Women Mobilize for Climate Change Solutions During Series of WECAN International Events Surrounding UN Climate Summit
MILL VALLEY, Calif., September 30, 2014 - Last week, women from across the U.S. and around the globe were entrenched in various efforts to elicit concrete and equitable action on climate change.
Among these efforts, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) co-founders Osprey Orielle Lake and Sally Ranney engaged in talks at the United Nations headquarters in New York during the U.N. Climate Leadership Summit on Sept. 23. As part of a civil society delegation, Lake and Ranney were joined by WECAN International coordinator for the Middle East/ North Africa Region, Fadoua Brour, WECAN coordinator for Latin America, Carmen Capriles, and ally and advisor Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Together, the women presented copies of the newly released WECAN International "Women's Climate Action Agenda" to international political and business heads, including UNFCCC Secretariat Christiana Figueres, former President of Ireland and current U.N. Special Envoy to Climate Change, Mary Robinson, and John Holdren, science advisor to President Obama. The Action Agenda is available for download at - www.wecaninternational.org/womens-climate-action-agenda
At the close of the day, Lake stated, "We are very honored to have been invited to participate in the U.N. Climate Summit. With our Women's Climate Action Agenda in hand, WECAN members were able to provide an analysis of the root causes of the climate crisis and interrelated social injustices, presenting alternative visions and suggestions for action. We attended the Summit to advocate against false solutions and in favor of transformative leadership and structural change."
In addition, Lake and Ranney joined with diverse women allies to lead the "Women for Climate Justice" contingent of the Sept. 21 People's Climate March, which overall attracted more than 400,000 participants.
In order to advocate for and strengthen action plans that address international women's issues related to the climate crisis, Lake also attended the "Leaders Forum on Women Leading the Way: Raising Ambition for Climate Action" event held by the U.N. Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice on Sept. 22.
In an effort to further engage the topic of women and the climate, WECAN International presented "Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change" to a packed audience at the United Nations Church Center on Sept. 22.
Event presenters included Jody Williams (Nobel Laureate), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Sierra Club Canada), Patricia Gualinga (Kichwa leader, Sarayaku, Ecuador), Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation Elder, Indigenous Environmental Network), Angelina Galiteva (100% Renewables Policy Institute), Dr. Fatimata Niang Diop (UNDESERT, ARLOMON, Senegal), Ulali (First Nations musical group), and Osprey Orielle Lake and Sally Ranney (WECAN International).
"As world leaders enter into negotiations, women around the world are joining in solidarity to speak out against policies and activities that not only threaten the climate and our communities, but the future of all life as we know it," said Lake in her opening speech.
"There is a need to address and reduce the disproportionate harm from environmental degradation that affects indigenous, low income, and minority communities," explained Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, who spoke on her experiences living near the Alberta Canada tar sands extraction sites. "People of color in frontline communities face environmental burdens from extreme resource extraction and exploitation, so we must begin to participate in processes designed by us to improve environmental health and safety."
Immediately following the panel, event presenters and attendees united in a physical "Wall of Women" action at the Church Center. Members and allies of the organization around the world were encouraged to create similar "Walls of Women" throughout the week, linking together in demonstration and displaying signage demanding world leaders' immediate address of climate change issues.
WECAN International, along with the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, also presented on "Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions" at the UN Church Center on Sept. 23.
The event featured Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network), Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange), Gloria Ushigua (Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador), Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environment Network), Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center) and Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International). The compelling series of presentations focused on the need to redesign our social, political, economic and legal structures to function with respect to the ancient laws of the Earth.
Speakers also presented solutions to move toward this goal, primary among which was the protection of indigenous rights and knowledge systems. "Our science is starting to catch up with indigenous knowledge," explained Linda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center.
Summarizing last week's events, Lake stated, "This unprecedented week of action has put wind in the sails of WECAN International and the entire movement, it has helped form crucial new alliances, and it has demonstrated to the world that the climate justice movement is mighty and diverse. We must know however, that our work has just begun, and is entering a new phase. WECAN International will move forward boldly, working to insure women's leadership at the forefront of initiatives to confront injustice and re-vision our collective future."
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, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.