Though South America has many water sources, many communities in the region go without sufficient clean drinking water. Lack of water puts a serious strain on women’s lives as well as their ability to farm. This is particularly true of Bolivian women living in the Chaco area, a region that is dry for many months of the year. During the dry period, communities rely on the muddy water that remains in the bed of the Rio Grande. Purifying the water with a local plant helps but it yields a product that is far from potable. The CASA Socioenvironmental Fund is an organization that runs many projects across South America with the objective of empowering local women so they can better serve their community and further environmental justice. The projects include water storage tanks for specific regions, developing farmers associations, and supporting indigenous female leaders. Video Credit: Fundo Casa Socioambiental. Caption: Video is in Spanish, but English subtitles are available.
Women are responsible for carrying water home, storing it, and managing household supplies but are still ignored when it comes to important water management decisions. Incorporating women’s voices into water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues empowers the women themselves while simultaneously leading to better results. For instance, including women in the movement to curtail open defecation in rural Bangladesh led to success because the specific needs and desires of the women were then met. Specifically, because of this input, the toilets that were to be placed in rural communities were designed with gender specific needs in mind as well as placed in locations amenable to local women. Photo Credit: Dilip Banerjee
Women Environmental Defenders Condemn Systemic Abuses Before The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
This Earth Rights International (ERI) media release summarises the submission of a delegation of women environmental defenders from the Americas who testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The delegation condemned widespread and unjust criminalisation and repression against defenders of rights of land, territories, and environmental protection. The testimonies presented in this thematic hearing, which denounced instances of exceptional cases of attacks against environmental defenders, was led by Columbian human rights lawyer Julian Bravo Valencia, ERI’s Amazon Program Coordinator. Several women testified, including two women from Acción Ecológica, Esperanza Martinez Yanez and Ivonne Ramos, whose experiences highlight the sexism disproportionately affecting women defenders in the Americas. At a time when the interests of corporations and their impunity in committing rights violations is rife, the hearing aimed to produce a report which presents extreme examples of human rights abuses in Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and the United States. Photo Credit: Earth Rights International
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
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.
Jilian Hishaw’s organisation, Family Agriculture and Resource Management Services (FARMS) is advocating for black farmer rights not only for today, but also for future generations. With only 2% of the country’s farm population consisting of black farmers, the services this organisation provides aids vulnerable farmers who often face discrimination by the USDA and who lose land at a rate of 30,000 acres per year. These services are available for all farmers from historically disadvantaged group in South Eastern states in the United States and their legal and technical assistance, including grant application help, fundraisers, agricultural law and foreclosure help, aid in retaining ownership of their land. Furthermore, the FARMS to Food Bank program aims to support farmers in selling surplus produce and meat at a reduced price to the food banks in their communities, thus also contributing to food insecurity solutions in these areas. Photo credit: Jilian Hishaw
In an effort to push back against large agriculture corporations and establish seed sovereignty among local communities, renowned scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva and farmer Bija Devi collect seeds and run education programs at the Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in Uttarakhand, India. Bija has collected over 1500 varieties of seeds and details her seed collecting methods and practices throughout the video. Dr. Shiva argues that as the keepers of life, women need to be collecting seeds and leading the fight for food sovereignty. In critiquing capitalist corporations she explains there are only two options for the future: a woman-led “living” future or a corporation-led “toxic” future. Photo Credit: Seed Freedom
Ou Hongyi, also known as Howey Ou is an 18-year-old activist who is among a small number of youth outwardly fighting for climate justice in China. Writer Heather Chen interviews Ou Hongyi on the courageous work she has done as the first known young person to speak truth to power and demand climate action in her home country. Inspired by her personal connection to nature and animals along with Greta Thunberg and the global youth movement, Ou has protested in her hometown of Guilin for over a year. Since protesting is illegal in China, she has not received the same support youth activists abroad have, but this has not stopped her. Although she was banned from school and has experienced divisions with family members, many of her peers have encouraged her to continue to expand public awareness of the climate crisis and to hold leaders in China accountable. Photo credit: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP, VICE News
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.
