Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Women of the World Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change

Climate
Women of the World Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change

Apart from those imprisoned in a fortress of science denial, 69 percent of Americans give credence to the 95 percent of climate scientists who agree on the reality and trajectory of human-induced climate change.

Nevertheless, the levers on its supersized drivers don’t seem to be within our grasp. Americans live with this looming threat, without knowing if , when or how it will overtake our lives. Even when it shows up on our doorsteps—such as direct hits like Katrina and Sandy or compound hits like floods and fracking in Colorado or tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns like Fukushima—it doesn't derail American life from business as usual.

Not everyone is waiting for more tragedy to occur before working on solutions to climate change. Last month, the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit took place in Suffern, NY, with 100 women delegates, top-level policymakers, grassroots organizers and indigenous chiefs from around the world. From the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, to the forests of the Congo, to the foothills of Himalayas, organizers and indigenous tribal leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America assembled, speaking different languages, wearing different garbs, embedded in different cultures, but all devoted to the health of the Earth and future generations.

They came from afar to do what women do, talk and listen, share and support, as well as organize, strategize and plan concrete ways to support the continuation of human life on Earth.

“We need to value the expertise of women, who have cultivated the land to feed their families, to counter a form of expertise that only knows how to destroy the Earth, to exploit and reward the exploiters,” said Dr. Vandana Shiva at the conference.

Listening to each others stories, participants were confronted by what first world people rarely see, climate chaos, the ecological destruction of lands, oceans and water sources, the uprooting of homes and communities, the despoiling of food and water, all of which strike at the life supports of peoples in nearly every region of the Earth. Not decades from now, but today.

For Americans, an interruption in cell phone service is tough. Yet in many parts of the world, there is no electricity, water or food. 

“We used to have rain from the river to water the maize and now we don’t have the rain and the river has dried up,” Rosemary Enie from Tanzania told the other delegates.

The delegates’ accounts of rainfalls that no longer come, food crops that wither, felled forests that turn to deserts, snow caps that melt, species that die out and insect populations that run rampant, brought the distant damage to our doorstep. Even seemingly innocuous changes, like Japan’s cherry trees blossoming three weeks earlier, signify ecological shifts.

“The snows of Kilamanjaro were famous worldwide, now they’ve melted,” Jane Goodall said in conversation with Dr. Shiva and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, left, and Dr. Jane Goodall, both are delegates to the International Women's Earth and Climate Summit, talk before the opening of the summit. Photo credit: Lori Waselchuk

The conference was yet another reminder that the U.S. is inextricably bound by multinational corporations. Many corporations appropriate the Earth’s limited resources without real accountability to any nation, people or law. “They used to be contained by the rules of democracy and they have knocked off those rules—bit by bit,” Goodall said.

“Civilized people in all parts of the world act wisely by looking to the effects of current activities for seven generations. Uncivilized people rape the earth for today,” said Dr. Shiva.

It’s one thing to know that systemic dilemma, and it’s another to meet women whose families, communities and regions are taking the first hit. Their commitment is formidable. Hearing the Earth’s tale told by diverse voices, in distinct accents, but all with a common theme, broke my heart. Because their faces, their voices, their accounts of their beloved regions awoke me from the distant but still abstract notion of climate change. In their hearts and minds, they brought the lived and embodied experience of global warming. And in encountering them, I grasped it.

The summit organizers sought to gather women because women are more impacted by climate change, more motivated to address it, and yet, are minimally represented at climate negotiations.

“You are the women willing to take a stand,” conference organizer Osprey Orielle Lake told the delegates before they signed a joint climate declaration that states:

We are gathering to raise our voices to advocate for an Earth-respecting cultural narrative, one of “restore, respect, replenish” and to replace the narrative of  “domination, depletion and destruction” of nature.

We are committed to a transition from a future of peril to a future of promise, to rally the women around the world to join together in action at all levels until the climate crisis is solved.

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice walk out and rally at the company's headquarters to demand that leaders take action on climate change in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. JASON REDMOND / AFP via Getty Images

The world's largest online retailer is making it slightly easier for customer to make eco-conscious choices.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Moms Clean Air Force members attend a press conference hosted by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announcing legislation to ban chlorpyrifos on July 25, 2017. Moms Clean Air Force

The Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a risk assessment for toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos Tuesday that downplayed its effects on children's brains and may be the first indication of how the administration's "secret science" policy could impact public health.

Read More Show Less
Evacuees wait to board a bus as they are evacuated by local and state government officials before the arrival of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Maria Trimarchi and Sarah Gleim

If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.

Read More Show Less
In 'My Octopus Teacher,' Craig Foster becomes fascinated with an octopus and visits her for hundreds of days in a row. Netflix

In his latest documentary, My Octopus Teacher, free diver and filmmaker Craig Foster tells a unique story about his friendship and bond with an octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been labeled "the love story that we need right now" by The Cut.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch