range of campaigners and campaigns, connected by the core theme of environmentalism and the ocean. Interviews will be featured in a special International Women’s Day edition of SAS magazine, Pipeline, in which these leaders discuss their motivations, hopes and dreams for our oceans and all women.

“The incredible women earth defenders that we list are acting on behalf of all of humanity. From a wide range of disciplines and experiences, they show that women are driving positive change to safeguard the planet. But we also know that around the world, women are disproportionately affected by climate change. If we fail to listen and prioritise women – especially women small holders who produce most of the world’s food – we lose the chance to address run away climate change. This list and this special issue, is all about seizing that opportunity!” – Lucy Siegle

In addition to announcing the Women Earth Defenders, this edition of Pipeline magazine features content solely from female contributors and celebrates the women involved with the organisation at all levels.

“I think what’s happening to our environment is a direct result of our rampant consumerism, our obsession with economic growth and unfortunately, the continued lack of political will to regulate the industries to blame, even as the planet bows so severely under so much pressure. 

I want to play a part in enforcing change where it matters most. I’ve spent many years thinking that unless 

big industry and world leaders do something about this, we can’t change the world. But actually I’m learning that change will only come if we continue to adopt individual behavioural changes and relentlessly make our voices heard. 

Yet the more I learn, the more I realise that individuals have more power than I first thought. I would like to think that because plastics is a tangible issue, perhaps this is the call to arms that we all needed to come together and fundamentally change our relationship with the planet, to step up and take proper custodianship of this beautiful planet of ours and say “No more.” – BBC presenter and plastic campaigner Liz Bonnin

The Full List of Women Earth Defenders is:

  • Ellie Goulding, Popstar turned Climate Change Activist
  • Nimco Ali, FGM & Environmental Campaigner, Founder of Daughters of Eve (FGM charity)
  • Yelda Ali and Keshia Hannam, founders The Camel Assembly (international community of creative female leaders)
  • Hanli Prinsloo, Record breaking Freediver and founder of I Am Water (Ocean Conservation organisation)
  • Sophie Goldschmidt, Head of World Surf League (first female to be)
  • Judi Wakhungu, Kenyan Diplomat & Geologist, credited with Kenya’s plastic bag ban
  • Belinda Baggs, Surfing Icon and mother
  • Delphine Levi Alvares, European Coordinator of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement at Zero Waste Europe
  • Liz Bonnin, Natural history presenter, presented Drowning in Plastic
  • Lynn Robinson, first female President of the British Mountaineering Council
  • Melissa Reid, Paralympic bronze medallist and international adaptive surf competition winner
  • Sukie Robertson, British Kitesurfing Champion
  • Lindsey Cole, Adventurer & Storyteller, first to swim the length of the River Thames as a mermaid
  • Ellise Chappell, Actress, currently starring as Morwenna in Poldark, part of exxpedition (all female sailing crew, tackling environmental issues)
  • Ella Daish, Postwoman and Plastic Free Periods campaigner
  • Imogen Napper, Scientist, Research resulted in microbeads ban in cosmetics (part of exxpedition)
  • Gail Whiteman, Professor of Sustainability in Business, founded the Arctic Basecamp at Davos World Economic Forum

The magazine will be released on Monday 4th March. To access your special copy by joining as a member head to