The acceleration of forest fires in the West has made fire season 2 to 3 months longer than it was just a few decades ago. Climate change and wildfires are linked by mechanisms like higher temperatures, increased aridity, invasive species, earlier melting of snowpack etc. Climate change is not the single responsible factor for these fires and the natural ecosystem drivers of fire should be recognized.
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
Amid pandemic economic impact, many Latin American Indigenous immigrants have no choice but to do farm work in hazardous conditions during wildfires, increasing their vulnerability to COVID-19 due to their exposure to smoke. Movimiento Cultural de la Unión Indígena, an Indigenous workers’ group, is pushing for appropriate working regulations, in addition to providing economic and social assistance, especially to the undocumented suspicious of federal support. Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
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
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)
Ocasio-Cortez Demands Solar Company Rehire Workers Fired After Unionizing With Green New Deal in Mind
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the lead sponsor of the Green New Deal, which includes pro-justice and worker provisions in its effort to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. The need for these provisions became evident when twelve workers were fired from Bright Power, a solar energy company, after stating their intent to unionize. Ocasio-Cortez demands that Bright Power be held accountable and re-hire these twelve workers. She recognizes the danger of oil barons becoming renewable energy barons and continuing to exploit workers, regardless of the seemingly progressive purpose of their company. The Sunrise Movement and Senator Bernie Sanders also voiced their agreement with Ocasio-Cortez. Photo Credit: Bill Clark
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
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
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
A recent study, the first to focus on the effects of short-term exposure to pollution by women in urban areas, has found that air pollution is just as bad as smoking for pregnant women when it comes to increasing their risk of miscarriage. The findings of the study mention that air pollution is already known to harm foetuses by increasing the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. But this recent research found pollution particles in placentas. Rising levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions around the world has increased the risk of losing a pregnancy by 16%. Researchers compare it to how the increased risk of tobacco smoke in a woman’s first trimester can result in pregnancy loss. They recommend the best course of action is to cut the overall levels of pollution in urban areas. While they also recommend pregnant women to avoid exertion on polluted days and consider buying indoor filters, they recognize that in the developing countries, these are luxuries many can’t afford. Photo credit: Rex/Shutterstock
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
During the month of July, women and men, engaging in a “water walk,” walked two miles through the streets of New York City carrying empty buckets. Two miles is about the length women and girls walk in developing countries each day to obtain water, so this walk was carried out in order to symbolize their hard work. Moreover, the walk ended at the United Nations Building, so it was intended to remind policy makers about the importance of clean water as well as urge them to consider water a human right. The walk also called attention to the fact that access to water is important but if distance, cost, or other factors make that access prohibitive, then simple “access” is not enough. Photo credit: Water Aid
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
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
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
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
Environmental activist Ellen Gerhardt was arrested for protesting against the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The fracked-gas pipeline is supposed to be built on land that was from the 63-years-old by Sunonca using eminent domain.
In this article, young environmentalist Vic Barrett responds to gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner who dismissed a fellow activist as “young and naïve” when asked about his campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry. Barrett cites the urgency of a climate crisis that is already impacting the lives of many, and the fact that youth will have to pay for the apathy and greed of individuals like Wagner. While Wagner and others choose to demean and undermine the youth’s vision for a healthy and sustainable earth, she argues that youth will continue to hold politicians accountable and build a better future. Photo credit: Handout
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
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
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
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
Marion Nestle, an NYU professor in nutrition and an influential voice in food advocacy, has been working in changing the landscape of the food system for the past thirty years. A pioneer of the Food Studies program at NYU, this interdisciplinary field looks at food through a political lens throughout its course of production, consumption, and waste. For her, there exists so much confusion about what people should eat because of the power dynamics at play with agribusiness aiming to sell as much as possible at the lowest cost. Despite the consumer ‘movement’ influencing what companies put into their foods, top-down change is required to deal with systematic issues such as hunger. It is this sort of regulation that is extremely lacking in the Trump administration’s food policies. Whilst the food movement is fragmented in terms of goals and issues at stake, Nestle is optimistic with the role that young people can play in food advocacy, especially at a local level. Photo Credit: Bill Hayes.
