This article highlights the issue of unjust criminalisation and disproportionate state violence against indigenous women water and land protectors. While indigenous people constitute about 4% of Canada’s population, they represent 27% of the incarcerated population in 2018. According to the Canada’s Correctional Investigator Indigenous, women constituted 37% of all women behind bars and 50% of all maximum security inmates in 2017. Mi’kmaw lawyer and academic Pam Palmater evokes the targeting and criminalisation of Indigenous women by Canadian state authorities as historically rooted in a colonising strategy, since they bear children who will carry on the culture and language of their nations. Pamela says that indigenous women’s perseverance and leadership should not be lost in the conversation and concludes that ‘even though Indigenous women have always been targeted, both in the law directly and indirectly, they continue to stand up for the land and for their children despite knowing what’s coming’. Photo Credit: Amber Bernard/APTN
The Women’s Environmental Network is a UK organisation working to make links between women health, wellbeing and environmental issues; and by broadening the latter’s scope to include menstrual health, real nappies and breast cancer. The aims are to raise awareness of the gender implication of climate change; promote environmental justice through feminist principles and gender equality; and involve and empower women in climate change decisions and solutions on the ground. Hence, WEN thinks globally and acts locally by sharing knowledge, resources and seeds through community organisation, events, training and grassroots projects in East London. Featured in this video are WEN co-director Kate Metcalf and former co-director Connie Hunter; as well as project participants such as Mina (“we help each other”); Silam (“this had helped me be more conscious about our environment”); Laura (“it has helped me be a happier person”); and Gubsie “it changes people, it makes such a difference”). Video Credit: WEN
With a surge in international migration in response to the climate crisis, it is imperative to recognize the intersection of Earth and migrant justice. Explore the links with young female activists Maya Menezes, Nayeli Jimenez, Niria Alicia, and Thanu Yakupitiyage. From COP25, to saving seeds, to taking on border imperialism, these activists are moving forward with solutions by acknowledging the relationship of climate and migration. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Get To The Bricks: The Experiences Of Black Women Foom New Orleans Public Housing After Hurricane Katrina
The report explores the experiences of almost 200 black women who were living in “The Big Four”- four large housing projects within the city of New Orleans - when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005. They were displaced from their prior homes due to the hurricane and the closure and demolition of the public housing units. This case shows that the experiences of black women in public housing were not taken into consideration when developing a plan for post-Katrina recovery. U.S. policies were implemented in a manner that took away opportunities, supports, and infrastructures from low-income women and their families most in need of a reliable safety net as they sought to recover from a catastrophic set of disasters and endure the Great Recession. Including the various experiences and voices of these women in the policy discussion going forward will ensure that future disasters do not perpetuate the marginalization of the most disadvantaged members of our communities.
Women For Water has compiled the audio- visuals of eight women who are conserving the water all over the world. These women Nomvula Mokonyane, Svitlana Slesarenok, Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Rose Makunzo Mwangi, Ethne Davey, Dr. Deepthi Wickramasinghe, Patricia Wouters and Salamatu Garba. They have been bringing the best practices of women empowerment in water and sanitation projects and effective water governance at all levels.
In this article, Bonnie Holmes-Gen, chief of the health and exposure assessment branch in the research division of the California Air Resources Board shares the links between health problems and wildfire smoke. During the COVID-19 pandemic, unhealthy air quality is a serious public health emergency. This summer, as California’s coronavirus cases continue to surge and the state struggles to implement safety measures, wildfire season is worsening air quality, complicating evacuation plans, perpetuating unjust impacts on Black, Brown, and Native communities, and further endanger those already at greatest risk of COVID-19.
During a public health crisis centered around a respiratory disease, the last thing we need is more pollution that worsens respiratory problems and deepens already disproportionately higher risks of COVID-19 for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities. While getting real about the root issues is urgently important, millions of Californians are being forced to deal with the immediate task of safety and survival. Greenpeace created a California Wildfire Crisis Emergency Response Guide to help communities stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times. Photo Credit: David McNew / Greenpeace
Pregnant women in Kenya are at a high risk of maternal and infant mortality due to a lack of access to hospital care. Power outages in hospitals affect vaccine storage and prevent usage of the necessary technology to resuscitate newborns and provide other life-saving care that is tied to the grid. The Maternal and Newborn Improvement Project installed solar panels on 33 health care facilities to serve as backup power. Nurse Emily Wamalwa, in Bungoma County, is now able to use solar energy when the power goes out to keep incubators and fridges running, saving the lives of babies and mothers. Photo Credit: Video Capture
This Greenpeace article lists trends impacting the occurrence of both forest and wildland fires today and solutions to those trends. The climate crisis is fueling extreme weather events, including an exceptionally dry winter and record-breaking heat waves which leave more dried up wildland vegetation to kindle the fires. Despite this, the Trump Administration and the logging industry regularly use wildfires as opportunities to make the case for more logging under the guise of fuels reduction and fire prevention. Photo Credit: 2016 Erskine Fire in Central California, © US Forest Service
Women Are More At Risk Due To The Pandemic And Climate Crisis. These Feminists Are Working To Change That.
Women activists around the world are standing up. To challenge the ways in which the global pandemic and climate change exacerbate inequalities, five young women share their stories about the intersections of environmental and social justice. Journey with Betty Barkha (Fiji), Meera Ghani (Pakistan), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad), Maggie H. Mapondera (Zimbabwe), and Majandra Rodriguez Acha (Peru) to learn about their work and the ways that they are engaging in their local communities.