Hannah Gross is one of 10,000 female wild land firefighters in the United States. In this historically male-dominated field women often face implicit bias, sexism, and gatekeepers who didn’t make them welcome. Various initiatives have been created to increase the number of women in fire, foster their leadership capabilities, and improve their operational confidence in the field. Thanks to some of these initiatives women are present in every facet of the wildland fire world. Photo Credit: Alex Potter
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)
During the World Skull Forum, an intergenerational and intercultural panel of women climate activists hosted a webinar on the lessons we can learn during the COVID-19 crisis in order to pave the way for a green recovery and a just transition. Notwithstanding its drastic negative impacts, the current pandemic has also proven the capability of the global community for changing behaviour quickly and profoundly in the face of a serious crisis. Therefore, the panelists urged for the climate crisis to be taken just as seriously, underlining the importance of science and traditional knowledge, human behaviour and collaboration. Photo Credit: Skoll Foundation & Rockefeller Foundation
Isabel Wisum became the first woman to be elected Vice President of Achuar Nation of Ecuador (NAE) in 2016, and the first woman to have a leadership position in that community. She has supported the maternal and neonatal health of other women in the Amazon rainforest, empowering generations of women as rainforest guardians. A trained community health promoter, her leadership inspires other women of NAE to participate in the local decision-making process, helping to build resilience for her culture, land and people. Photo Credits: Pachamama
Young women and girls from the frontlines of climate change are taking climate action into their own hands amidst a global pandemic. Eight-year-old Licypriya Devi Kangujam, from New Delhi, India, founded The Child Movement and stands for climate action and legislative environmental protection in India. Alexandria Villaseñor and Leah Namugerwa are leaders with Fridays for Future, where they participate in the global School Strike 4 Climate. While sheltering at home, Villaseñor encourages that we should be consuming less and promoting a sharing economy. These young women and girl activists suggest how we can all be part of the climate movement and understand its links to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Alexandria Villaseñor
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
Bayarjargal Agvaantseren is a Mongolian activist and conservationist who has created the first snow leopard sanctuary in the world. Raised by a family of teachers, she grew up in northern Mongolia with her own educational path shifting toward conservation as she engaged with rural herders who wanted to protect their livestock from the leopards. Her tireless efforts led to her starting the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation with a focus on community-driven programs that protect both the herders’ livestock as well as the snow leopard population. Agvaantseren has also held the Mongolian government accountable by successfully pressuring them to cancel 37 mining licenses of companies who have played a major role in threatening the habitat of the native snow leopard. The Tost Tosonbumba nature reserve in the south Gobi Desert encompasses 1.8 million acres that now protect the snow leopard population and is primarily managed by local communities. Photo credit: Positive.News
In this article first published in the Local (Swedish) newspaper, Greta Thunberg describes herself as a climate radical. At 15 years old, she decided to make a stand for climate change by protesting outside Sweden’s Parliament every day so politicians would take climate issues seriously. The choice of location ensured the protest would attract attention from tourists and professionals passing by; such as being approached by Minister for Social Affairs Annika Strandhäll. Greta chose to raise awareness about climate change and counteract the lack of youth voting power by refusing to attend school, which is obligatory until the age of 16. Involved in environmental issues since she was 11, Greta started organising herself to do something about the worrying effects of climate change. By the 5th day of protest, she was joined by 35 people sitting outside parliament, including Fatemeh Khavari, spokesman for the young Afghans against Swedish deportations policy. Photo Credit: Catherine Edwards/The Local
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
On March 26, 1973, a young girl spotted loggers heading towards Gopeshwar forest near the small village of Reni, in Uttarakhand. The village advisor, Gaura Devi, recruited 300 village women to hug trees in the forest and physically prevent their deforestation. As large corporations attempted to log near other rural villages, the local women hugged the trees, drawing inspiration from the events at Reni. The movement soon earned the title of the “Chipko andolan,” meaning the “stick-to movement.” Finding its roots in the 1730 Indian tree revolt, and using guiding principles from the Gandhian philosophy of self-sufficiency and self-sustenance, the woman-led Chipko Movement serves as a precursor for modern environmentalism. Photo Credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty
Sana Javeri Kadri, a queer immigrant woman of colour, is challenging colonial trade practices with her Oakland-based company, Diaspora Co. Her company aims to support sustainable agricultural practices within the turmeric industry, provide fair compensation to Indian farmers (above ten times the market price), and empower marginalized communities. Diaspora Co. sources their turmeric from Kasaraneni Prabhu, a fourth-generation turmeric farmer working in Southeast India who uses traditional pest control methods involving companion crops. Javeri Kadri also hires queer, especially those of colour, whenever possible aiming to be radically inclusive in order to counter the social injustices and inequities prevalent in the food industry. Photo credit: Elazar Sontag
