WECAN Response to COVID-19
Since March 2020, WECAN has been actively responding to the novel coronavirus and global health pandemic by ramping up our support of frontline communities, demanding governments support people not polluters, and amplifying the voices of women leaders who are deeply effected by COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
As we continue our work through the COVID-19 global pandemic, WECAN is advocating for a feminist response that aims to aims to spotlight the interconnected relationship between economic marginalization and environmental exploitation,please read a summary of our response here.
Please take a look down below for some of the work we've been doing to address this pandemic and the root causes of COVID-19 and climate chaos. We will continue to update this page as our work continues.
COVID-19 Support for Indigenous Communities
WECAN is honored to collaborate with our partners on two emergency response funds to support Indigenous communities in North and South American who are in urgent need due to COVID-19.
Indigenous communities across the Americas continue to work diligently to protect their communities from the novel coronavirus, while also addressing ongoing issues of extraction, colonization, Indigenous rights, pipelines in their territories and violence against women. As COVID-19 cases disproportionately rise in their communities, governments are providing little to no support to Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous communities are vital defenders of the living Earth, and they are standing up to protect human rights, Indigenous sovereignty, healthy communities, cultural knowledge, biodiverse ecosystems, water, forests, and our climate. This is a critical time to stand with courageous Indigenous leaders and support their calls to action.
Protect the Peoples Emergency (PPE) Partnership Fund
Navajo Nation currently has the third highest COVID-19 cases in the U.S. after New York and New Jersey. Many frontline medics servicing Indigenous communities have little access to medical resources and are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
WECAN joined our colleagues Movement Rights, Indigenous Environmental Network, T.E.J.A.S. and others for the Protect the Peoples Emergency (PPE) Partnership Fund to help. Every cent goes directly to COVID-19 Emergency Personal Protection Equipment, masks and supplies for Native Nations’ medics and communities most in need. If you are able to, please consider contributing to the fund to ensure those on the frontlines are protected and safe.
All donations go directly for supplies and not to any of the supporting organizations.
Learn more and donate here:
Indigenous people across the Amazon rainforest are joining together to launch the Amazon Emergency Fund in response to the #COVID-19 pandemic. As communities deal with the dual crises of coronavirus and climate chaos, Indigenous and forest communities throughout the Amazon are uniquely vulnerable to the virus and have been left unsupported by their governments.
As part of the Founding Solidarity Circle, WECAN joins over 30 representatives from Indigenous and allied organizations to partner for the Amazon Emergency Fund. The Fund will contribute directly to food and medical supplies, protection and security, and much more. Consider making a contribution to the fund and help defend the Earth Defenders!
100% of each donation will go directly to Indigenous and Forest Communities and Organizations facing COVID-19 in the Amazon Rainforest.
WECAN Advocacy & Solutions Series:
A Just and Healthy World is Possible
The same ideologies and behaviors that led to COVID-19, climate chaos, and environmental degradation display a human relationship with Nature that is devastatingly out of balance. To address this profound moment in time, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network has launched, “WECAN Advocacy and Solutions Series:A Just and Healthy World is Possible,” an ongoing webinar program lifting up women's leadership to support next steps as we continue to collectively build a powerful movement founded on principles of justice, love, and a fierce dedication to our planet and each other.
As we face the double crises of COVID-19 and climate disruption, and with much of the world in lockdown, there is a crack, an opening, in the system where we have the possibility to shape a new world, and dismantle the detrimental, institutionalized systems of patriarchy, colonization, racism, and predator capitalism that lie at the root of our perilous predicament.
To build a foundation for deep systemic change, which is necessary at this moment to care for our communities and the Earth, it is vital to uplift and amplify women's unique leadership, Indigenous cultural and ecological knowledge, as well as the deep political analysis of all historically marginalized frontline communities and justice movements, while we continue to challenge corporate power.
Since launching we have held four webinars focused on the intersections of gender, climate crisis, and COVID-19 - please learn more and watch the webinar recordings here!
