She has been called the new face of climate change – May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, is leading the way to a cleaner, healthier planet
WITH SOCIETY increasingly focusing on environmental issues, 350.org is one of the world’s most innovative organisations. And May Boeve, 31, sits at its helm – a position she has held for the past eight years. Founded in 2008 by six university students (one to represent each continent), and named after the concentration of carbon dioxide (in parts per million) the atmosphere can safely hold without impacting climate change, 350.org is focused on creating mass mobilisation and awareness to create a sense of urgency around the climate crisis. While working with 350.org in North America, May was involved in establishing events to build a movement for action on climate change. The rst event in 2009, International Day of Climate Action, intended to in uence delegates going to that year’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The campaign saw 5 200 demonstrations around the world in 181 countries, which 350.org reported as ‘the most widespread day of political action’.
Before her work with 350.org, May co-founded the Step It Up campaign in 2006, the rst open-source, web-based day of action geared towards halting climate change. By April 2007, the movement had grown to a national day of action in the US, with communities gathering to call for US Congress to implement policies that would cut carbon emissions by 80 by 2050.
In 2007, May co-authored Fight Global Warming
Now with Bill McKibben, a fellow 350.org
founder. But her rise to the top has not always been smooth. ‘There’s a structural sexism problem, full stop,’ she has said. ‘If you look at the numbers, they don’t lie. There are just not as many women leading, in that sense – running the organisation, being the gurehead.’
May was a recipient of the 2006 Brower Youth
Award, which are awarded to American environmental and social justice leaders younger than 23. She’s currently focusing on asking corporations and NGOs to divest their investments in fossil fuel companies. mc
LEFT A 350.org protest for action against climate change