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
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
When Kristen Nicole, founder of Women in Solar Energy, penned an open letter calling out the hyper-masculine and ‘booth babe’ culture that portrayed women as sex objects, it sparked a revolution within the industry to start examining their women-specific policies and initiatives. The solar conference culture perpetuates objectification with abhorrent displays such as women in cages dressed in leather cat outfits. However, numerous programs aimed at addressing gender diversity and increasing women’s participation in the field have grown in response. SEIA’s Women Empowerment Initiative as well as Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy campaigns have contributed to the shift in the awareness around the need for diversity. Whilst more female workers make up the solar industry today, and there are more women speakers at conferences, there are still shortcomings in that women continue to earn less than men and face barriers in climbing up the career ladder. Women of colour are also disproportionately affected, and Erica Mackie, co-founder and CEO of GRID Alternatives, calls for the solar industry to not just be energy-centred but also justice-focussed, and to recognise the intersection between race and gender inequities. GRID’s Women in Solar Program aids women from diverse backgrounds and their She Shines retreat is aimed as a training and team-building exercise for women in the industry. Photo credit: Stefano Paltera, US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
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
Emily Satterwhite detained the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for 14 hours by chaining herself to a backhoe. She is an active part of Appalachians Against Pipelines, defending the mountains and forests in West Virginia. In this interview, she discusses the role of lobbyists, the influence of corporate interest, and the struggle to keep fracking pipelines outside of the state. She refutes many myths regarding pipelines, emphasizing that Dominion Energy and it’s investors are profiting, but there is no benefit for West Virginians.Photo Credit: Thunderdomepolitics.com
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
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
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.
In 2008, Ecuador re-thought its democracy and included “Rights of Nature” in its constitution. Following in these footsteps, Shannon Biggs (United States), Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, United States), Pella Thiel (Sweden), Pablo Solón (Bolivia) and Henny Freitas (Brazil) have also started the process to incorporate the Rights of Nature into national legal frameworks. Mari Margil, associate director of the U.S. Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, helped draft state-wide legislation, the first of its kind in the world. Pablo Solon, an environmental and social activist as well as former ambassador of the United Nations, acknowledges that nature helps humans be more humane. Similarly, Patricia Gualinga, former director of Sarayaku Kichwa Native People’s head of international relations, views nature as an actor in democracy rather as an outside subject. Photo Credit: Hugo Pavon/Universidad Andina
The murder of Earth Defenders is on the rise, especially throughout Latin America, according to Global Watch. Nevertheless, Colombian women like Jackeline Romero Epiayu, Briceida Lemos Rivera, Isabel Zuleta, and Nini Johana Cárdenas Rueda continuously fight for the land and their livelihoods. Through community organization and outreach, these women are bravely resisting the expansion of mining industries and infrastructure projects that have devastating impacts on the environment and local communities. But with such force comes danger as these four women are facing harassment from Colombian authorities, anonymous threats to their lives and loved ones, and have even escaped attempted kidnappings and murders. Photo Credit: Ynske Boersman
Women across Mozambique and Tanzania are organizing their communities to improve local livelihood through sustainability and the protection of natural resources. This inspirational blog by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) explores the stories of various community leaders building long lasting projects. Like the story of Alima Chereira, who formed an agricultural association that teaches women climate-resilient farming practices. Or entrepreneur Fatima Apacur, who helped her community form a savings association that uses the ancient practice of group savings and pooling wealth to help community members invest in the future. Photo Credit: WWF/ James Morgan
Diana Mbogo and Margaretha Subekti are two female entrepreneurs expanding energy access and transforming daily life for their local communities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and West Manggarai, Indonesia, respectively. In Dar es Salaam, where power outages are a persistent issue, Mbogo provides technical assistance and sells small-scale energy solutions to residents interested in renewable energy through her company Millennium Engineers. She is driven by the fact that energy is the backbone of development. In West Manggarai, Subekti empowers rural women and encourage sustainability through multiple people-centered businesses that she has founded. As a beneficiary and now leader of Kopernik’s Wonder Women program, she manages and supports over thirty women implementing recycling/upcycling projects and selling clean energy products in the community to foster economic independence. Additionally, Subekti’s Rumah Pintar offers community and guidance to neighborhood women and children and her local coffee shop maintains a strong business model of supporting local farmers.