Jaylyn Gough, a Diné outdoors woman, is addressing and changing colonial narratives of the outdoor industry. In 2017, Gough launched Native Women’s Wilderness. What began as a platform for Native girls and women to share photos of their outdoor experience has since morphed into a movement. One of Native Women’s Wilderness’ key initiatives is growing awareness around whose land is being explored and addressing the exclusivity and white centric culture of the outdoor industry. One idea is a symbolic reclaiming of the ancestral Paiute trade route, today known as the 210-mile John Muir Trail. Gough is optimistic that the shift towards reconciliation of the genocidal history of the United States can begin with the outdoor industry. Photo credit: Jayme Moye
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
Lorraine Herder belongs to a shepherd family: she grew up raising sheep and using its wool in a remote area on the Navajo reservation. But now, shrinking water reservoirs due to climate change are making it difficult to keep this tradition alive. Dr. Margaret Redsteer, a scientist at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, notes that the amount of groundwater has decreased drastically over the past century, putting a strain on the animals’ health and the Navajo way of life. The water crisis is also caused by other factors like coal mining, according to Nicole Horseherder, founder of non- profit organization “Scared Water Speaks”. Photo Credit: Sonia Narang/PRI
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)
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
In this 1-hour long podcast we meet Mary Anne Hitt, the Director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. Mary Anne has worked tirelessly toward achieving 3 main objectives: to stop the construction of new coal plants; to retire 2/3 of the current operating coal plants by 2020; and by 2030, to have a power grid in the United States that is free from fossil fuels. Mary Anne reflects on her passion to protect the environment and on the importance of taking action. Photo Credit: Mrs. Green World
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
Teresa “Red” Terry and her daughter, Minor, are perched 32 feet up in the trees. They are there to protect their family farm in a wooded enclave of Bent Mountain, Roanoke from the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which threatens not only the forest but the water supply of this region. Enduring harsh weather for three weeks, they also face formal charges of trespassing, obstruction of justice and interference of property rights. Their trees are surrounded by police waiting to arrest them -- but the two women, ages 61 and 30, remain committed to their protest, and community support is high, as they see the 300-mile pipeline as a violation with no local benefits. Photo credit: Michael S. Williamson/ The Washington Post
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
A group of women bakers in Los Angeles, California were selected to speak at the panel, “Bread Winners: A Conversation with Women in Bread,” organized by the California Grain Campaign in honor of Women’s History Month. The group of women assembled included baker Kate Pepper, California Grain Campaign Organizer Mai Nguyen, miller Nan Kohler, and baker Roxana Jullapat. The panel focused on the women’s involvement in the California Grain Campaign’s goal to push bakers to use 20 percent whole-grain, California grown-and-milled flours. During the panel Nguyen brought up the historical importance of women in agriculture, specifically in terms of seed conservation. Nguyen also expressed gratitude to cotton breeder Sally Fox, and chemist Monica Spiller, whose seed projects made Sonora Wheat a more familiar food amongst consumers. Photo Credit: Civil Eats
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.
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
Salt Point Seaweed is an all-female Bay Area company that is leading the way for global food insecurity solutions. Tessa Emmer, Catherine O’Hare and Avery Resor are harvesting wild seaweed from an open-water farm off the coast of Mendocino County. Having drawn inspiration from East African communities, particularly female aqua-farming in Zanzibar, this company hopes to popularize local varieties of seaweed (such as Gracilaria) in Northern California’s avant-garde, health-centered culinary scene. Seaweed’s ability to de-acidify waters coupled with virtually zero inputs required for growth, it’s numerous health benefits and budding potential to substitute for fossil fuels, as well as massive potential in contributing to increasing the world’s food supply mean that it is a global solution in the fight against climate change, ocean acidification, and unsustainable food systems. Photo credit: Salt Point Seaweed.
