In September of 2017, the Caribbean was hit by a series of deadly hurricanes, including the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane recorded in history. The storms had devastating impacts on human lives, infrastructure and the environment and might cause a serious setback to Caribbean economies in the future, many of which are based on tourism and agriculture. In her book “The Irma diaries: Compelling Survivor Stories from the Virgin Islands”, author Angela Burnett tells the story of 25 hurricane survivors. She warns that unless ambitious climate action is implemented, the series of hurricanes might offer only a first glimpse of what is to come in the future. Photo Credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images.
Women have historically played important roles in the Western North Carolina (WNC) farming industry. In more modern times, many WNC women are pursuing careers in agriculture and continuing the legacy of female farming in North Carolina. Prominent women in the WNC farming agriculture community include Susan English of English Dairy and English Farmstead Cheese, and Annie Louise Perkinson of Flying Cloud Farm. Both of these women manage farms that have been in their families for multiple generations. On the other hand, Gabi White of Patchwork Urban Farm and Lauren Rayburn of Rayburn Farm found careers in farming after studying agriculture-related subjects in college. Although many female WNC farmers hesitate to label themselves as farmers or as primary operators of the farm, together they are reshaping the traditionally masculine “farmer” stereotype. Photo Credit: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)
Kayla DeVault, an Anishinaabe/Shawnee woman and Master’s candidate in American Indian studies at Arizona State University, discusses the relationship between colonialism and architecture. DeVault describes Sky City, a village in the Pueblo of Acoma that has existed in (what is now known as) Arizona for about 2,000 years. Presently, the federal government controls a large portion of the Pueblo’s tribal housing program, with most of the funding coming from a grant program embedded in Western design principles that do not account for traditional cultural needs. DeVault highlights Wanda Dalla Costa, a Saddle Creek Cree woman and visiting professor at Arizona State University, whose work engages with the Gila River Indian Community to learn about traditional Indigenous building techniques/architecture, and the importance of these practices to cultural continuity. DeVault elaborates on the importance of traditional architecture, as it not only provides social and cultural benefits, but is also important for climate resiliency. Traditional construction methods have been developed over thousands of years and are well-adapted for local climates. Through her work, Dalla Costa hopes to integrate the teaching of these important traditional values into Western architectural programs, while also reviving traditional architecture throughout Arizona. Photo Credit: Illustrations by Julie Notarriani
In Latin American, women own less land and less productive land, even though they make up an integral part of the agricultural workforce and collective agricultural knowledge. The disregard for the work of peasant women stems from a gendered division of labor that creates a stark inequality between male and female land rights. Across Latin America, indigenous women and peasants have risen up against these disparities: in Brazil, the women of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and The Peasant Women’s Movement of Brazil (MMC) have both carried out campaigns; and La Vìa Campesina’s Jakarta Declaration highlights the need for female land rights and integral agrarian reform. Additionally, Bolivia’s government recognizes the harmful effects of patriarchal, capitalist structures in regards to female labour, and Zapatista communities include subsistence agriculture in their political beliefs. The nurturing relationship between women and land is essential to food sovereignty and integral agrarian reform. Photo Credit: grain.org
Ecologist Suzanne Simard brings a feminine lens to her research on forest communication networks, recognizing the limits of traditional scientific frameworks and emphasizing holistic ecosystems thinking. Using phrases like “forest wisdom” and “mother trees,” she elucidates how trees communicate with each other by sending nutrients via below-ground fungal networks. She is also exploring how these cooperative systems respond to environmental threats, such as climate change, pine beetle attacks, and clear-cutting. Her research will inform Canadian forest renewal practices with a focus resilience and regeneration. Photo credit: Yale Environment 360