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
Indigenous women organizers lead Solidarity to Solutions Week (Sol2Sol) during the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, CA. Kandi Mossett with the Indigenous Environmental Network grew up in the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota whose community experienced high cancer rates from close proximity to coal plants and uranium mining. Isabella Zizi with Idle No More SF Bay was raised in Richmond, California near the Chevron refinery with accidents disproportionately impacting Indigenous and communities of color. The week of action criticizes politicians who cling to false solutions to the climate crisis that support the fossil fuel industry and market-based solutions while leaving out frontline communities. Mossett and Zizi describe alternative community-based events during Sol2Sol including a People’s Climate March led by the Ohlone people native to the Bay Area, prayer ceremonies on sacred sites, visits to nearby sustainable farms, and educational workshops. Photo credit: Daniela Kantorova/Flickr
This Guardian article highlights former Irish president Mary Robinson’s effort to create a global movement called Mothers of Invention that promotes a ‘feminist solution for climate change, which is a manmade problem’. Former UN commissioner for human rights and member of the Elders group, Mary understands how global warming adversely affects women and has focused on climate justice for over 15 years with the Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice. The Mothers of Invention initiative presents positive stories of both local and global grassroots climate activists, through a podcast series featuring women scientists, politicians, farmers and indigenous community leaders from Europe, the Americas, Africa and beyond. Reaching women around the world, the podcast is co-presented by Irish-born and New-York based comedian Maeve Higgins. Together, they broach such topics as colonialism, racism, poverty, migration and social justice, all bound up to feminism, through a light-hearted and optimistic approach intended to be fun. Photo Credit: Ruth Medjber
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.
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
“Recycling alone will never stem the flow of plastics into our ocean. We must address the problem at the source” says Annie Leonard, creator of the Story of Stuff, which sheds a light on the ways we produce, use and dispose of the stuff in our lives. We’ve been told that the problem of plastic packaging can be solved through better individual action, but recycling alone is not enough. We need corporations to show accountability for what they have created, because they are well positioned with their profits and innovation labs to help move us beyond single-use plastics - says the author. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Image
Emily Satterwhite, an Appalachian Studies Professor at Virginia Tech, blocked the Mountain Valley Pipeline crossing through Brush Mountains for 14 hours. She used a sleeping dragon to lock herself 20 feet off the ground to the excavator but was later lowered down by law enforcement. With this technique, her arms were inserted at each end of an elbow-shaped piece of pipe, and her hands chained together inside the pipe, making it difficult for her to be removed from the equipment. She chose to protest the pipeline because it threatens the nearby environment. Photo Credit: Heather Rousseu/The Roanake Times
Members of the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT) -- a grassroots community of landless farmers -- are being confronted with harassment from military officials in the form of unlawful arrests, human rights abuses, and even murder in an attempt to displace the residing populations from the land for commercial use. Despite authoritarian rule, gender-based discrimination, and impending issues of safety, Thai women land and environment defenders are risking their lives in order to ensure the protection of human rights for not only themselves but for their small-scale farming communities as well. In May of 2018, women from the SPFT gathered in Bangkok demanding support from the United Nations offices and government agencies. By challenging unjust land rights and management policies and commanding reparations for human rights abuses, these women have pushed authorities to agree upon land titles for the community and to cease the wrongful prosecutions against villagers. Photo credit: Use Default
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
In this BBC News report, we are introduced to the Under the Eye conference, held in London in March 2018. Guest speakers addressed environmental issues from a female perspective and included policy makers, scientists and artists, such as author Margaret Atwood, former Morocco's minister Hakima El Haité, and Green MP Caroline Lucas. They highlighted the close link between ocean pollution, climate change, poverty and women, and confirmed the disproportionate impact and adverse effects of natural disasters on women globally. Notwithstanding, they deplored the lack of female voices in high level decision making discussions on environmental and climate policy, despite women organising and resisting in the front line of natural disasters. Former UN diplomat Christiana Figures described the Paris agreement 2015 as a women-led collaborative venture and advocated that more women should be included in climate policy making negotiations, for they are the drivers and part of the solution. Photo Credit: Invisible Dust