Strengthening Indigenous Rights And Leadership In The Face Of Global Challenges – COVID-19, Climate Change And Environmental Degradation
A global representation of indigenous peoples organizations along with the International Union for Conservation of Nature are working to address climate change through increased partnership and shared leadership. Ahead of the World Conservation Congress in January of 2021 the IUCN is making the decision to increase indigenous leadership positions and define key proposals around indigenous roles, rights and relationship to the environment. The IUCN is also calling for support from member states in indigenous stewardship of their lands, territories and seas especially by indigenous women. A new document produced through this collaboration aims to draw attention to solutions and challenges faced by indigenous peoples around Covid-19. Through increased sharing of proposals and techniques there is growing hope for indigenous resilience and the protection of their way of life under increasing threat from the pandemic along with the long-term challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. Photo credit: Asociacion Ak’Tenamit
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, an elder of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder of Sacred Stone Camp and Tara Houska, Ojibwe lawyer and founder of the Giniw Collective are interviewed by reporter Amy Goodman after the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is ordered to shut down by August 5, 2020. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard has opened her home in North Dakota to supporters from the beginning of the resistance in order to protect sacred sites, water sources, and the health of her community members. She has joined forces with Indigenous leaders and water protectors from around the world, many of whom have faced similar harms from extractive industry. Tara Houska asserts that the shutdown of this massive pipeline sends a critical message to the fossil fuel industry that these dangerous projects will not be tolerated and that a regenerative green economy is non-negotiable. Photo credit: Democracy Now! (video screenshot)
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the United States’ economy, issues of food security have been magnified. Consequently, the importance of local gardens have been emphasized. From Victory Gardens during the first and second world war, to the emergence of urban vegetable gardens throughout US cities in the 1970s and 1980s, the United States has a rich history of local gardening initiatives. The pandemic has forced Americans to re-evaluate the many way local gardens benefit a community. In Richmond, California, Doria Robinson of Urban Tilth provides 227 families with weekly CSA vegetable shares. Serving low-income residents in a city with only one grocery store per 100,000 residents, Robinson’s work at Urban Tilth makes a great difference in the local community, especially in light of COVID-19. Photo Credit: Karen Washington
Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA) was co-founded by Noelene Nabulivou with the aim to create an all inclusive peer support group of LGBT+ individuals and marginalized women in Fiji. The group gives a voice to all individuals who are victims to the widespread patriarchal power structures and homophobic attitudes in Fiji. Their work mainly focuses on activism, advocacy, policy and feminist knowledge sharing that targets all communities, but prioritises informal settlements, and women from rural and remote areas. DIVA For Equality strongly advocates across genders and intersectional fields by tackling the interlink of LGBT+ and women rights with economic, ecological and climate justice. Having worked alongside regional and international organizations, DIVA for Equality aims to be an all inclusive voice in the global climate debate. Notably, the group initiated the regional coalition of ‘Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development’, which now has more than 50 island nations involved. Photo Credit: Reuters
The pandemic, COVID-19, reveals a class system, where only the wealthy have the power to withdraw or shelter in place. Whereas, someone who lives paycheck to paycheck must continue to hustle every day to find work. This places poor people in a position between risking their health and economic survival. There is no choice but to make that choice. As long as this is true, the number of carriers will continue to grow. The only option is solidarity. Every country needs every other country to have an economy focused on health and social well-being. The coronavirus makes the slogan of solidarity literal: an injury to one is an injury to all. Photo Credit: Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty
A federal judge recently ruled that Formosa Plastics, a petrochemical company outside Port Lavaca, Texas, can be held liable for violating state and federal water pollution laws. The company could face a penalty of up to $162 million. Thanks to data collected by resident volunteers, the nonprofit San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper brought a lawsuit against the company in 2017. According to the lawsuit, the company violated its environmental permits for years, dumping millions of small plastic pellets - called nurdles - into Lavaca Bay. Among the volunteers is Diane Wilson, a retired shrimper who has been trying to get Formosa to stop dumping in the bay since the early ’90s. Since the trial started, pollution levels haven’t changed, so she keeps gathering evidence with her kayak. Giving up is not an option for her. Photo credit: Wikimedia
The four climate justice advocates Maya Menezes, Nayeli Jimenez, Niria Alicia and Thanu Yakupitiyage share their perspectives on the strong connections between the climate crisis and issues of migration and asylum. Drawing from different examples and experiences, they make a strong case to address the climate crisis in the broader framework of anti-capitalist and anti-colonial struggles and to stand in solidarity with movements to protect the rights of indigenous people, migrants and asylum seekers. Photo Credits: Getty Images
Explore what the environmental justice movement looks like led by those most impacted. Meet 5 Black LGBTQ+ community organizers and activists Asha Carter (she/her), Dominique Hazzard (she/her), Dean Jackson (they/them), Jeaninne Kayembe (she/her,they/them), and Rachel Stevens (she/her,they/them). Follow their stories of activism to learn how creative and impactful movements within their communities have responded to healing environmental racism. Photo Credit: Asha Carter
Morgan Dixon is the co-founder of ‘GirlTrek’, a national help organization addressing the disproportionate effects of the current health crisis in African American women. Starting with 530 women in their first year, the organization has since grown to about 100,000 African American women who walk together every day. Together the women of ‘GirlTrek’ not only boost their own physical health, they also improve the health of their families and communities while reshaping the narrative around health for women of color. Video Credit: National Sierra Club
Africans and women will be some of the main groups hit the hardest by climate change, and it is becoming increasingly more important to protect women’s land in Nigeria to help mitigate these effects. Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all agricultural labor in Nigeria, but only 10 percent of land owners in Nigeria are women. This is partly due to the customary laws and property ownership, which makes it extremely hard for women to inherit land. With decreasing amounts of arable land coupled with continued population growth in Nigeria, 70% of Africans who rely on the land are at risk as climate change worsens. Those affected the most in are the women who perform the majority of agricultural labor and have more intimate relationships with the land. Empowering women to own the land where they work will improve Nigerian communities’ climate resiliency, creating a more sustainable relationship between humans and the environment. Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
To ensure the success of the climate justice movement is to ensure the liberation of Queer Communities. As we move forward in healing the climate crisis, the interconnectedness of Queer and Trans Communities with the Climate Jutsice movement must be realized. Many LGBTQ+ activists are lifting up the environmental movement with resilience and innovation while also participating in the divest movement and bringing equity policies to environmental organizations. Photo Credit: Dylan Comstock
Shantel Walker is a manager within the fast food industry and an organizer for proper living wages in NYC. After working over two decades at Papa John’s Pizza where Walker was paid a minimum wage of $7.50, Walker started working with organizations such as the Fight for $15, and Fast Food Forward campaigns to champion the 3.7 million Americans working in Fast Food. Walkers advocacy also addresses the disparities in healthcare coverage, workplace and scheduling policies. Photo Credit: Alex Swerdloff
Victoria Law is a journalist who spent 6 years with the Zapatista movement in Southern Mexico and published Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories. She gives an overview of the Zapatistas, the influence women have in the movement and the impact the movement has had on their lives. The Zapatistas began organizing in the 80s and declared war on the state of Mexico in 1994, on the exact day the NATO the free trade agreement began. Since then the movement is renowned for the peaceful protests, indigenous organization, and their autonomy. Women have played a key role in the Zapatista communities accomplishing a drastic reduction of violence against women, the prohibition of alcohol (connected to abuse), the freedom to participate and lead in politics, and autonomy over their lives. Victoria sheds light to many things that can be learned from the organization of the Zapatistas and the key role that women continue to play in their liberation and in the liberation of their people. Photo Credit: Mr. Thelkan
The Palestinian Heirloom Library, in its efforts supporting a Palestinian agricultural scene, stands not only as an act of resistance to Israeli occupation but as a source of cultural tradition and hope in amongst climate change impacts and agribusiness take-over’s. The brainchild of Vivien Sansour, the Heirloom Library was inspired into creation by stories of the succulent watermelon Jadu’I that used to flourish in Jenin. The melon, once a significant cornerstone in the daily lives of Palestinians, suffered (as did much of Palestinian agriculture) after the Israeli occupation. The goal of the Library aims to preserve ancient seed types as well as traditional agricultural practices and revive the heirloom varieties in the fields of the farmers. The Art and Seeds space showcases indigenous seeds and serves to teach the public about long-standing Palestinian farming practices. Photo credit: Vivien Sansour.