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
Former Trans Mountain environmental engineer, Romilly Cavanaugh, was arrested with students and youth for protesting and occupying Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain node of its controversial oil project. Despite being a former employee, she was motivated to stop the project knowing that an oil spill would cause long-term environmental damage because of limited recovery efforts. Her brave activism is among thousands of other solidarity actions and daily resistance women across British Columbia and Washington State. Photo credit: Coast Protectors
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
The new documentary, Dolores, celebrates the life of revolutionary Dolores Huerta. Huerta is an activist, organiser, cofounder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Due to sexism and discrimination she never received the same recognition as her UFW cofounder, Cesar Chavez. This documentary aims to make amends to this by demonstrating Huerta’s fearless leadership in the Farm Workers Movement. Huerta is also depicted raising awareness about the United States’ reliance on pesticides and industrial agriculture including the effects of exposure to toxic synthetic chemicals. Photo credit: Bioneers.
Steph Speirs founded Solstice with the vision of democratizing access to clean energy through community solar panels. With about 80 percent of Americans unable to install rooftop solar—whether it be due to building ownership, rooftop conditions, or cost barriers—she hopes to facilitate access to security, dignity, and opportunity by establishing an online marketplace for shares of neighborhood-based solar farms. Photo credit: Sierra Club
Dr. Samantha Joye is a marine biologist at the University of Georgia dedicated to exploring and protecting the deep sea ecosystem. After witnessing the environmental damage of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, she is working on Our Blue Planet initiative with BBC Earth and OceanX Media to inspire social media engagement and increased understanding of the ocean environment. Dr. Joye’s work is especially urgent as federal proposals for offshore drilling risk additional oil spills and negative ocean population impacts. Photo credit: OceanX Media
In this article, policy leaders Brooke Harper and Nicole Sitaraman outline the urgent need to realize Maryland’s clean energy future. They describe how access to clean energy, such as rooftop solar, offers an economic boost through energy savings and job opportunities as well as significant public health benefits and reduced healthcare costs. These benefits are in stark contrast to the high risks of asthma and cancer in African American communities due to disproportionate siting of oil and gas power plants. They go on to describe the year-long Solar Equity Initiative to facilitate this economic opportunity by providing workforce training, solar installations, and policy advocacy. Photo credit: Courtesy photos/LinkedIn
In this interview, Marie Hoff shares her efforts to embed environmental stewardship in local agricultural practices. An industrious entrepreneur committed to sustainability, she operates the Capella Grazing Project and launched Full Circle Wool last year, marrying the principles of carbon farming with wool production. Hoff produces wool and wool products that reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change by leveraging sustainable production processes and by displacing petroleum-based products. She hopes to improve people’s perception of wool as a resource through Full Circle Wool and by promoting the growth and expansion of industrial mills in the United States. US-based processing and manufacturing. Photo credit: Food and Fibers Project
On the legislative stage, Lissa Lucas took a stand against West Virginia lawmakers’ deep ties with the fossil fuel industry. In her testimony against legislation that would relax requirements for oil and gas drilling and weaken private land rights, Lucas read aloud campaign contributions that House Delegates had received from fossil fuel companies. However, she was cut off and forcibly removed from the chambers for her activism. Photo credit: West Virginia House of Delegates
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
Felicia Davis, Malissa “Mali” Hunter, and the Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley are the “Atlanta Power Women” - recently honored with billboards by ATL100, a national campaign celebrating clean energy leaders with equitable visions for the future. Davis directs Clark Atlanta University’s Building Green Initiative, which advances carbon-reducing strategies across historically black colleges and universities across the nation. Hunter promotes healthy eating and renewable energy as a chef and partner of Tree Sound Studios. As executive director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, McGregor Mosley helps the faith community reduce its carbon footprint. Photo credit: Itoro Umontuen
