Women Who Are Changing the World: Bina Venkataraman

Reading hundreds of picture book biographies of remarkable women for The Picture Book Club's "12 Women Who Changed the World" subscription has made me want to shine a spotlight on other remarkable women who, though they don't (yet!) have biographies written about them, inspire me every day.

-YiLing Chen-Josephson, Founder, The Picture Book Club

Q: What do you do?

I am a writer and a leader who draws on science and technology to forge partnerships that improve the health of people and the planet. I work on climate change policy, and I write about ideas and discoveries.  

Q: What’s your favorite thing about doing what you do?

Every day, I get to act on the values I hold most deeply. I am passionate about seeking the truth and about justice, and about having good evidence guide efforts to serve the most vulnerable people in the world. I am constantly learning about new ideas and areas of research, and finding ways to bring people together to change how our society works for the better. This work stokes my creative fires and demands that I pay attention. 

Q: What's something challenging about it?

Everything is challenging about it! That's part of what makes it worth doing. 

Q: What is something you’re proud of?

I'm proud of having served President Obama and the American people while working on climate and science policy in his administration. He led with dignity, grace, and intellect, and the work we did represents the true importance of the future and future generations.

Q: Who is someone who inspires you that you know personally?

My mom inspires me every day. As a woman and a physicist of her generation, she accomplished a great deal while also being a wonderful mom.  What I love most about her, perhaps, is that she's curious about everything, and she continues to learn and ask questions throughout her life, no matter how much she achieves.

Q: Who is someone who inspires you that you've never met?

I'm inspired right now by the work of the writer Sherman Alexie. He has a bold, distinctive voice, and exudes a kind of authenticity and originality that it takes deep courage to express in our time. 

Q: What is something you would like to change about the world? 

I'd like to see the true social cost to the next generation reflected in the current price of carbon-emitting energy sources. If we actually incorporated the price we and our children will pay for carbon dioxide pollution in a changing climate in today's price tags, we'd unleash incredible creativity and find new ways to fuel our economy and design our communities and infrastructure. 

Q: What’s a picture book you remember as a favorite from your childhood?

I loved and still love The Lorax. And right now, I enjoy reading my niece the book What Do You Do With an Idea?

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The Picture Book Club will make a donation to The Southern Poverty Law Center, the charity chosen by Bina, for every purchaser who mentions this Q+A.

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Want to introduce a child to more awesome women? Check out our 12 Women Who Changed the World subscription! Want to learn more about Bina? Check out her website.