FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Arasim, Communications Coordinator,
Laurie Kaufman, Media Strategist, , +1 (310) 562-8680
Women Climate Activist Press Conference - Stories and Solutions from Grassroots, Frontline and Indigenous Women
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - On Thursday, September 6, the Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) International hosted an online press conference in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit. The speakers included women experts in climate policy, alternative energy, indigenous rights, pipelines and fracking, green jobs, and the health effects of the global climate crisis. Climate change impacts and solutions were addressed alongside a demand for a just transition to clean energy including women’s rights, indigenous rights, and the rights of nature.
Watch the entire 45 minute session on Facebook live play-back:
Listen to the AUDIO FILE on Dropbox:
Below are excerpts from the press conference:
OSPREY ORIELLE LAKE: Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
“One of the most untold stories of climate change is how women are central to solutions... this is the time of women rising up for the earth and future generations. From the Amazon to Alaska, from India to the Marshall Islands, women are advocating, they are leading movements and rising up for climate justice…. Women are making a significant difference in changing our current trajectory, and a central message we want you all to have is that there is not going to be any effective action on climate change until women’s leadership is at the forefront. Studies around the world demonstrate that while women are the most adversely impacted by climate change and environmental degradation (due to gender inequity that impacts their economics, their voice, their mobility, their power to govern, and so much more), at the same time they are indispensable to solutions.”
ERIEL DERANGER: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Canada; Indigenous Climate Action
“It is imperative that we understand the connectivity of our struggles, not just as women but as people. Right now, I come from a territory that’s located in northern Canada, Treaty 8 Territory, and it’s downstream from one of the largest industrial projects on planet Earth, the Alberta Tar Sands. The Tar Sands are one of Canada’s largest single emitters for greenhouse gas emissions and it’s continuing to grow unabated regardless of the commitments being put forth by the Canadian government and by the international community to take action on climate change. What we’re seeing, is that instead of moving the bar away from these dirty industries, we’re moving to continue to expand and exploit them further. Just recently Canada approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which would carry over 900,000 barrels of Tar Sands oil from my people’s territory to the coast of British Columbia, which would then be put into tankers which would be transported down to the coast of California outside of San Francisco in the community of Richmond. So, when we talk about direct connections from my community to communities in California, we can see those very, very clearly in the exploitation and the destruction (which extends) to safe waterways, to safe healthy environments for our communities. Our rights are being destroyed and abrogated every single day.”
THILMEEZA HUSSAIN: Former Maldives Deputy Ambassador to the UN; Voice of Women
“Maldives is a small country and an island nation and one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Our president for the past five years has not attended a single environmental conference and had our voice heard, or represented us, which is very disturbing and alarming. We don’t know how to move forward without having our voice heard and without us being represented in these important international forums. I cannot stress the importance of people organizing and rising and demanding governments do what we want them to do. Rising to bring down these oppressive governments…. We need to move forward, move fast to bring the climate revolution, to bring down these oppressive regimes and champion environmental issues so country’s like ours, like the Maldives, and the citizens of countries like the Maldives don’t have to be climate refugees. We need to urgently address climate change.”
KANDI WHITE: Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation (North Dakota); Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign, Indigenous Environmental Network
“North Dakota has been like a killing ground for the fossil fuel industry. I myself am a cancer survivor, I had a stage 4 sarcoma tumor when I was 20 - I shouldn’t be here, it has a very poor prognosis. A lot of my friends have died, they didn’t survive cancer so now their children are orphans because their mothers were taken away from them. I’ve suffered miscarriages, I’ve been through so much and I blame in on the industry. And, here we are going to California and we’re told we can’t get into these meetings and that these meetings are going to talk about emissions trading schemes, but they’re not going to talk about keeping it in the ground in the first place, which is common sense. If we want to stop the climate crisis and all of this pollution and toxicity we are putting into our air, water, and soil we need to stop what we’re doing as humanity - which is looking at our system as us being above it. We are a part of the system as humanity, we’re not above it we don’t control things. What they’re talking about is controlling the clouds, controlling the weather, controlling everything with the bottom line being money and a carbon market-based system. So, we have to show up. We don’t want to leave our children for weeks at a time, but we have to show up at these spaces. We have to make our voices heard and interject - if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. We’re all in this as humanity whether you like it or not. And, if that impacts your bottom line at the end of the day, you can’t eat your money. You can’t drink that oil. So, wake up and understand that us, the community members that have small-scale gardens, small-scale wind and solar - we have the answer and the solutions and are implementing them. Listen to us and allow us to continue to do these things and stop giving subsidies and credits to the oil industry so they can continue destroying the planet.”
JACQUELINE PATTERSON: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Environmental and Climate Justice Program
“We work at the intersection of race, gender, and climate, looking at particularly how women of color and indigenous women are at double jeopardy in terms of impacts of climate, and yet we are not in the decision-making spaces. The work we’re doing is looking at everything from the communities we serve being impacted by disasters. (For example) in the south of the United States we’ve seen multiple instances where communities are disproportionately impacted because of vulnerabilities, in particular communities of color. And then, women face double threats because of the gender dynamics of post-disaster situations where there’s a spike in violence against women.”
“With these toxic facilities that drive climate change being disproportionately placed in communities of color and indigenous communities, it means that it’s our communities that are ingesting these toxins and dealing with respiratory issues, and for women there is the issue of endocrine disruptors which are part of the toxins that come out of these facilities.”
ANTONIA JUHASZ: (Un)Covering Oil Investigative Reporting Program, a project of the Society of Environmental Journalists
“It’s well established that the impacts of climate change and the production and burning of fossil fuels are born disproportionally on women and children, including maternal and fetal health. For example, when women ingest fossil fuels directly, such as in the case of oil leaching into food or groundwater, or their byproducts in the form of pollution, it can adversely affect women’s ability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy to term. The pollutants can also pass from the mother to the fetus, harming its development and the long-term health and well-being of the child. Yet, it is these exact stories and impacts that are disproportionately and consistently under-reported in the media, including the use of women’s expertise, research, analysis, and reporting.”
[Regarding her latest investigation into the Dakota Access Pipeline] “I learned that outside of private industry, no one had published fatality rate data for oil and gas pipeline construction workers. So, I compiled the data and ran the numbers myself, finding exclusively that oil and gas pipeline construction is among the deadliest jobs in America. (I offered) a solution that had been offered from the ground itself: supporting water is life. Shifting oil and gas pipeline construction workers to the desperately needed work of rebuilding America’s pipelines and allowing them to become water protectors as well.”
**Additional topics discussed include: a systemic analysis of supply and demand economics, the role of women and leadership, health impacts on women and children from extraction industries, the importance of movements that move beyond the pivotal government meetings and a list of outcomes that the speakers would like to see coming out of the Global Climate Action Summit.
+ Join WECAN Tuesday, September 11 in San Francisco for the ‘Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change. Featuring 30+ women speakers.
+ Visit WECAN’s database of case studies, stories, and solutions from the frontline of climate change: “Women Speak”
+ Watch the entire 45 minute session on Facebook live play-back:
+ Listen to the AUDIO FILE on Dropbox:
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.