Monika Griefahn was born on October 3, 1954, in Mülheim an der Ruhr. After graduating from high school she studied mathematics and sociology in Göttingen and Hamburg, graduating as a sociologist in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 she held the position of co-managing director of the environmental organization Greenpeace Germany, of which she was one of the founding members. She organized campaigns for the protection of the North Sea and - in the course of her work for Greenpeace Germany and Greenpeace International - further campaigns against chemical pollution of the seas and rivers. From 1984 to 1990 Monika Griefahn was the first woman to serve on Greenpeace International's board of directors and was responsible for establishing new offices worldwide, and was responsible for both education and training.
From 1990 to 1998 she was Environment Minister in Lower Saxony in the cabinet of Gerhard Schröder. Both then and now she is committed to a new energy policy: renewable energies and withdrawal from nuclear energy, as well as sustainable production and products using materials that enter biological and technical cycles, i.e. do not generate waste but are nutrients for new products (known today as "Cradle to Cradle").
From 1998 to 2009 she was a member of the German parliament. As a member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party) faction, she was primarily responsible for the areas of culture and media, new media, foreign education, and cultural policy. She was directly elected to parliament three times.
At the beginning of 2012 she founded the "Monika Griefahn GmbH institut für medien umwelt kultur" (Monika Griefahn Institute for Media Environment Culture). The agency advises companies and organisations on the transformation of their businesses towards overall quality and is active in sustainability training.
Monika Griefahn is active in many honorary positions - including co-chair and jury member of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation ("Alternative Nobel Prize") and chair of the association "Cradle to Cradle". She received her PhD in 2013. Monika Griefahn was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 2018 for her work and commitment.
- Natürlich wachsen. Erkundungen über Mensch, Natur und Wachstum aus kulturpolitischem Anlass (with Edda Rydzy), 2013
- Computerspiele als Kulturgut? In: S. Ganguin, B. Hoffmann (ed.), 2010
- Kulturwirtschaft und kulturelle Intelligenz. In: B. Wagner: Jahrbuch für Kulturpolitik 2008. Thema: Kulturwirtschaft und kreative Stadt.
- Kreativität – ein Wirtschaftsfaktor? In: Kulturforum der Sozialdemokratie (ed.): Kulturnotizen. 11/2006, Berlin.
- Nachhaltigkeitspolitik und Kulturpolitik. In: Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft KuPoGe (ed.): Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen II/2002, Bonn.
- Nachhaltigkeitspolitik und Kulturpolitik – eine Verbindung mit Zukunft? In: H. Kurt, B. Wagner (ed.): Kultur-Kunst-Nachhaltigkeit. Die Bedeutung von Kultur für das Leitbild Nachhaltige Entwicklung, 2002
- (ed.): Greenpeace. Wir kämpfen für eine Umwelt, in der wir leben können, 1983