In this article, booker-prize winning author Margaret Atwood warns that climate change is ‘everything change’, and will bring a dystopian future, much like in her ‘speculative fictions’. Margaret associates climate change with social unrest, civil wars, brutal repression and totalitarianism – a worsening in women’s hardship and struggles. Under Her Eye was a two-day festival, titled after a chapter from Margaret’s The Handmaid's Tale. Alice Sharp, director of arts and science organisation Invisible Dust, was the festival’s curator that brought together prominent figures from the arts, politics and science to focus on women, their futures under climate change and environmental damage, and proposals to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Christiana Figures, former UN climate chief coordinating the Paris climate agreement 2015 is hopeful that women environmental activism and leadership is increasing. Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party, adds that the arts have an important role to play in the future. Photo Credit: Liam Sharp
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
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
In the Ecuadorian Amazon, women from different indigenous frontline-communities are leading the protests against further oil and mining concessions. As they see the wellbeing of the people and an intact environment as inextricably linked, they frame their struggle against resource exploitation as a human rights issue. In the areas affected by former oil drilling, the water and soil contamination from former oil wells pose a great health risk to the residents and deteriorate formerly fertile soil. Additionally, women living in towns where oil extraction occurs have been found to face a greater risk of gender-based violence. Photo credit: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna hosted the Climate Leaders’ Summit, gathering fearless women from all over the world, including representatives from the public, private, academic, and civil society sectors working to create solutions to the climate crisis. The summit’s main focus was on women’s leadership, working to ensure female participation in climate policymaking, environmental science, and engineering, and technological innovation. Photo Credit: UN Environment
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
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people has fled her home in the Philippines due being falsely accused as a terrorist by Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte. Going home is now unsafe for Ms. Tauli-Corpuz due to her powerful stance on land rights for indigenous communities. Recently, she was included on a list of suspected terrorists by the Filipino Government. While the Filipino Government has insisted this designation is due to ties to banned leftist groups, her criticism of the military forced displacement of indigenous people in Mindanao, Philippines is likely the cause. Along with her vocal criticism of displacement, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has also focused much of her energy on climate change and the inclusion of indigenous people in climate justice - a stance that has jolted the international forefront. Photo Credit: Annie Ling for The New York Times
Faith Gemmill sees the effects of climate chaos firsthand, and has the solutions: she is executive director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), a grassroots Indigenous environmental network fighting to protect Indigenous land and culture in Alaska. Gemmill, Pit River/Wintu and Neets’aiiGwish’in Athabascan, lives a land-based, subsistence lifestyle in an Alaskan village next to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 110 miles above the Arctic circle. Her community’s livelihood depends on the Porcupine Caribou Herd -- but oil companies directly target this sacred birthplace and nursery, and rising temperatures have already caused many climate refugees to relocate. REDOIL provides knowledge and resources to build resilience in this vulnerable region. Because Gemmill’s community lives in intimate interdependence with the “biological heart” of the Arctic Refuge, they have been fighting for human rights for decades, with no sign of stopping. Photo Credit: MrsGreensWorld
Francia Márquez is among the female earth defenders recognized by the Goldman Environmental Prize for their longstanding role in standing up to social and environmental injustices despite constant threats to their lives from powerful vested interests. A lifetime Afro-Colombian activist, law student, and single mother of two, Márquez led 80 women on a long, 10-day march that pressured the Colombian government to remove illegal miners polluting local rivers. In addition to Márquez, the female recipients were Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid from South Africa, Nguy Thi Khanh from Vietnam, LeeAnne Walters from the United States, and Claire Nouvian from France who have fought to protect vulnerable communities from polluting resources. Photo credit: Goldman Environmental Prize
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
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