The term “feminism” continues to be debated in tribal communities. Laura Tohe, Indigenous scholar states, “There is no word for feminism in my language,” affirming, “there was no need for feminism because of our matrilineal culture”. Indigenous women, like Tohe seek to reconnect to the matriarchy and egalitarian roots of the land. The lived experiences of Indigenous women have been and continue to be different from those of white women. White women are oppressed by the patriarchy, but Indigenous women know that patriarchy alone is not the only source of their oppression. Colonialism, capitalism, racism, and rugged individualism work with patriarchy. Indigenous women have been organizing events and attending Women’s Marches across the United States to rematriate the space and spotlight the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren / AP
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
Instead of wearing pink “pussy hats” at the Women’s March in the United States, Indigenous women and their allies wore red to highlight the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and transgender people. From Phoenix, Arizona, to San Francisco and Seattle, Indigenous people led demonstrations, addressed the crowds and remembered their “stolen sisters”. 4 out of 5 Native women will encounter violence in their lifetime, more than half will experience domestic violence or sexual assault and in some areas the murder rate of Native American women is 10 times the national average. This violence which has been occurring for decades often goes unresolved, leaving loved ones feeling let down by, and sceptical of the justice system. Photo credit: Jenni Monet
The video series ‘Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science’, profiles Karletta Chief, Chief Hydrologist with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Indigenous woman of the Diné (Navajo) Bitter Water Clan. For many years, Karletta has been leading out work to study the quality and properties of water on the Navajo Nation, an arid region which is home to over 250,000 resident spread across sections of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. The land has been desecrated for decades by coal and uranium mining, as well as the oil and gas industry. In August 2015, the Gold King Mine spill dumped millions of tons of toxic waste water into local river systems, contaminating the Animas River which is a vital source of life and livelihoods across the region. Karletta is working ceaselessly with the community to address the many issues faced due to this latest toxic water threat. Photo credit: Science Friday
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
In June 2017, 23 year-old indigenous activist Jackie Fielder quit her job to join Mazaska Talks, an organization that promotes community divestment from banks that fund fossil fuel projects and companies. Inspired by the Seattle City Council’s commitment to divestment, Jackie has since been at the forefront of community-based divestment efforts, traveling around the country and the world to mobilize citizens towards similar local-level, legislative action. She has continued to mobilize her own community with the creation of the San Francisco Defund DAPL Chapter, in which she actively shatters negative stereotypes placed upon indigenous women and holds fossil fuel companies accountable for their contribution to climate change and cultural genocide. She has also traveled with other Indigenous women to meet with major banks in Europe to advocate for fossil fuel divestment. Photo Credit: Jackie Fielder
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.
Diane Archer, an artist from the United States, has dedicated her life to creating mixed media art pieces including drawings, quotes and embedded objects, which are inspired from geographical places, science, philosophy and deep ecological movement. One of the recurring features in her creations is maps, using them to represent and unfold stories about sense of place and our understanding of world outside and world within us. Photo Credit: Diane Archer / Earth is Land
May Boeve, co-founder of the international climate action organisation 350.org and winner of the 2006 Brower Youth Award, talks to the Earth Island Journal about the direction of the climate movement. Boeve represents one of the few young women among top leaders in big environmental groups in the United States. She highlights the need for the climate movement to engage with diverse communities, bridge political divides, and construct a strong narrative that doesn’t reinforce fear and hopelessness around climate change, but instead engages people based on their everyday lived reality. The interview concludes with a vital question; how broad can we grow the global climate movement, and more importantly, can we do it fast enough? Photo credit: Zoe Loftus-Farren
For over eight years, Kristen Graf has served as the executive director of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), formerly Women of Wind Energy (WOWE), empowering women in the renewable energy industry. Graf and WRISE have been instrumental in building community and fostering leadership to chart a path for women’s advancement and the industry’s success. Photo credit: WRISE
Women farmers in the United States are taking a stand against the exploitative, male-dominated, profit-oriented, conventional food and agricultural sector. In fact, since 1978, the number of U.S. women farm operators has grown by nearly 300 percent. Combating the gendered and racialized food system, these women are shifting the tides of injustice by growing food, organizing their communities, and changing policy. Photo Credit: Impact Photography