In this article, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) executive director Osprey Orielle Lake reflects on the broad and interwoven relationship between women and climate change. Citing activists such as Phyllis Young and Dr. Vandana Shiva, Lake connects the experience of each activist to global climate justice trends and movements. Lake also discusses the climate crisis as it is linked to systems of oppression and patterns of abuse against women and nature. While they are among the most vulnerable populations affected by climate chaos, women also offer the most hope for the future. Photo Credit: Emily Arasim/WECAN
Women in Afro-Ecuadorian communities are uniquely and historically responsible for traditional medical practices. Like Indigenous Ecuadorians, Afro-Ecuadorians have made the rich botanical resources of Equator the foundation of their medicinal treatments. Traditional medicines are often coupled with healing practices such as singing songs and saying prayers for spiritual ailments as well. However, women practicing Afro-Ecuadorian medicine are now facing threats to their traditional practices due to restrictive policies that label ancestral medicine as “alternative” and from increased pesticide use, and cheaper western healthcare services. Photo Credit: Raul Ceballos
Monifa Dayo, Carrie Y.T. Kholi, and Binta Ayofemi are three women using food as a vehicle for social change. They are amongst a host of Black women exiting from the restaurant industry after experiencing racism and sexism in the workplace. Monifa Dayo runs her own supper club while consciously incorporating social justice into her business model. Similarly, Carrie Y.T. Kohli’s ‘Hella Black Brunch’ brings people together around food and the African diaspora experience. Binta Ayofemi’s ‘Soul Oakland’ focuses on Black urban sustenance and restoration. Each woman views herown work as a form of resistance to the current political climate, and seeks to inspire communities of color in doing so. Photo credit: Richard Lomibao
In Louisiana, the indigenous-led resistance camp “L’Eau est la Vie” fights to put a stop to the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is planned to connect the Dakota Access pipeline to a refinery in St. James. The region is known for its swamplands that offer a vast biodiversity, but also has a long history of forced evictions and environmental injustice ever since oil was discovered below a lake. To this day, the water protectors face intimidation tactics and in some cases acts of physical violence in response to their activism. Photo credit: Joe Whittle/The Guardian
Despite once providing bustling profits for fishing families, Lake Malawi — one of Africa’s largest lakes — suffers from overfishing and women in Malawi are feeling the brunt of this. The fishing industry employs close to 300,000 Malawi workers and fishers, but fish are no longer being found in abundance. Stiff competition from fishermen is drastically depleting fish levels. The fish that are now being found are smaller and priced higher, reducing the profitability of a market that used to flourish in the past. Women who used to buy fish cheaply and trade it for more, are then forced to buy from fishermen, who have also been pushed out of business, at increased prices. Moreover, they are no longer able to provide local fish as a cheap protein to their families because overfishing has left women under tight restraint. Thankfully successful community efforts have been rallied around creating bylaws that would close down the lake for a temporary amount of time to promote lake health. And it appears these laws put in place were working — a man was hit with a hefty fine for fishing on the lake when it was close. Photo credit: Mabvuto Banda
In this Mothers of Invention podcast, former Irish president Mary Robinson and New-York-based Irish-born comedian Maeve Higgins focus on money and climate change. This episode specifically addresses climate change as a human rights, justice and climate issue; and highlights the importance of divesting from the carbon economy to invest into renewable energy, the green economy and jobs of the future. Divestment, from fossil fuel, pipelines, oppressive systems etc. is powerful and effective as ‘it speaks to people’s pockets’. The podcast features female activists’ experiences and campaigns from South Africa and the US. Yvette Abrahams is a former apartheid activist and Commission for Gender Equality. May Boeve is an an American environmental activist, organiser and Executive Director of 350.org, a global grassroots climate movement. Tara Houska is a Couchiching First Nation citizen; a tribal rights US attorney, environmental and indigenous rights advocate, and the National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth. Photo Credit: Unknown
Bangladesh is very susceptible to climate change due to the country’s low elevation, high population density and inadequate infrastructure. As extreme weather conditions are being exacerbated by climate change, the people of Bangladesh are being displaced out of their homes. Most climate migration occurs to the capital, Dhaka, where they find themselves living in peripheral urban slums characterized by inadequate housing conditions, overcrowding and poor sanitation. The women of Bangladesh are among the first to face the impacts of climate change, and they are disproportionately affected. Women account for the vast majority of mortality as a result of natural disasters, for example, 90% of those who died as a result of the 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone were women. The inordinate impact is driven by women’s impaired access to land and resources, lower employment opportunities and decision-making compared to men. Moreover, women who migrate are often pushed to join the sex industry as it is one of the few ways they are able to support their families. Photo Credit: Reuters
At the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco California, Niria Alicia stood up and sang out in protest to Governor Jerry Brown’s refusal to take action against oil and gas companies. In this piece, Niria describes why she joined eight other young people in singing the Women’s Warrior Song as an act of resistance at the summit. Niria sites her own identity as an Indigenous woman, and daughter of a farmworker to poignantly explain the consequences of fossil fuel divestment. Photo credit: Niria Alicia
Aminata Bamba and Traore Awa are two women leading the charge on gender equality in the cocoa industry in Western Africa. Both with senior positions in their cocoa cooperatives, Ecookim and CAYAT cocoa cooperative respectively, and having returned from a Fairtrade Conference, they defy the traditional gender roles prevalent in their country and help lift the taboo on women leadership. In a community where unpaid labour often mean that women working throughout the production chain are often not recognised and gender expectations result in a male-dominated industry, the Fairtrade Women’s School of Leadership is working to empower women to take the lead and has trained 413 women in Awa’s community. Their program provides guidance and business support and last year’s conference tackled the future of trade and systemic issues in supply chains. Photo credit: Tony Myers.