Dineen O’Rourke was moved to step into leadership in the climate justice movement after experiencing the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy in her community in Long Island, New York City in 2012. She has since become a powerful voice in the movement through her ongoing initiatives promoting community building, policy advocacy, direct actions, and storytelling. In 2017, O’Rourke and fellow climate justice advocate, Karina Gonzalez, co-led a delegation of 15 youth from different parts of the United States to attend the 23rd annual United Nations ‘Conference of the Parties’ climate negotiations. Despite the lack of political will exhibited by the United States during COP23, O’Rourke, Gonzalez, and a crowd of supporters protested false solutions presented by the fossil fuel industry to hold elected officials accountable. Photo credit: Dineen O'Rourke
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]
Kanchan Dawn Hunter of Spiral Gardens, Kelly Carlisle, founder of Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, and Gail Myers, founder of Farms to Grow, are three women of colour who are challenging the dominant image of white, male farmers in the agricultural industry. Females farmers are underrepresented both in terms of ownership but also with respect to the power dynamics in the agricultural system. For them, the act of growing food is intrinsically political, and is a way of empowering marginalized communities to re-establish their food sovereignty and restore their connection with themselves and planet Earth. Spiral Gardens provides free educational programs taught at its community farm and hosts community work days. Acta Non Verba aims to empower young people through urban farming and conducts field trips and farm visits. Farms to Grow supports marginalized farmers around the country who are practicing sustainable agriculture. Other organizations such as MESA and Urban Tilth also work to support a sustainable and equitable food industry. Photo Credit: Andria Lo.
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
On International Women’s Day, in Puyo, the capital of Pastaza, Ecuador’s biggest Amazonian province, over 350 Indigenous women from across Amazonia marched to pressure the Ecuadorian government for failing to meet commitments to Indigenous communities. The march was followed by a 3-day gathering led by female Indigenous leaders from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CPONFENAIE). With leaders from 7 Amazonian nations present (Andoa, Achuar, Kichua, Shuar, Shiwiar, Sapara and Waorani) attendees established the Assembly of Amazonian Women. During her long awaited speech Patricia Gualinga, the well-known Sarayaku leader, outlined her community’s proposal to protect the Amazon, Kawsak Sacha “Living Forest”. The proposal seeks to leave responsibility of forest protection to Indigenous communities who have a holistic relation to nature. Photo credit: Andrés Viera V. (March in Puyo on Women’s Day)
Indigenous women leaders throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon are committed to the longstanding fight for Indigenous territorial autonomy, women’s rights, and environmental protection. On International’s Women Day, about 350 of them gathered in the city of Puyo to protest the extractive industries in their communities and their role in mass displacement and environmental contamination. For leaders including Hilda Ande of the Quichua nation and Ena Santi from the Sarayaku territory, legal and physical protections for women are critical needs because of the acute violence and abuse women face due to exploitative industries disrupting traditional lifestyles and ecosystems. The march began with a traditional cleansing ritual to pay respects to the earth and reignite their spirits and ended with speeches by numerous women representing diverse nationalities such as the Quechua, Woarani, Zapara, and Sarayaku. Photo credit: Kimberley Brown/Mongabay
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
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
Across Honduras, woman activists are fighting for their rights, even in the face of physical and sexual violence, intimidation, incarceration, and sometimes death. Berta Cáceres, who was the co-founder of Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH) and fought tirelessly against the construction of the sacred Agua Zarca Dam, was gunned down on March 3, 2016. The government, run by President Juan Orlando Hernández, has rejected calls for an independent investigation of her murder. He has also been accused by Human Rights Watch of actively contributing to the oppression of women and girls in Honduras, and a UN report stated that the administration has paid “minimal attention to” gender empowerment. Cáceres’ death has sparked protests and political action nationally and internationally as women call for an end to gender-based violence. In Honduras, a woman is murdered every 16 hours, a number that increased by 263 per cent between 2005 and 2013. Tragically, 96 per cent of femicides reported are never solved. Still, even in the face of bleak statistics, women leaders in Honduras claim that some changes are being made, particularly as the daughters of Cáceres lead the continuation of her fight. Photo Credit: Elizabeth McSheffrey (use photo of Berta posters in chapter 1)