On December 10, 1997, environmentalist Julia “Butterfly” Hill, a member of Earth First! advocacy group, climbed to the top of a 200-foot-tall redwood tree in Northern California. Hill was protesting the destruction of nearby redwood forests by the Pacific Lumber Company. She slept on a 8 x 8 ft plywood platform in the 600-year-old tree named “Luna” for 738 days, withstanding El Niño storms and cold, wet winters. While her “tree-sitting” received criticism from Humboldt and lumberjacks, her nonviolent protest grabbed the attention of the press, and she was able to save the tree while simultaneously shedding light on the work of fellow environmental activists, and inspiring a generation of new young activists. Photo credit: Yann Gamblin/Paris Match via Getty Images
Maya van Rossum is leading the Green Amendment Movement to establish the constitutional right to a healthy environment at both the state and federal level. Currently, only two states—Pennsylvania and Montana—have similar provisions, but momentum for “environmental constitutionalism” is growing among policymakers and stakeholders, with the goal of mending the gaps in current environmental protection laws, and addressing increasing U.S. environmental degradation. In Pennsylvania, van Rossum and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network successfully invoked the constitutional provision against pro-drilling and fracking legislation in the state, despite a conservative Supreme Court, signaling a jumpstart to expanding this inalienable right across the nation and demanding government accountability.
Kimber Lanning is a distinguished advocate for local economic development in Arizona. Starting in 2003, she has built, Local First Arizona, into the largest alliance of local businesses in the United States. She actively eschews the tools and frameworks of traditional community developers who create jobs through large subsidies to big corporate chains. Lanning recognizes the benefits of a robust local economy, including economic competitiveness, greater diversity, commitment to sustainability, and intrinsic community-building and place-making value. She helps to level the playing field for Arizona’s homegrown businesses through myth-busting campaigns, an annual festival, a public directory, a Spanish micro-entrepreneurship program, and adaptive reuse programs to leverage old buildings for local entrepreneurs. Photo credit: YES! Magazine
Indigenous water protector, Karla Colon-Aponte, and pipeline protester, Priscilla Lynch, are among more than 100 activists who have been arrested at Kinder Morgan’s Connecticut Expansion Project despite nonviolent direct action. Cathy Kristofferson of the Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network and Abby Ferla of the Sugar Shack Alliance believe that the company’s payments to state law enforcement—which total over $950,000—may be influencing police priorities at the natural gas pipeline. These organizations and protestors hope to continue to highlight human rights injustices by mega energy infrastructure projects and the country’s harmful reliance on fossil fuels. Photo credit: Eoin Higgins
Women Speak: Casey Camp-Horinek Is Fighting Keystone XL In The Name Of Indigenous And Environmental Justice
Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwoman, elder and long-time Indigenous rights and environmental protector, speaks with Ms. Magazine about her experience growing up as an Indigenous woman, and her work in the movements to stop extraction projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline - and shares her advice to young women, mothers and fellow grandmothers who are taking a stand for their communities and the Earth. Photo credit: Emily Arasim/WECAN International
In Oakland, California, Indigenous women have established the Sogorea Te Land Trust in order to buy back stolen Indigenous territory. Led by Corrina Gould and Johnella LaRose, the Land Trust is a chance for Indigenous groups to undo, at least in part, centuries of cultural erasure. From Spanish Missions to the Gold Rush, native Californians have endured centuries of illegal land grabs and treaties that failed to recognize tribes. The idea for the Land Trust began seven years ago when a piece of waterfront on the Carquinez Strait was slated for development. Indigenous groups occupied the land and were able to successfully block contractors, but a lack of legal mechanisms to collectively own property made it impossible for them to claim the land for themselves. They decided to establish the women-led Trust with the hope that one day they would have blocks of land on which they could pray, dance, and create shared cultural space to reconnect with the land. Photo credit: Brian Feulner, Special To The Chronical
