Dr. Sarah Myhre

A working mom, feminist, and climate scientist

Sarah never felt more at peace than when she was in nature. She grew up in Seattle, surrounded by the deep swells of Puget Sound and the hulking majesty of the Cascades, and went to college to study biology. As a college student, she was thrilled to be invited on a research trip to Costa Rica, but while she was there, a trusted advisor sexually assaulted her—out in the wilderness, where she’d always felt safe.

Raw, angry, and grappling with trauma, Sarah met a hard-drinking whitewater rafter who loved nature, too—especially the adrenaline rush he got from pushing safety boundaries. At first, that rush made her feel whole again, but eventually his alcoholism made adventures impossible.

Sarah left to try to reconnect with her own love of nature, particularly the ocean. She started working as an underwater repair tech for research vessels. The days were long, sometimes involving more than five hours underwater. Her coworkers were almost all men who couldn’t let a day go by without some unwelcome comment or look or touch.

Still searching for a way to devote her life to nature without being violated or diminished, Sarah decided to go to grad school. She earned a PhD in climate science, got married, and had a child—but eventually her husband came to resent her degree as proof that she didn’t “need him.”

Sarah was so exhausted: she was a single mother working in climate science, constantly witnessing the devastation of her beloved ocean, and the majority of her peers were men who mixed the urgency of their mission with their own egos and seemed to delight in horrifying students.

Searching for release, she started pouring her feelings into a journal—and before she knew it, she had several essays about dealing with misogyny and depression as a climate scientist. She shared an essay with one of her few female coworkers, who circulated the piece. Soon, Sarah was receiving messages from other women in her field. Social activists invited her to work on projects that empowered women in the climate movement. She explored her own gender expression, finally reclaiming the kind of freedom she’d first felt as a child out in the forest. Sarah didn’t feel small anymore. She felt like she was part of something much bigger than herself.