FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Arasim, Communications Coordinator,
Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions To Speak Out In Parallel To The Global Climate Action Summit
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, Calif. (August 14, 2018) – Women leaders from across the United States and around the world are preparing to advocate and take action this September in parallel to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS).
The GCAS has been called to bring international elected officials together to encourage more action to achieve the aims of the Paris Climate Accord. Global movements for climate justice will also organize before and during GCAS to demonstrate just climate solutions; call for real climate leadership that breaks free from the fossil fuel industry; and ensure that the voices of those most marginalized and impacted by climate disruption and extractive economies are heard.
In the context of the diverse civil society movement rising up in parallel to the GCAS, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International will present the ‘Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change’, a free, public forum to take place Tuesday September 11th from 1:00 to 8:30pm at The Green Room, 401 Van Ness Ave, downtown San Francisco.
During the Women’s Assembly For Climate Justice, international advocates and policy-makers, and grassroots, Indigenous, and frontline women leaders will join together in solidarity to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present the diverse array of visions, projects and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable world.
Event topics will include the intersectionality of gender and environment; Indigenous rights and resistance efforts; the just transition to renewable energy; women and forest protection and regeneration; democracy; fossil fuel resistance campaigns; women and agro-ecology/farming/soils; environmental racism; and women’s leadership and calls for action within a climate justice framework.
Critically, a declaration of key demands and calls to action from diverse women’s groups and allied organizations will be announced at the WECAN International ‘Women’s Assembly For Climate Justice’, and will then be presented to the formal leadership of the GCAS the following day.
A reserved media room will be available at the Green Room throughout the September 11th event for use for interviews and other press needs.
For interested members of the national and international press - portions of this event will also be live-streamed via the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Facebook page.
Speakers to date include the following and many more remarkable presenters: Corrina Gould (Ohlone, Co-Founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, Co-Founder of Indian People Organizing for Change); Her Excellency President Hilda C. Heine (President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands); Honorable Mary Robinson (President of the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, former President of Ireland); Pennie Opal Plant (Yaqui, Mexican, English, Dutch, Choctaw, Cherokee and Algonquin, Founding Member, Idle No More SF Bay and Movement Rights); Annie Leonard (Executive Director of Greenpeace USA); Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca, Ponca Nation Council-Woman, WECAN Advisory Council Member); Jacqueline Patterson (Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Environmental and Climate Justice Program); Gloria Ushigua (Sápara, President of the Association of Sápara Women, Ecuador); Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network); Neema Namadamu (Founder of SAFECO, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network Regional Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo); Michelle Cook (Diné, Human rights lawyer, Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign); and Antonia Juhasz (Oil and Energy Analyst, Author and Investigative Journalist). Speakers soon to confirm include U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee and acclaimed marine biologist Sylvia Earle.
In anticipation of the ‘Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice’, global women leaders presenting on September 11th shared comments on the importance of women’s leadership in climate solutions, and why they take action as women for climate justice:
"We, as human beings, stand on the brink of destruction. As a Lisjan/Ohlone woman who still lives in our traditional territory of what is now known as the SF Bay Area, I stand on behalf of my ancestors that stewarded our homelands in an almost pristine state for thousands of years. I stand for my children, grandchildren and the next seven generations and beyond, so that they may enjoy a world that can sustain them. I stand for the waters, the earth and those that have no voice. We as a human species must stand now to protect Mother Earth to stop her destruction and the destruction of all living beings." - Corrina Gould (Ohlone), Spokesperson Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Co-Founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, and Co-Founder of Indian People Organizing for Change
"For far too long, the disproportionate harms brought to women and children from the burning of fossil fuels and climate change had been ignored, then overlooked, then pushed to the sidelines. Yet, study after study confirms that the burning fossil fuels and the resulting climate change are uniquely and disproportionately harmful to in-utero development and survival, birth, growth, health, and well-being of children and the lives, health, and well-being of women. While women and children bear the brunt of these harms, their voices are still too-often downplayed or ignored in the search for comprehensive analysis and solutions. That's why we are joining together as women to provide a far more comprehensive analysis of the problem, on-the-ground understanding of impacts, and the real solutions that are already in practice by women throughout the world today and within all of our grasps in the future." - Antonia Juhasz, Energy author, investigative journalist, analyst, specializing in oil; Author of The Bush Agenda; The Tyranny of Oil; and Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.