Purépecha activist Guadalupe Campanur Tapia was a courageous Indigenous woman human rights and Earth defender of Cherán, Michocán, Mexico. Her bravery and leadership helped mobilize local Indigenous communities to protect regional forests against illegal logging, and to claim independence against a corrupt government. However, her activism resulted in threats of violence from organized crime groups, and she was murdered in January 2018. Campanur is among an increasing number of defenders across the globe who have been killed in recent years, especially women. This article recounts Guadalupes death in the context of the 312 defenders across 27 countries who were murdered in 2017. Photo credit: Cultural Survival
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
Women are disproportionately more susceptible to the impacts of climate change due to the hindrances caused by gender inequality that they must also face. The report written by UN Women on “Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, draws attention to the need to place gender equality front and centre throughout the implementation of the SDGs Agenda. The report highlights that, globally, more than one quarter of women work in agriculture. As the impacts of climate change on agriculture are already being severely felt, this is one of the areas that needs urgent action. Women face many restraints in accessing land, agricultural inputs and credit which increase their vulnerability reducing their resilience against climate change. However, women are an important representation of strength for combating climate change, they are not just victims. The report emphasizes that diverse women must be present in decision-making environments to ensure inclusive mitigation and adaptation to climate change at local, national and international levels. The UNFCCC has been increasingly recognizing the importance of equal gender representation in the development of gender responsive climate policies. In fact, the Gender Action Plan (GAP) was adopted at the COP23 to guide this goal.
Ta’ah is an elder indigenous to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, or what has been known as Canada. With her team of six women, she has been working vigorously for climate justice and indigenous sovereignty with the award-winning organization Indigenous Climate Action (ICA). ICA empowers indigenous communities across Canada to strengthen the solutions that already exist in different nations, from tiny houses to building partnerships. Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, the organization’s executive director and founder, has seen her native homeland of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation struggle due to tar sands and other harmful extraction. Because their communities has experienced so much cultural and environmental devastation, they look to the next generation for hope. Indigenous activist Kanahus Manuel says that indigenous people already practice sustainability, and calls on everybody to cease the destruction of the environment. Photo Credit: Lauren Marina
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
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
Yolanda Maturana dedicated her life to defending Colombia’s wildlife and forests, and was an opponent of illegal mining and water contamination in the central and north western Colombian departments of Risaralda and Choco. Because of her activism she was brutally assassinated in her home, in the village of Santa Cecilia. Across the country, violence is escalating towards environmental activists, a trend congruent with global patterns, but also influenced by Colombia’s brutal and continuing war. Photo credit: @yolandamaturana
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
In a powerfully raw and attention-demanding short film, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna use poetry and imagery to showcase their inextricably linked climate realities of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Jetñil-Kijiner and Niviâna highlight the interconnections between their ice and sea worlds and make it known that the rest of the world is as connected to our global climate change reality. The two women affirm that colonizers largely responsible for climate impacts can only hide behind screens and watch island and glacial ancestral homelands disappear for so long before they too are affected. Jetñil-Kijiner and Niviâna demand colonizer participation in climate action, and avow that they will not disappear while the world remains silent. Their poetic language showcases the strength and resilience of their communities and places the responsibility for climate change impacts squarely on colonizers’ shoulders. Jetñil-Kijiner and Niviâna declare that colonizers will no longer decide who will live and who will die--that, together, each and every one of us must decide if we will rise. Video credit: Dan Lin, Director
Female directors Anne Sommerfield, Hannah Ward, and Clare Dornan are behind a landmark moment in broadcasting history: Their natural history series Animals with Cameras will be the first from BBC One to be entirely led by women. On their programme, threatened animal communities—ranging from meerkats and chimps to cheetahs and penguins—will be equipped with small, lightweight body cameras to help scientists better understand and protect vulnerable species. Their work comes at a time when there is a growing spotlight on women’s underrepresentation in film and television, especially on the awards stage. As the “best candidates for the job,” Sommerfield, Ward, and Dornan are bringing a female lens to stories of wildlife conservation. Photo credit: Anne Sommerfield/BBC
