Rising Up for Gender and Climate Justice

Feb 12th, 2014 | By | Category: Climate Change

By Suzanne York, www.howmany.org

This Valentine’s Day goes beyond love, with a global call to action to bring attention to violence against women, and justice for women, who have endured horrific pain due to gender.

One Billion Rising, for the second year in a row, has galvanized people around the world to raise awareness by dancing, singing, marching and speaking out on February 14th.

Officially, the campaign operates “in recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.”

Joining One Billion Rising this year are organizations leading the way to focus attention on the impacts of climate change on women, who are often on the front lines of coping with droughts, floods, and superstorms that wreak havoc on their lives.

The Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN), an international coalition made up of grassroots activists, Indigenous leaders,  business leaders, scientists, policy makers, farmers, and academics, will take action for climate justice, as violence against the earth and Mother Nature is linked to violence against women. WECAN will be documenting women-led solutions and sharing testimonies and successes in the field of environmental and climate justice from diverse regions. Women and men will be participating from across the globe, from the Maldives to Mexico to the Congo.

WECAN members promote holistic, sustainable solutions and actions that include women’s empowerment as a way to ease environmental and community degradation.

The February 14th Day of Action for Women and Climate Justice with One Billion Rising is also calling on people to sign WECAN’s declaration – Women of the World Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change & Sustainability Solutions.  Some of the signers of the declaration are Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, Mary Robinson, Jody Williams and Ted Turner. It calls for, amongst other things:

  • Cancelling plans for future carbon developments and deforestation and bringing atmospheric CO2 concentrations back below 350 ppm;
  • Divesting from dangerous and dirty fossil fuel developments – coal fired power plants, oil shale fracking, deep-water oil drilling and Tar Sands and rapidly phase out fossil fuel subsidies;
  • Increasing available funding for adaptation and ensure that community-based groups, including women’s groups, have direct access to those adaptation funds;
  • Incentivizing conservation and reduction of consumption, especially in the Global North;
  • Respecting and implementing the Rights of Women, the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Rights of Nature and the Rights of Future Generations.

Perhaps most importantly, it states that “We must act now for ourselves, for future generations, for all living things on Mother Earth”; we meaning all of us – women and men – for the sake of our world.

Ultimately, violence against women and the earth is violence against us all, and it only serves to harm families and communities.  So rise with others this Valentine’s Day to help bring positive change to our world.

Suzanne York is a senior writer with the Institute for Population Studies and is part of the WECAN movement.


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