8 Women with a new vision for Earth

Dia Mirza


The Role Model

Actress and campaigner

As a child, Dia Mirza found companionship in the pockets of nature tucked in her mother’s garden and around her school.

She learned to value the biodiversity they nurtured – a lesson that stuck with her as she developed into a successful actor in India and began to use her platform to draw attention to social and environmental issues.

“The turning point was discovering mounds of plastic waste in the Himalayas while shooting Ganga – The Soul of India,” says Mirza, a UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“All that waste in the most pristine valleys presented such an incongruent and shocking picture that I felt impelled to speak up and do something.”

Named in the BBC’s 100 Women list last year, Mirza’s career has spanned many directions: climate champion, actor and producer.

Her acting roles have touched upon current social issues, including violence against women in Thappad, inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bheed, and Dhak Dhak, a film Mirza says “shatters so many stereotypes and tells the story of possibly every woman longing to break free from fear.”

“Stories are powerful purveyors of messages, and art has always played an important role in amplifying transformative ideas,” says Mirza, who is also the founder of the production house One India Stories.

“All of us have a voice that can be used to say something meaningful, and artists have a special responsibility to use their creativity for a larger purpose.”

Mirza has lent hers to the planet, too. She has served as a powerful campaigner for #BeatPlasticPollution, a founding member of the Wildlife Trust of India’s Club Nature and a member of the governing board of the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Women in leadership can provide the empathy and urgency needed to resolve our planetary crises, Mirza believes. An investor in several sustainable businesses, she argues that less focus should be placed on how the climate crisis affects businesses – and more on how businesses are harming the climate.

“If every big corporate entity and powerful leader decided to invest in the planet’s health, we would be much better placed in this battle against the climate crisis,” says Mirza. “The polluters know their choices are killing our planet and there is no excuse for them to not change.”