At 2018 Women’s March events across the United States, Indigenous women stood in visible contrast to the bright pink pussy hats worn by the other marchers. Indigenous women donned red in remembrance of the missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in the United States and Canada. The red color shows solidarity against discriminatory practices of the state, judicial system and the increasing violence against indigenous women. Sarafina Joe, a tribal citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation marched holding a red banner with the name of her sister, Nicole Joe on it, Nicole Joe, who died due to domestic violence. Devastatingly, her culprit was only charged with aggravated assault rather than murder. The number of such cases has been increasing among young Indigenous women, a tragedy still left unspoken by the masses and mainstream media. Photo Credit: Jenni Monet/ PBS
Marshallese poet and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner uses the power of poetry to humanize the climate crisis faced by Pacific nations and demand swift global action. Her spoken word performance of Dear Matafele Peinem at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit was an impassioned call to action to ensure a safe, vibrant earth and rich cultural heritage for future generations. Her poem was met with acclaim and helped to convey the threat of rising sea levels and more frequent flooding to her home nation. She continues to advocate through her art as well as her work with Jo-Jikum, a nonprofit educating and empowering Marshallese youth on climate change. Photo Credit: The Adelaide Review
A new era of intensified government controls and restricted freedoms is hindering Human Rights Defenders from voicing their opinions. Constraints have been placed on feminist human rights and gender justice activists through government laws and restrictions. Berkeley Law and the Urgent Action Sister Fund adopt a human rights framework and gender approach to analyze the phenomenon of “closing space” and the challenges it poses for women human rights defenders and their innovative resistance strategies.
Feminist writer and activist Rebecca Solnit has earned another title amidst the political turmoil of 2017: “the Voice of the Resistance.” Often reflecting on unjust and inept systems that target communities of color, the working class, and women from all walks of life, her writing has served as a beacon of hope and roadmap for action for many people confronting a Trump administration that continues to collude with Russia, dismantle environmental protections, and violate human rights. She is both energizer of and energized by the fervent wave of community organizing that has taken the streets and sounded the alarm. Photo credit: Shawn Calhoun
Jacqui Patterson has been fighting for social justice for years, bringing this expertise to her work as the Environmental and Climate Justice program director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Her international work started with HIV/AIDS advocacy, and she has uplifted stories of resilience from women across the U.S. and around the world. Patterson has spoken with South African women facing increased sexual violence because of climate-induced drought and food insecurity, interviewed women across the U.S. impacted by climate change and fighting for justice, and volunteered with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Seeing a need for more gender and race analysis in climate change conversations, Patterson helped co-found Women of Color United, a global solidarity network. As an African-American woman, she brings a rigorous intersectional analysis of race, gender, class and other social identities into all climate justice work, fighting for a just transition rooted in deep democracy.
Aleta Baun, Eva Susanti Hanafi Bande, and Rusmedia Lumban Gaol are just a few of the fierce grassroots leaders fighting against Indigenous cultural and environmental destruction in Indonesia’s rural areas. In July 2017, they gathered with some 50 defenders, most of them women, to share their stories and celebrate their courageous activism in the face of a socio-ecological crisis in their homeland. Timber, mining, palm oil, and other extractive industries have exhausted the country’s natural resources and defenders like Aleta, Eva, and Rusmedia have bravely opposed their efforts in the face of violence, internal persecution, and imprisonment. Photo credit: Lusia Arumingtyas/Mongabay-Indonesia
The global photovoltaic industry required hard work and dedication, especially during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s when the solar struggle in surviving as an industry needed the conviction of those working within it that it would one day lead the future of energy generation. The photovoltaic industry would not have come as far without the perseverance of eight key women who were fundamental in pioneering the solar scene of today. Izumi Kaizuka from Japan is an awardee of one of the most prestigious scientific awards in the global photovoltaic industry, the PVSEC Special Award,