Women scientists are finding that climate change will likely pose significant threats to pregnant women and their embyros, a group often left out of public health concerns. Rupa Basu, chief of air and climate epidemiology at the California Environmental Protection Agency, had been researching the connection between health risks and air pollution for the past decade, and looked more into the effects of temperature. Her research found that increasing heat and humidity raise the likelihood of premature and stillbirths every year. Similar conclusions were found by Nathalie Auger at Quebec’s institute for public health, as well as by Pauline Mendola and Sandie Ha at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Mendola and Ha’s study found that a temperature increase in the top 10 percent range of a woman’s region could mean 1,000 more stillbirths every year, much higher than the researchers expected. Pregnant women are not often considered a group vulnerable to heat, according to Sabrina McCormick, a sociologist at George Washington University, which makes these findings an urgent call to reframe public health. While these and other researchers are eager to collect more data, it’s clear that pregnancy calls for more precautions and awareness amid climate change. Photo Credit: BLEND IMAGES / PEATHEGEE INC / GETTY
Byron Ballard is a self-proclaimed village witch who specializes in Southern Appalachian folk magic. Like many local healers, she relies on the traditions passed down from generations before her – traditions with roots in Paganism, Protestantism, and pragmatism. According to Ballard, it’s a mixture of “medicine and midwifery, omen-reading and weather-working”. The Cherokee and Choctaw were the first to really understand the natural healing properties of the Appalachian resources. This knowledge fused with understandings of medicine and religion that came with the arrival of Europeans. Appalachian folk medicine recognizes an interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit; it is, at its core, a presumption of the highest goodness of nature. Since families in Appalachia often live far from urban centers and hospitals, these healers continue to be an important part of communities from West Virginia to Mississippi. Photo credit: Anjo Kan/Alamy
22 year old, Sophia Wilansky was standing outside the Dakota Access Pipeline encampment when she was flattened by a deafening explosion. This became the emblematic moment of violence at the Standing Rock protest was likely caused by a cop’s concussion grenade. The explosion ripped out her bone, muscles, nerves, and arteries in her left arm. Despite this, Wilansky vows to continue the fight against climate change and for the rights of indigenous people. Photo Credit: Annie Wermiel
Angelika Soriano is a 12-year-old climate warrior who is leading the fight against air pollution in East Oakland, an area of Alameda County, California where 93 percent of the residents are people of color. After suffering from an asthma attack in the fourth grade, Angelika became an advocate for herself and other children in East Oakland who are twice as likely to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized for asthma than those in other parts of Alameda County. As a member of her school’s club Warriors for Justice, Angelika helps stage protests against polluters in her area. On Halloween, 2017, Angelika led a “Zombie March on Coal” to the home of local developer Phil Tagami. At the event, she proclaimed that although she may be small, her impact is mighty. Photo credit: Antonia Juhasz
As part of the five-part ‘The Story We Want’ video series, the Moms Clean Air Force and Climate Listening Project travel to New Mexico in the Southwest United States, where they hear from Diné women leaders, including Kendra Pinto and Louise Benally, who are standing up to protect their families, communities and the Earth from methane pollution, growing oil and gas operations, and a dangerous "culture of extraction". Photo credit: Mom’s Clean Air Force
Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Barbara Lee, and Nanette Diaz Barragán held a press conference urging Congress to pass the OFF Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act). The Act prioritizes the safety of the Earth and protects vulnerable populations from the negative impacts of toxic emissions. Furthermore, the new legislation aims to turn the U.S. to a 100% clean energy economy by 2035. It will also contribute to the well-being of American people and increase the country’s competitiveness in the global scene. With climate change threatening the welfare of the planet, urgent action is needed, and this Act is a step forward. Photo-credit: Flickr
Vic (Victoria) Barrett is among the 21 youth who have filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights by supporting fossil fuel production and its resulting CO2 pollution. The lawsuit, Juliana v. the United States, argues that the federal government’s actions have driven climate change impacts that violate the youth’s rights under the Fifth Amendment to not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” and that the judiciary should require the government to reduce CO2 pollution. Vic’s fight for justice is inspired by their mother’s roots in Honduras, which is severely impacted by sea level rise despite not being a major contributor to climate change, and their mission to make sure youth’s voices are heard at the decision-making table. Photo credit: Vic Barrett