"In my work over the past 11 years with the Indigenous Environmental Network I've seen the emergence of women rising up to take leadership roles in the fight for climate and environmental justice. It's been an extremely empowering experience for me to see the strength, endurance and fierce love radiating from so many women, who traditionally held more ‘behind the scenes’ roles in societies, who are now standing up, speaking out and fighting back in the protection of Mother Earth. Some of our prophecies talk about a time when the balance must be restored and I believe we're living in that critical time, with women taking the lead to ensure a balance and continuation of life. In my culture, women are the keepers of water as we carry all future generations in the first life of water. I believe it's no coincidence then that we have risen up in large numbers to fight with all our strength and hearts to protect all that is sacred and essential for life - always keeping in mind the generations to come and all those that cannot speak for themselves. Together we are winning and will not stop until the balance is restored and all life is given an equal chance once more." - Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network
“Women, we are the source of life. Women offer power, authority, and intelligence. We are the ancient title holders of these lands and our place has been and should always be at the helm of decision making. We are the survivors of colonialism, patriarchy, racism, and we defend and protect our people and community because this is our duty. In the words of QuiAnna Ray, poet and visionary, “I am my sister’s keeper.” If one Indigenous woman is in the throes of climate change, then we must stand behind, uplift, and defend her.” - Michelle Cook (Diné), Human rights lawyer, and Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign
“Climate change is a global issue and we, the Maman Shujaa (Hero Women) of the remote mountains of eastern Congo, take our stewardship seriously. Generations of slash and burn activities in ignorant support of farming and cattle ranching, have destroyed many square miles of precious planet lung power in this second largest rainforest in the world. We women are reforesting our mountain village areas and educating our children so that the generational abuse of our earth-treasure will cease forever. Trees are life.” - Neema Namadamu, Founder of SAFECO; and Women's Earth and Climate Action Network Regional Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“As climate disruption increases globally, women are fervently rising up and speaking out to protect and defend the web of life. From the Standing Rock movement and pipelines resistance camps across North America - to struggles to protect the Boreal, Amazon, and Congo Basin forests - women are standing on the frontlines of global efforts to defend the land, water, and climate, and to revision a healthy world. From renewable energy initiatives, agro-ecology, to policy forums - women are working to change our current destructive and violent trajectory. Moreover, it could not be more important to highlight how violence perpetrated against the Earth is directly connected to violence against women through exploitation and extractivism. This kind of egregious abuse is the result of patriarchal societies, colonization, racism and capitalism, which are all based upon the same systems and ideologies of power over, and exploitation of, women, peoples of color and the land. It is clear that this September the global community needs to address these systems of oppression in an intersectional manner to move towards justice and real climate solutions. We need new worldviews and social constructs of gender and racial equity; respect for human and Indigenous rights; and governance systems that respect the natural laws of Mother Earth.” - Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
“One of the figures I point to a lot when I speak about environmental degradation these days is, ‘by 2050 its expected there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.’ For me, there is none more striking an image of unsustainable and unjust patterns of consumption and production, and the near irreversible impact its having on our planet. I also speak about the increasing violence faced by environmental defenders, grassroots leaders, indigenous peoples, increasingly indigenous women, when they dare to speak truth to these drivers of climate chaos. The vast and intersectional ways in which multiple forms of oppression collide to cause climate injustice, is precisely why we need feminist leadership and vision to enact climate justice. We’re talking nothing short of a revolution in our societies, towards peace and care, for our planet, for one another. I truly believe that revolution is only possible via the freedom from gender norms, patriarchal and colonial systems of oppression. Women and feminist leaders must rise and are rising for climate justice because we know that we need to smash the patriarchy to save the planet.” - Bridget Burns, Co-Director of the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
"I am hopeful and incredibly inspired by the rise of women and youth leadership across the Amazon rainforest and around the world. The power of indigenous women and youth cannot be underestimated, and as allies we are ever-committed to building bridges of support to further fan the flames of this fire!" - Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.