In this essay published in the Earth Island Journal, philosopher, writer and climate activist Kathleen Dean Moore calls to action the mothers, grandmothers, aunties, godmothers and all those who love the children. From her cabin in Alaska, she witnessed her a hummingbird saving her nestlings from a squirrel, and a bear saving her cub from wolves. She highlights the power of love, ferocity and responsibility of mothers and grandmothers protecting children and the planet against global warming and ecosystem collapse. She evokes grandmothers Annette Klapstein and her friend Emily Johnston, who shut off the flow of Canadian tar-sands oil by cutting the chain on an oil-pipeline valve in Minnesota. She relates the work of Leatra Harper and Jill Antares Hunker, mothers who devise strategies against fracking from their kitchen tables. This eloquent piece is illustrated by Lisa Vanin, whose work focuses on the magic and mystery of nature. Illustration Credit: Lisa Vanin
A new assessment report released last week (8 October) by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the importance of raising the capacity of least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS) in climate management and the special role of women as a group vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. According to a February 2018 study published in the PNAS, the proportion of female IPCC authors increased from less than five per cent in 1990, when the first report was published, to slightly more than 20 per cent in the more recent assessment reports. For instance, 75% perceived weak command of the English language as a barrier to participation, while 30% saw race as an obstacle. Chandni Singh, a climate change researcher from India and a lead author for the IPCC’s, has seen women face barriers to their participation, including overt discrimination and insufficient childcare facilities at meetings. Acknowledging the barriers women face, the scientific body decided in March to establish a gender task group, now being co-chaired by Patricia Nying'uro from Kenya and Markku Rummukainen from Sweden. Joy Pereira, a professor at the Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (SEADPRI-UKM) and a vice-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group 2, tells SciDev.Net that the scientific body should ask their hosts to ensure greater participation of women. Photo Credit: Chris Stowers/Panos
Santona Rani, President of the Rajpur Women’s Federation, is working to increase climate and community resilience in her flood-prone area of Tajpur, Lalmonirhat in northern Bangladesh. Climate change is increasing the detrimental effects on crops and productivity. Her organisation is made up of twenty groups that work to assist 500 vulnerable and marginalized women. It works alongside ActionAid’s Promoting Opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights (POWER) to boost independence through sustainable agriculture that fosters climate resilience. They also work to address the unjust gender roles that exist within the society; aiming to increase income and recognise the amount of work women do, provide training around leadership, women’s rights, financial aspects, sustainable farming and communication skills, as well as endeavour to prevent violence against women. Their work is community based, and involves interactive theatre shows, informative leaflets, and a seed bank and grain store that protects against the damages of flooding or natural disasters. Photo credit: ActionAid.
From female farmers to female restaurant workers, women are consistently subject to sexual harassment at every level of the US Food System. Mostly depending on immigrant labor, the US Food System workforce is the lowest-paid and most exploited workforce in the country. The workers have little legal protections that are rarely enforced. For women, especially immigrant women, this means that sexual harrasment and unequal treatment on the basis of sex prevail. In recent years, initiatives such as the #MeToo movement, the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Fair Food Movement, support and encourage women to fight against the patriarchal oppression they face. Photo Credit: Donald Lee Pardue
Hamari Roti, Hamari Aazadi Our Bread, Our Freedom: Diverse Women Of The World Resolve To Defend Biological And Cultural Diversity, Through Non-violence, Love And Friendship
Women in India have re-initiated a movement called ‘Our Bread, Our Freedom’ (Hamari Roti, Hamari Azaadi), in efforts to counter the corporate food system driven by new East India Companies which has led to an epidemic of farmer suicides and varying health issues. Diverse Women for Diversity aim to reveal the pseudo food safety regulations and fake knowledge surrounding nutritionally empty and toxic food. The movement builds alternatives to the monoculture of chemical farming and through bread, reclaim not only their freedom but also their historical and cultural knowledge in producing diverse foods. In Doon Valley on the 2nd of October 2018 women gathered from 25 regions in India to cook breads typical to their state, including roti from Uttarakhand, Sathuu from Bihar and rice flour chila from Chhatisgarh. They pledge to rejuvenate their local cultures, cleanse from within as well as keep clean their external environment, spread food and nutrition literacy, and build sustainable food economies grounded in social justice, non-violence, and love. Photo Credit: Unknown
Olympia Auset is the founder of SÜPERMARKT, a low cost, organic pop-up grocery store which is addressing food inequality in southern Los Angeles. Auset sees food as a tool for liberation and seeks to free her own community from identifying as a food desert where people statistically live 10 years less than wealthier white communities. This reality steams from a history of white flight after slavery became illegal. Auset’s SUPERMARKT is changing the local narrative and has plans to expand given her success and demand. Her model is also being replicated in food deserts across the country. Photo Credit: Sara Harrison
Women in Spain are striking and petitioning for a new energy model that contrasts the current patriarchal, capitalist model. In recognizing that women are most adversely affected by the current climate model, they are calling for a just transition which overhauls the systematic sexism, racism, and classism to achieve a truly fair energy policy. Part of the solution they say, is changing the male dominated environments where energy policies are written and discussed. Across the country women are tightening the conversation and successfully making gains such as Law 24/2-15 which indicate a future for more progressive ecofeminists policies in the future. Photo Credit: Adolfo Lujan
Greenpeace USA Executive Director, Annie Leonard traces the intersections between the environmental movement and the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, calling for more diversity. As more women name their harassers and seek justice, the environmental movement needs to reckon with the growing spotlight on power imbalances across gender, race, and class lines. Leonard, a white woman, writes how these movements have made her reexamine her own privileges and responsibilities within a movement that has been historically dominated by White men. Knowing that the best solutions come from those most affected, she calls for greater representation and meaningful spaces for often marginalized voices to be heard—not to achieve a diversity quota but to ensure deep, lasting change. Photo credit: Tim Aubry/Greenpeace
Female climate scientists face a disproportionate amount of gender-based abuse in comparison to their male counterparts. Through social media, email, and direct telephone calls, women climate scientists report numerous violent threats including rape and death threats from disproportionately male attackers. Although the threats remain written or verbal, many women fear for their physical safety and have taken precautions to reduce their exposure in the media. This form of gender discrimination is one of many on the rise since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, which effectively institutionalized climate denial as well as misogyny. The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was founded in 2011 to combat harassment against climate researchers, seeing a need to update current laws to protect women in science and academia in particular. Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan
Katsi Cook, founder of the first school of Indigenous midwifery, traces the trajectory of her life and explains how the traditional knowledge of Indigenous communities is helping to conserve moral values and the environment. Her interest in environmental health was inspired by her experience delivering babies as a midwife, when a mother asked a simple question: “Is it safe to breastfeed?” Her research led to the first human health study at a superfund site, which revealed that Mohawk indigenous women are disproportionately affected by the nearby industrialization of the Great Lakes basin. Their breastmilk has been contaminated with harmful chemicals that in turn impacts their offspring. Cook shares the stories of her ancestors which are helpful for her to empower her fellow women. Photo Credit: Yes Magazine
Isela Gonzalez, director of Alianza Sierra Madre, uses civic activism to fight for political change as a way to confront the vested economic interests of not only big corporations, but also narco-gangs and corrupt politicians, that violate indigenous land rights. In a country that is painted in violence, with assassinations as an answer to those who have a different vision than governmental or corporate agendas, standing up for environmental and social causes come with serious risks. Often facing threats to her life, which has resulted in armed guards, panic buttons and crisis training, Gonzalez is staunch in her battle to defend the Tarahumara’s rights. The three tribes who live among the pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre have a worldview that sees themselves as part of the land and it was this, as well as their way of life, that inspired her to refocus the direction of Alianza Sierra Madre on indigenous rights as the frontline for environmental protection. Photo credit: Thom Pierce for The Guardian.
Youth activists Jamie Margolin and Nadia Nazar mobilised a youth march in Washington DC on 07/21/20 and co-founded Zero Hour, a volunteer-based organisation focused on climate change. With a diverse group of students, they created a platform highlighting the relationship between climate change, consumerism and systems of oppression, and their adverse impact on the natural world, animals and marginalized communities (indigenous, homeless, LGBTQ, different abilities and people of color communities). The organization is part of a global youth movement actively marching, lobbying, suing and engaging with local communities and state officials to find climate solutions. Zero Hour advocates for the power of young people to act, generate human change and cultural shifts without delay. As 350.org’s executive director May Boeve stated, we have the responsibility to stand with the youth fighting to protect our collective future whose voice should be at the center of the global conversation. Photo CHERYL DIAZ MEYER FOR HUFFPOST
Neris Uriana, the first female chieftain of Wayuu tribe in La Guajira, was elected in 2015. She had tremendous support from her husband Jorge Uriana who thinks the future is female. Jorge was the previous community leader and decided women should participate in decision making and worked to dismantle machismo culture. After becoming chieftain, Neris has introduced sustainable agriculture methods to her tribe and collaborated with other communities to improve irrigation, crop cycles, and land use. Neris has successfully created many women leaders in her tribe, such as Pushaina, who is growing the crops with minimum water supply. Photo Credit: Lucy Sherriff/PRI
The feminine hygiene industry markets products that are manufactured with dangerous chemicals and which perpetuate harmful myths around period bleeding. Much of the marketing languages capitalizes on the notion that bleeding is shameful and should be hidden or kept from public discourse. Further, women and girls are often encouraged to use mainstream products such as bleached tampons and pads that threaten their health. This article encourages women to explore reusable, and non manufactured alternatives to managing their periods. Photo Credit: Orlando Begaye AKA Treeman
In Madera, California, Sylvia Rojas and Rosa Hernandez own Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra, a restaurant that offers traditional Oaxacan dishes such as tamales, picaditas, pozole, and mole. Many of these dishes have indigenous roots and reflect the migration from indigenous Mexican communities to the United States. Formerly farmworkers, Hernandez and Rojas opened up the restaurant with support from organizations such as the Pan Valley Institute, a group that focuses on uplifting women and building inter-ethnic relationships amongst rural Californian farming communities in the Central Valley. Photo Credit: Lisa Morehouse
A group of US and Cambodian Scholars from Pennsylvania State University have created the multidisciplinary project, “Women in Agriculture Network (WAgN): Cambodia” to teach Cambodian women farmers how to change their farming techniques for more beneficial outcomes. The project places particular value on native Cambodian plants that thrive throughout the year, even during wet- and dry-season food gaps. WAgN also analyses Cambodian women’s roles in agriculture, and the notion that the “feminization” of agriculture does not coincide with an improved quality of life for Cambodian women. Researchers at WAgN believe that their project has the potential to augment the societal status of Combodian women and improve their quality of life. Photo Credit: Penn State
Leah Penniman and her organization Soul Fire Farm have developed a new mapping and reparations resource for black and brown farmers. Launched via Google Maps, the reparations map identifies over 52 organizations, their needs, and how to contact each farming operation. The project is an extension of a global movement for food justice, and the return of stolen lands and resources to Indigenous and black farmers. Consequently, the project directly addresses the significant wealth gap between farmers of color and white farmers. The site has had over 53,000 visitors to date. Photo Credit: Jonah Vitale-Wolff
In this 20-minute Guardian podcast, journalist Lucy Lamble talks to Fund for Global Human Rights program officer Ana Paula Hernández about her work supporting campaigners fighting to protect native lands. The conversation covers the brutal murder of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, an ‘incredible leader in the social and human rights movement’. Fund for Global Human Rights supported Berta since 2013 when she had been criminalised and threatened to stop her organising work for the defence of nature. Despite her international recognition and the protection afforded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Berta was shot for opposing the dam construction on the Gualcarque River. Since, her daughter Berta Isabel Bertha Isabel Zúniga Cáceres and co-founder of COPINH have claimed small victories with the withdrawal of European funders suspending development on the dam project. Ana Paula also mentions digital security and technology as allies in the protection of human rights defenders. Photo Credit: The Fund for Global Human Rights
Low to moderate income families and families of color often take on a disproportionate energy burden, sacrificing funds that would otherwise be used on food or medical expenses, to pay for utility bills. Energy companies do little to nothing to help ease this burden. And more time than not, these communities are in areas that are poorly maintained and plagued by pollution. In fact, studies have shown that 71% of African Americans live in counties with federal air violations, compared to 56% of the overall population. 70% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, which generated 30% of the U.S. electricity in 2016 and discharged millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. African Americans face the brunt of the health impacts associated with long-time exposure to toxins emitted at plants; children and the elderly are especially sensitive to such risks. These long lasting impacts take many forms, resulting in emotional, psychological and economic costs for these communities. Photo Credit: NAACP
Trends in human rights funding have shifted in the recent years. Currently, seven percent of all humans rights funding from foundations is earmarked for Environmental Justices and Resource Rights (EJ&RR). This indicates a 145 percent increase in EJ&RR funding between the years 2011 and 2015. However, funding peaked in 2014 and has since been declining, due to a few major foundations discontinuing their work. Another change has been the shift towards awarding smaller grants to smaller groups, in contrast to the historical practice of awarding large funds to established organizations. Thirdly, funding for human rights defenders increased 133% between 2011 and 2015 though the amount provided remains small. On the other hand, funding for Indigenous Peoples decreased to $15 million from $40 million during this time. Funding Indigenous Peoples is a crucial part of climate justice and particularly needed in our current state. Photo Credit: Human Rights Funders Network.
Daughters of field workers are participating in a five day “Freedom Fast”, and joining the Time’s Up Wendy’s March in Manhattan. Their demonstration calls upon Wendy’s to sign onto the Fair Food Program which addresses many of the structural issues enabling sexual harassment in the workplace. The demonstration is taking place alongside the Time’s Up and #MeToo movement which has drawn global attention to the treatment of all women in the workforce. Women working in agriculture are strong voice in this movement as they report especially high rates of sexual assault in the workplace. So far the women’s efforts to suede Wendy’s have been unsuccessful. Photo Credit: Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Authored by Karin Kirk, this piece presents feminist, non-profit activist and academic researcher Sarah Myrhe, who argues for an entire new leadership to bring radical change to address climate change. She advocates addressing climate change through a humanist perspective, asserting that women are creative leaders in empathising with marginalised and discriminated peoples adversely affected by climate change. In the face of misogynist opposition within science, academia and the public sphere despite her scientific successes, Sarah became a founding board member for 500 Women Scientists; and co-founded, with Guiliana Isaksen, the non-profit Rowan Institute. The Institute’s mission is to integrate science and social justice into public leadership through compassion, information and equity as core principles; and develop ‘a future of strong and resilient leaders, grounded in human rights, integrity, and planetary stewardship’. Sarah was voted Most Influential People of 2017. Photo Credit: Unknown
Francesca Chaney is working to alleviate food insecurity and make the wellness movement accessible in her neighbourhood of Bushwick, New York. A dream since she was 19 years old, the café, Sol Sips, started as a pop-up shop and evolved into a permanent fixture in the community. With a popular brunch menu and sliding scale prices, a diverse range of community members visit the spot ranging from indigenous, Latinx, and people of colour to old-timers and families. She serves a community that has largely been left aside by the mainstream health and wellness movement and Sol Sips remains a contrast to the majority of vegan and plant-based restaurants. Chaney wants to counter the trend that to eat healthy is a privilege only for those who can afford it. This socially conscious space that pays mind to the demographic of the neighbourhood is one of a range of businesses fighting to make vegan and healthy food accessible. Photo credit: Sol Sips
Nearly 6,000 Methodist women from around the world came together in Columbus, Ohio for a social justice summit celebrating 150 years of their organization, United Methodist Women. The organization is the service-oriented arm of the broader United Methodist Church, focusing on maternal and child health, mass incarceration, economic inequality and climate justice. Attendees heard Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and volunteered with local community justice initiatives, including the Poor People’s Campaign. Every four years, the group hosts gatherings where women activists can revitalize local communities and grow interfaith movements for equality. Photo Credit: Danae King The Columbus Dispatch @DanaeKing
Before 1989, Cuba depended on the Soviet Union for agricultural supplies to help maintain Cuban agriculture industries such as coffee, bananas, and sugar. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, Cuba found itself cut off from these agricultural supplies and in an economic crisis. Over the course of the next six years, the Cuban government encouraged alternative agricultural practices and ran workshops to teach residents various forms of food production methods. Former biology teacher Edith participated in one of these workshops. Afterwards, she founded the urban farm Linda Flor ten minutes away from Sancti Spíritus’ main square. Thanks to Edith’s scientific knowledge, perseverance, and passion for agriculture, Linda Flor flourished despite the small urban space. Now, students from around the world flock to Sancti Spíritus to tour Edith’s farm. Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Lim Li Ching’s new report on agroecology highlights the crucial role small women farmers play in preserving indigenous varieties or landraces of main food crops. However, their role expands beyond the preservation of indigenous seeds, and women also process, distribute, and market food, as well as act as key holders of knowledge around seeds, agricultural biodiversity, and agroecology technologies. Parul Begum knew that indigenous strains of rice would result in higher yields in West Bengal and Manisha in Haryana’s Nidana village in Jind used carnivorous pests, as opposed to a chemical alternative, to handle the crop destruction caused by harmful pests. These women play a significant role in smallholder systems which also provide over half of the planet’s food calories. Despite their valuable role, women face issues in legal ownership of land and access to resources such as land, seeds, or technologies, due to the gender bias that exists in agriculture. Lim Li Ching argues that empowering women, especially with regards to land ownership which consequently opens access to government schemes and resources, can lead to improved food security and health. Photo credit: Vikas Choudhary
Ashley Hernandez grew up in Wilmington in South Los Angeles, a primarily latino community and home to one of the largest oil fields in the United States. Hernandez tackles environmental justice issues by educating her community about pollution. Her first campaign, “Clean Up Green Up,” led the Los Angeles City Council to support a pollution prevention and reduction strategy. Her new campaign is calling on Governor Jerry Brown to make California the first oil-producing state to phase out existing oil and gas production and to transition to sustainable fuels that can provide new jobs for workers while also protecting public health of vulnerable communities. Photo Credit: Melissa Lyttle for HuffPost
The community of Lenca women, Indigenous to Honduras, has been practicing agroforestry for millennia as a sustainable farming method in their dry region. They are keeping this traditional knowledge alive by growing organic, fair trade crops like coffee in worker-owned cooperatives. Farmers like Eva Alvarado helped to create an all-female growers’ cooperative in 2014, as part of the Cosagual coffee growers’ organization. Their coffee is now sold around the world, and the women bring home a larger share of the profits than before. The Lenca group is known for radical work: Berta Cáceres, the famous Indigenous activist murdered in 2016, also belonged to the community. The idea of this cooperative was seeded at a gender equality workshop with the Association of NGOs. Agroforestry, which involves planting fruit and timber trees in the shade, is an effective way to combat food insecurity, erosion and acts as a carbon sink. Women in Honduras are coping with climate change using agroforestry, a method that can provide a sustainable livelihood to many communities. Photo Credit: Monica Pelliccia
Saiyara Khan writes about the fundamental role that women and girls play in ensuring food security during times of conflict. Often, gender inequalities and societal norms restrict their participation in the management and decision-making processes over key resources such as land or livestock. However, given that they are involved in key processes such as food production and water collection for the household, women’s empowerment is a fundamental determinant in whether communities have access to food. Photo credit: UN Women
At the Alternate World Water Forum (FAMA), women led the charge in speaking out against the governments, NGOs and multinational corporations that privatize and exploit everyone’s water. Alessandra Munduruku, an Indigenous warrior of the Amazonian Munduruku tribe, uplifted her community’s fight against dangerous extraction and contamination on the Tapajós River. Andreia Neiva, a Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB) militant, urged others to follow her community’s lead in battling large farming companies who are stealing and polluting water sources. In her city, Correntina, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, people are rising up against repression to occupy the industrial farms, and she hopes to see others join. Grassroots leaders from around the world shared their stories, emphasizing that just as all water is connected, these struggles are interdependent. Photo Credit: Idle No More SFBay Blog
Migration is one way women may be forced to adapt to climate change, but this displacement also puts women at greater risk for violence, a group of women leaders explained at a Wilson Center event. Eleanor Bornstorm, Program Director for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), noted that because women are often in caretaking roles, they are also expected to volunteer and shield their communities from harm. Yet structural inequalities put women disproportionately at risk to violence during climate displacement. Carrying forward the former statement, Justine Calma, Grist environmental justice reporting fellow, vocalized the violence faced by women and young girls during climate displacement. For example, during the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, young girls were sexually exploited, sold and trafficked for food and other resources. Poor or uneducated women, women of color and migrant women are vulnerable to intersectional forms of discrimination, and their needs are often more urgent. Because of these structural inequalities, empowering women and enhancing their leadership may be the best strategy to address climate change, rather than mitigating its effects. WEDO is assessing factors impacting women during climate displacement, filling in the gaps unaddressed at the national and international level. Photo Credit: Agata Grzybowska.