Jackie Fielder, a member of three affiliated tribes, founded the San Francisco Depend DAPL Chapter to exclude banks that invest in oil pipelines (such as Wells Fargo) from the city’s budget. She is part of a broader municipal divestment movement that began shortly after the dissolution of the Standing Rock camp. The movement has divested billions of dollars from big banks in major cities like Seattle and Santa Monica. However, for Fielder, who was the youngest member of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation, her efforts are about something more than defying big banks and stopping pipelines: she says her efforts are rooted in supplanting extractive economies and industries with socially just solutions. Photo credit: Teena Pugliese
Sharon Day, executive director of Indigenous Peoples Task Force in Minneapolis and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, is a woman of substance: she has been walking many miles to bring people’s attention to the importance of water and how waterways have been polluted. She has walked along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, joined by a core team of five companions and anyone else who wants to join. Known as Nibi Walks (nibi is the Ojibwe word for water), the walks are prayers, not protests. She is deeply inspired by the grandmother of the Nibi Walks movement, Josephine Mandamin. Photo Credit: Sharon Day
Women in Detroit, Michigan constitute 53 percent of the population, and 91 percent of all women in the city are women of color. Despite the high numbers, women of color continue to be excluded from decision-making processes when it comes to Detroit’s economic and social development. This report emphasizes the significance of including women of color by profiling 20 women from diverse backgrounds who are committed to empowering a just and sustainable future for Detroit through their work. Among the women profiled is Rev. Roslyn Bouier, who after overcoming domestic violence and drug addiction, managed to establish the largest food pantry in the city. Photo-credit: idreamdetroit.org
As part of ‘The Story We Want’ video series, which follows the efforts of women across the United States who are coming together to confront fossil fuel industries and a culture of extraction, the Climate Listening Project and Mom’s Clean Air Force speak with women from Porter Ranch, California who were affected by the Alison Canyon methane blow out. The blow out released more than 100,000 tons of toxic methane gas over four months. Two mothers recount the health impacts felt by their families, and the local organizing efforts that have emerged to counter the danger in their community. Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force
Connectedness and equity are two key aspects of how we can change, reverse, avoid and mitigate climate change. Elizabeth Yeampierre, director of Uprose, a grassroots organization in New York, works with the Center for Working Families to build a participatory process for its resilience approach to climate change while maintaining quality and safe jobs. People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) is a community group in Buffalo, New York that fights high energy costs through renewable and alternative energy projects, improving the urban landscape through their 25-square-block Green Development Zone (GDZ). Richmond, California is a historically black neighbourhood fighting toxic pollution and contamination by Chevron refinery. A coalition of local nonprofits including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment(ACCE), and Richmond Progressive Alliance, Faith-Works organized the community to win local elections and bring about change. Photo credit: PUSH Buffalo
In response to a history of abuses and a recent onslaught of years of intensive fracking development, the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma voted on October 20, 2017 to pass a statute recognizing the Rights of Nature, as a tool to legally block continued fracking, and resultant poisoning of land and water, health issues, earthquakes and other dangerous impacts. When enacted, the Ponca will be the first United States tribal nation to recognize the Rights of Nature in statutory law. Casey Camp Horinek, member of the Ponca Tribal Business Council, grandmother, and longtime leader and Indigenous rights and Earth protector - and her family, have been central to ensuring this forward motion. Allied climate justice organizations, such as Movement Rights, have also supported efforts. Photo credit: Movement Rights
In this article, Dr. Heidi Hartmann and Geanine Wester center the lived experiences of low-income black women impacted by post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans twelve years ago as a lesson for policy planning and development post-Irma and post-Harvey. They outline how women are more likely to live in poverty—especially women of color—and represent more of the elderly population, which make them more vulnerable to climate disasters and gender-based violence both before and after disasters. For the women in public housing prior to Hurricane Katrina, they faced recovery policies that effectively eliminated their homes to make way for mixed-income developments, dispersed and curtailed public services for low-income families, and devastated key community support networks. These stories underline the importance of including women, particularly poor women and women of color, in the process of rebuilding whole communities post-disaster.
