Eunice Newton Foote, born on July 17th, 1819, is the first person who discovered the potential for greenhouse gases to cause Climate Change. Mrs. Foote conducted a study and wrote up the results in a paper in 1856, “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays,” but because of her gender, she didn’t receive the recognition she deserves for her discoveries. In fact, because of the times, she wasn’t even allowed to present her paper, it had to be done by a man.
Mrs. Foote was the first to measure and report that a cylinder with moisture became warmer than one with dry air and that one filled with carbon warmed even more and took longer to cool down. She extrapolated these findings and noted how the same principles could impact the planet at large.
In addition to being a scientist, Mrs. Foote was also involved with early efforts at promoting women’s rights. She was present at the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19-20, 1848, in which a Declaration of Sentiments demanding the right to vote and equality for women.
We hope you’ll take a look at the 2018 short film produced about Mrs. Foote and her discovery.