Even after 20 years of “UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”, women human rights defenders (HRD) face systematic structural violence for raising awareness of political and environmental issues affecting their daily lives. To highlight the stories of these women, the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok launched a project “Her Life, Her Diary: Side by Side WHRDs 2018 - Diary of Hope and Dreams" featuring 20 women defenders and their everyday struggle against social injustice. Photo Credit: Luke Duggleby
Oliveria Montes is the spokeswoman for several Indigenous communities including the Totonacos, the Nahuas, and the Otomies in Mexico in active resistance to the Tula-Tuxpan gas pipeline in Puebla and Hidalgo. These communities are organizing against the final portion of the pipeline construction which if completed would run through key water sources and mountainous ancestral lands. Montes affirms that their struggle is not only to protect the land and Indigenous communities, but is also a fight against ongoing foreign corporate influence intertwined with political corruption in Mexico. In the face of intimidation and violence, Montes is spreading awareness of these corrupt actions to international activists for further support. Photo credit: [Video screenshot]
Jing Jing He is a community organizer with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), helping to uplift the voices of Asian immigrant communities in Oakland and Richmond, California. Due to her work as a fierce female leader championing renewable energy and jobs in her community, she was recognized by the national 100% Campaign and received a billboard in her honor. Photo credit: 100isNow
In this article, Zenobia Jeffries interviewed activist, facilitator and author Adrienne Maree Brown for the 1st anniversary of her book, Emergent Strategy, a concept she describes as “the way complex plans for action and complex systems for being together arise out of simple interactions”. In short, this means transforming oneself to transform the world. Adrienne addresses movements building and how to include racial justice in broader conversations beyond Black Lives Matter such as #neveragain and #metoo. In relation to movements building and organising, she touches on themes such as connectivity, trauma, resilience and the capacity to heal, the difference between punitive, restorative and transformative justice, and pleasure activism. She suggests that pillars issues like climate change, racism and materialism are not going to be resolved overnight, but are transformative conditions that can be addressed through small compelling experiments and narratives becoming large enough to change the shape of society. Photo Credit: Bree Gant
Impunity For Violence Against Women Defenders Of Territory, Common Goods, And Nature In Latin America
This report by Urgent Action Fund of Latin America and the Caribbean (UAF-LAC) analyzes the condition of women who defend environmental rights in Latin American countries. By analyzing the case studies of thirteen women defenders, a clear continuum of structural violence against the women emerges. On the one end, women defenders are subject to the criminalization of their activities and to harassment from various actors such as companies, the police, and the media. At the most extreme end of this violence continuum, women defenders are assassinated or “disappeared.” In cases such as these, the state, if it is not actively colluding with the perpetrators, often remains silent. UAF-LAC, then, calls for the state to protect women defenders by eliminating the impunity perpetrators currently enjoy, by eliminating the criminalization of defenders’ work and by creating a safe environment for them to work in. Specifically, the state must financially, politically, legally and psycho-socially support women defenders. Photo credit: UAF-LAC
Indigenous women are decolonizing land in the Bay Area through the Sogorea Te Land Trust, a grassroots, women-led organization that aims to reclaim Ohlone land. Refusing to have their culture and land erased by development, Corrina Gould, activist and leader of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone, and Johnella LaRose of Shoshone-Bannock and Carrizo, founded the organization in 2012. After a food justice organization donated a quarter-acre of land to the trust, other local NGOs, LGBTQ, faith groups and affluent residents are showing support. Leaders want to see the repatriated land return to Indigenous stewardship, through community gardens and ceremony, which will also generate more sustainable spaces. The Sogorea Te Land Trust has the potential to decolonize not only the land, but the minds of who is on that land. Photo Credit: SOGOREA TE LAND TRUST AND PLANTING JUSTICE/HuffPost
Climate change impacts more severely on women and is a significant impetus for female empowerment in the climate justice movement. This piece portrays women whose courage, inspiration and shared vulnerabilities in forms of resistance underscore their activism. By changing the narrative and creating herstory, these stories offer a symbol of strength, such as Joanna Sustento, the warrior of the storm, who is the sole survivor of the storm Haiyan that killed her family. With local female leaders, she heads community mobilisation for climate justice. Desiree Llanos Dee, campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, uses the power of storytelling to humanise climate justice issues and build more conscious communities with more people who care. Hettie Geenen, captain of the Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace ship, gives an international platform to the people and the planet through her tours. These are the women on the frontlines of the local, national and global climate justice movement. Photo Credit: Greenpeace
Women in India hold significant but overlooked roles in agriculture. The Census of India (2011) reveals nearly 98 million women have agricultural jobs. Due to decreasing economic opportunities in rural areas, young people and men are moving to urban areas, leaving women behind to farm. To recognize the importance of female farmers, the government of India declared October 15th as Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas (National Female Farmer Day). This is a great step forward given women have been historical left out of agricultural narratives. The way forward is to give land rights to women while strengthening the existing government policies for female farmers in India. Photo Credit: Vikas Choudhary
Unpaid domestic work is a burden on Indian women who are leaving formal work spaces to fulfill household duties. This unpaid labor, and women’s interests in general, are often left out of policy discussions, notes Ritu Dewan, Indian feminist economist. Jayati Ghosh, another economist, notes that women perform much more domestic work than men, leading to what is called time poverty. Action Aid, an international non-profit organization in Ghana, models and quantifies unpaid work, defining four main areas: unpaid care work, climate resistant sustainable agriculture, access to markets and violence against women. Time use surveys have led to legislation changes that can better distribute household duties. In Uruguay, for example, the state is responsible for providing care, freeing up more paid and leisure time for women. Photo Credit: Vikas Choudhary
GirlTrek, a national nonprofit organization, empowers Black women in the US by following in the footsteps of Black women leaders who have come before. Under the leadership of co-founders Vanessa Garrison and Morgan Dixon, the organization has motivated more than 100,000 Black women to prioritize self-care and social justice through public health campaigns. One group of women walked the entire length of Harriet Tubman’s Great Escape path on the Underground Railroad, paying tribute to the prominent Black feminist. Tubman’s legacy of liberation and emancipation carries the promise of freedom and justice for Black women all over the United States. By celebrating this radical history, GirlTrek gives Black women unapologetic courage to take control of their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Photo Credit: Yes Magazine
