ABOUT THE WOMEN’S EARTH & CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK (WECAN) INTERNATIONAL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International was created to accelerate a global women's movement for the protection and defense of the Earth’s diverse ecosystems and communities. We focus on short-term and long-term systemic change and solutions to address the climate crisis and the root causes of environmental degradation and socio-economic inequalities.
We know that we are in dire need of a paradigm shift and an upwelling of global action, and that the window for meaningful action on climate change will not be open for long.
Given the lack of urgency and insufficient ambition of international climate agreements and national climate policies, and the calculations which prove that existing agreements and trajectories allow for inexcusable levels of continued harms - WECAN International is putting forth a fierce call to action and a feminist response, by and for women leaders and their networks.
Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation, with Indigenous women, Black women, women of color, women from Global South countries, and women from low-income communities bearing an even heavier burden.
At the same time, it is internationally recognized that women are critical to implementing just and community-based climate change and sustainability solutions. However due to institutional patriarchy, gender inequality, racism, and suppression of rights, there remains a lack of sufficient support, mechanisms, or platforms for women to implement their work.
WECAN International engages global women's organizations, women and femme leaders, and all manner of gender-focused and feminist groups and individuals to join together and grow an action base and movement of women for climate justice. Our strategic focus is strengthening the capacity and leadership of women and feminists as an essential ingredient to solving critical issues of climate change from an intersectional lens, while also collectively transforming and healing our relationship with each other and Nature.
We aim to re-frame and re-direct the narrative on climate change to ensure that women’s successful work in the fields, forests, streets, universities, and halls of power are made central to the climate discussion.
Our team works to serve our constituency, which includes primarily grassroots leaders and organizations, while also connecting with law-makers and leaders in policy and academia - with a central focus on working in collaboration with the women and femmes living everyday on the frontlines of climate change - in particular Indigenous women, Black women, women of color, low-income women, and women from Global South countries.
Our strategies include organizing and supporting on-the-ground community-led climate solutions projects; frontline women’s delegations; mobilizations; educational events and trainings; media and storytelling efforts; and strategic policy advocacy.
One of our central goals is for decision-makers to steadfastly commit to and follow through on action to keep global warming below 1.5°Celsius, as stated in the Paris Climate Accord, via policies and projects that simultaneously prioritize social, racial and economic justice for all.
In order to do this, we are calling for a transformation of how we relate to the natural world and to one another. We must transition from an extractivist, colonial paradigm of “exploit and extract” to a sustainable, globally-conscious one of “respect and restore.” We must rapidly halt the extraction and burning of coal, oil, and gas, while simultaneously building a new economy predicated on community-led solutions and women’s rights, Indigenous rights, rights of nature, and rights of future generations.
In all of our work across sectors, we aim so support and participate actively in struggles for decolonization - and find it essential to recognize at every step, the inalienable rights, invaluable traditional knowledge, and leadership of Indigenous Peoples in climate solutions and healing our relationship with Mother Earth.
Our vision includes doing everything we can to ensure justice is respected in the transition to 100% regenerative, renewable energy. We are uplifting projects, trainings, and advocacy work to keep fossils fuels in the ground and promote energy democracy, in which women, Indigenous people, communities of color, low-income communities, municipalities, and small businesses are empowered to own and manage our energy resources in just and decentralized ways.
Any solutions that does not safeguard the dignity and flourishing of people and the planet we reject. False solutions, such as dangerous nuclear power plants; increased natural gas extraction; mega-dams; geo-engineering; bioenergy; carbon trading schemes; and carbon capture and storage have no place in the Just Transition.
We also work to demand from governments that they respect the right to freedom of expression, organizing, and protest - and call for an immediate end to the criminalization of land defenders, whose efforts are central to a climate-just world.
We believe there is a profound way in which women create an unstoppable force when united together, and WECAN International gratefully draws inspiration from the legacies of powerful women who have led movements for liberation, justice, and protection and defense of land, forests, water and climate since time immemorial.
At this urgent time, in which humanity faces a mounting existential crisis - lifting up women’s leadership could not be more vital.
Women around the world are calling for system change, and towards this end WECAN International endorses a rights-based approach to climate justice.
WECAN International Guiding Principles:
RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Global women leaders strategize together at WECAN's founding Summit - Photo via Lori Waselchuk
WECAN International’s development was catalyzed by the historic, 2013 International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together more than 100 women leaders from around the globe to raise their voices, unite and collaborate for just climate change solutions. Over the course of the Summit, the need for a long-term, diverse and decentralized mechanism for women’s climate justice organizing became clear - and the organization was birthed!
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International was founded in 2013, originally as an initiative of the Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) (est. 2011), a 501c3 non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. In 2018, the organization the Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus legally and formally changed its name to the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International.
WECC was founded and directed by Osprey Orielle Lake, preceding her founding of WECAN International.
For more information about the early history of WECAN as WECC, please click here.