On September 26, the Colorado River sued the State of Colorado in a first-in-the-nation lawsuit requesting that the United States District Court in Denver recognize the river’s Rights of Nature. Currently, most legal systems treat Nature as “property” allowing and encouraging environmental destruction. By recognising rights to the ecosystem, such as the rights to exist, flourish and evolve, Deep Green Resistance and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund are urging the American legal system to move to a holistic approach which protects both humans, animals and Nature. Photo credit: Alex Proimos/Flickr/CC-BY-NC-2.0
The Oceti Sakowin (Seven Councils Fires) is comprised of seven bands of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Indigenous peoples, who traditionally lived across in the Northern plains of the United States. Women’s knowledge and leadership, always central to the Oceti Sakowin, has been brought again to the forefront as part of the Standing Rock, Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) resistance movement. Ihanktonwan Nakota elder, Faith Spotted Eagle, has been a key voice in opposition to the pipeline, and has also taken ceaseless action to support Oceti Sakowin women through the Brave Heart Society, which is helping resprout many traditional women’s teachings and ceremonies which were fragmented over generations of colonization, displacement and extractive violence. Photo credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In this interview, Faith Spotted Eagle, elder of the Yankton Sioux Nation in Lake Andes, South Dakota, shares her reflections, experiences and advice to young activists as an Indigenous woman community organizer, land defender, healer and leader - most recently active in the fight against Keystone XL Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL). Through the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Spotted Eagle also works to address sexual abuse, assault and PTSD amongst community members. Connecting these two issues, she speaks on the impacts of the oil industry on violence against Indigenous women. Photo credit: Louisiana Mei Gelpi
Young women such as Rose Whipple and Valyncia Sparvier are on the forefront of action by Indigenous youth in the Great Lakes region to oppose the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline through a 250 mile “Paddle to Protect” action held over Summer 2017. The proposed project threatens water quality, Indigenous rights, and vital ancestral food producing regions - prompting the youth to take to their local waterways to draw public attention to the dangers of the project on the land, water and their future. Honor the Earth, a Minnesota-based Indigenous rights group directed by Ojibwe woman leader, Winona LaDuke, had been central to support of the youth involved in the paddle and continued advocacy. Photo credit: John Collins
Alison Stine reports from her home in a rural part of south-eastern Ohio, along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where out-of-state fracking companies are dumping toxic waste into injection wells in what was once coal country. The contamination of the local environment has threatened local agriculture, left water undrinkable, and is affecting tourism in the region. In 2012, Madeline ffitch (whose last name is traditionally spelled lowercase) was arrested for blocking the entrance to a pit well. Two years later, Christine Hughes was arrested for protesting at another site. In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management began selling off land in the state’s only national forest and authorized it for injection wells as well as fracking. ffitch says that the most impacted communities – older women, Indigenous communities, and people of color – are leading the resistance against wastewater injections. The companies have chosen their communities, they say, because they are isolated, poor, and lack resources more readily found in cities. Photo credit: Alamy Stock
Women across the United States have presented an open letter to the women in Congress following the Trump Administration’s exit from the Paris Agreement and proposed 31 percent budget cut to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). Hollywood elite, CEOs, advocates, and thousands of community activists have banded together to tell Congress, “Not on our watch!” In their letter, co-signers urge women of Congress to start getting serious about climate change. They point to the water crisis in Flint, fires in California, hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and air pollution in Utah as they plead for policy change that will protect the country’s children. As women, they say, the connection between climate change and gender is lived every day. They end their letter by urging Congress to provide full funding to the EPA in an effort to protect the constituents they are meant to serve. Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images