Indigenous land and rights defenders, Gloria Ushigua of Ecuador and Aura Tegria of Colombia, share the heart moving victories and struggles of their people against mega extraction projects on their land, weaving in significant moments from their personal stories. Gloria Ushigua is President of Sapara Women’s Association in Ecuador. She was publicly mocked on television by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa after protests in 2001 and violently persecuted after organizing significant mobilizations against oil drilling in 2015. Aura Tegria is an indigenous U’wa lawyer on the Legal Counsel to the U’wa people of Colombia. The childhood memories of her people organizing to protect their land inspired to become the U’Wa defender she is today. After intense protests, campaigns and legal action in 2014 and 2015, they successfully kicked out Occidental Petroleum followed by the successful dismantling of the large Magallanes gas well from their land. Part of the U’Wa resistance has also been against the Catholic and Evangelical church that historically promoted cultural extermination through their boarding schools for indigenous children and other oppressive practices. Both women share the history of their people’s resistance since colonization, their personal stories linked to that resistance, the recent struggles of their people and the inspiring victories.Photo Credit: Amazon Watch
This article relates Zintkala Mahpiya Win Blackowl’s experience of giving birth to her six children in the comfort of home and safety of a sacred space. Writer Sarah Sunshine Manning relates how a heavily pregnant Blackowl, who is Sicangu Lakota and Ihanktonwan Dakota, joined the Standing Sioux Rock reservation resistance camp. This is where she eventually gave birth to her baby girl, Mni Wiconi (Water of Life). This story reflects the larger Indigenous birth movement in which Native-American women reclaim not only their roles as life-givers and birth-workers, but also their rights to their bodies, traditions and birthing experiences. Counteracting the medicalised and colonised hospital-based birth environment, nurses such as Nicolle Gonzales, Navajo executive director of the Changing Woman Initiative, promotes Indigenous birth and midwifery knowledge; Jodi Lynn Maracle, traditional doula of the Tyendinaga Nohawl nation, works towards the reclaiming of Indigenous women’s powers, self-determination and ancestral traditions. Photo Credit: Unknown
At the Bond conference in London on international development, Vandana Shiva is a voice out of the chorus. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the mainstream women advancement narratives. According to her, the biggest challenge is getting to the point where women’s power, knowledge and production are being recognized. This is not possible within the framework of the formal economy because it is defined on the terms of the patriarchy by those in control of nature and society. Women living under principles of autonomy and dignity are called an informal economy, but they are simply living in a different system where the power of men over women is not the organizing principle. Photo credit: Stefano Guidi/Corbis via Getty Image
Rodrigo Rody Roa Duterte , the 16th president of Philippines was warned by two alliances recently to stop attack on human and Earth rights defenders. Women human right defenders had been facing constant attack under the Presidency, and for fighting against injustice and terror are often referred as “enemies of the state”. For fighting for their rights in the Cordillera, five women human right defenders, Rachel, Sarah, Sherry Mae, Joan, and Asia, faced false accusation and were threatened and harassed. Similarly, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Rachel Mariano, Joanne Villanueva, and Sherry Mae Soledad were also falsely accused for homicide. Just like Donald Trump in the U.S., Duterte is known for his sexist behavior and rape jokes. Photo Credit: Cultural Survival
Anti-pollution activist Phyllis Omido is finally receiving her day in court, after years at the forefront of a landmark class action suit demanding compensation and clean-up from a lead-smelting factory accused of poisoning residents of Owino Uhuru. The founder of the Centre for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action, Omido has already successfully forced the closure of the factory and is now seeking reparations for community members. A co-winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, Omido is paving the way for other environmental litigations – even in the face of constant intimidation and threats. However, for Omido, this is just the start, as there are 17 other communities fighting for compensation for lead poisoning with whom she plans to organize. Picture Credit: Jonathan Watts
Camila Donatti, Director with Conservation International (CI) while acknowledging the division of labor among men and women, does feel that women and men need an equal amount of training to share knowledge about climate change. It is the best solution to engage them in good work while respecting their time limits. Shyla Raghav, an Indian American Climate expert with CI believes to find the best solutions for climate change we need to connect the women’s issues with climate change issues. Similarly Kame Westerman, a gender adviser with CI shared her personal experience of being discriminated against because of her gender. Margot Wood, associate scientist with CI shares the same experience while working on the field. Photo Credit: Benjamin Drummand
Puerto Rico is in need of disaster relief that adequately addresses the disproportional impacts Hurricane Irma and Maria have had on Puerto Rican women. Women across the world are already more likely to experience higher rates of sexual violence, familial responsibilities, and restricted access to reproductive healthcare in the aftermath of climate disasters. Puerto Rican women in particular are at very high risk for intimate partner violence in the world without stressors such as natural emergencies. Given these statistics and the causal relationship between poverty and violence toward women, upcoming policies such as the new year budget must support women appropriately. Photo Credit: Mario Tama
This article as part of “Visions of 2018” explores the theme of transformation in activist movements. Written by Ejeris Dixon, a female grassroots organiser, we gain insight into how relationships can be improved within our groups, drawing on Dixon’s 15 years of experience. Call-out culture, neglect, secret maneuvers and a misalignment of values and actions can splinter and break groups. However, honesty, loyalty, integrity, accountability and commitment to personal transformation can repair relationships and rebuild trust. Essential transformations if social justice movements are to thrive in these oppressive times. Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout
In this article, winner of 2017 Nation Student Writing Contest Leehi Yona follows up on her thoughts about the most important issues of her generation. A community organiser, climate researcher and PhD student in environment and resources, Leehi reflects on the interconnectedness between wildfires and trans rights, Hurricane Irma and DACA. She argues that climate change is not a siloed issue and instead lies at the intersectionality of justice – racial, socio-economic, reproductive and environmental. She acknowledges the breadth of challenges faced by her generation, such as the ICE onslaught on undocumented immigrants, the cracked Antarctic ice sheet, the heat waves, xenophobia, fascism, Donald Trump’s policy of climate destruction, and how poor communities of color will be primarily affected by his environmental rollbacks. Whilst such trials can be overwhelming and strip people of hope for the future, Leehi proposes physical, social and spiritual resilience in response to these fights for equality. Photo Credit: Laura Hutchinson / Divest Dartmouth
Women who work on climate science, policy, journalism, or advocacy continue to face harassment from climate change deniers, often in the form of sexist and dismissive labels. Although patriarchy and gender inequality pervade many social spaces, research shows that men who value hierarchy are more inclined to hold sexist views and deny the climate crisis. While the research draws no firm conclusions, it illustrates the power imbalances that enable both sexism and climate denial and the need for intersectional climate narratives that demand justice across movements. Photo Credit: Katharine Hayhoe
Writer, activist, social justice facilitator (and more) Adrienne Maree Brown shares how the ‘wow’ or wonder of observing nature’s patterns of emergence can inspire social justice activism. Through extracts from conversations, she relates how people have gained and been transformed by exposure to nature, and how these exchanges have influenced her learning process in emergent strategy. Adrienne explains that paying attention to the beauty, magic, miracles and patterns of the natural world teaches about emergence. She refers to liberation educator and organiser Adaku Utah and her lessons from Mycelium Mushrooms in cultivating trust as an organising strategy (the mycelium organism uses trust as a mechanism to build and sustain an interconnected and mutually sustainable underground network with tree and plant roots). Adrienne also quotes independent strategist Ashingi Maxton on the pace of water, and to community organizer Hannah Sassaman on the learning from the seasons as teachers of evolution. Photo Credit: Ashim D’Silva/Unsplash