Calling for Federal Accountability during COVID-19
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, the Trump administration has been gravely undermining social and environmental protections, and working with corporations to take advantage of this crisis in a flurry of disaster capitalism actions—passing anti-protester bills, continuing pipeline construction in vulnerable communities, and providing trillions of dollars to bailout large corporations, with essentially no oversight.
Below are several of the actions WECAN is collectively engaged in to demand a halt to corporate bailouts and instead ensure that people and our planet are the top priority for economic and social support, as they should have been all along:
Calling for no public bailout of the fossil fuel industry.
Sending a letter to the U.S. Federal Reserve over concerns of its recent decision to retain BlackRock to manage its massive corporate debt purchase program in response to the COVID19 crisis.
Demanding TC Energy Immediately Halt All Keystone XL Pipeline Activity amid the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency.
Endorsing the latest #BankingonClimateChange report - which adds up financing from 35 private-sector banks to the fossil fuel industry.
Joining the call for a People's Bailout, and urging the U.S. Congress to choose #PeopleNotPolluters and reject partisan efforts to assist fossil fuel industry executives during COVID-19.
Letter from Our Founder, March 2020
Dear Friends and Allies,
In the span of weeks, the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has left our communities and countries in a state of immediate crisis as we seek to "flatten the curve" to protect folks most vulnerable to illness, support those already deeply impacted by COVID-19, and to not overwhelm depleted health care systems.
As I write this newsletter, I am in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where we are in complete lockdown (as are other communities). Everyone is to "shelter in place" for at least the next three weeks in our region. At WECAN, we take great stock of the many ways our communities globally can hold us in times of crisis: organizers are engaging community networks to support and provide for those most vulnerable to COVID-19 or who have no place to shelter; people are sharing tips and resources for taking care of children as school doors close; neighbors are checking in with one another more often; and we see how people's desire for community is building stronger.
We also stand in solidarity with all those who have experienced acts of racism and sinophobia because of this virus, and with those who cannot afford to take work off, find safety at home, have access to needed resources or shelter. The injustices of our current system are made plan and clear in crises, and this must change through our ongoing grassroots organizing.
We offer enormous gratitude to all the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and health practitioners around the world who are working long and exhausting hours and risking their own lives to help those in need or who have contracted COVID-19. We give thanks to the community workers at grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as to the teachers and public officials who are offering necessary services to our communities and who are also at risk.
We are carrying the hope that examples of mutual care, solidarity, and human resilience will bring great strength and insight in the wake of escalating crises and disruptions that are part of living in these times— including the climate and environmental crisis. As people globally are limiting their activities and travels due to COVID-19, we are all being forced, right now, to stop in some manner. To stop and shift our everyday activities, and to hopefully stop and listen to a world that is changing forever. This act of listening and moving in solidarity is part of finding our way forward.
The detrimental global systems of domination, exploitation, predator capitalism, colonization and racism continue to rip into our society, marginalizing Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and low-income communities in national efforts to address COVID-19. We want our governments to fundamentally transform in order to truly function and care for people and planet— and we condemn any government seeking to profit off this public heath crisis, or giving bailouts to the financial institutions and fossil fuel companies that have continued to reap unjust rewards for making our communities and the Earth sick.
While the origins of COVID-19 are still being determined, we see a clear reflection of how the dominant culture's disrespectful and exploitative relationship with Nature and other living beings is fostering an environment where COVID-19 is generated. These same ideologies and behaviors that led to the climate crisis display a human relationship with Nature that is devastatingly out of balance. To live in a healthy and just world, we must fundamentally change how we respect and interact with the Earth and each other.
Although, WECAN has cancelled all of our in-person events for this Spring, respecting medical protocols and the concerns of frontline and Indigenous communities, we remain steadfast in our call for systemic change and just climate solutions as we continue ceaselessly with our advocacy efforts and programs, online organizing, research for upcoming reports, tree plantings and forest protection, divestment programming, and many other activities.
For those of you planning to take action with us on April 23rd to pressure financial institutions to divest from fossil fuels and deforestation, we will share more news soon as the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign moves to a digital platform. We know in the face of climate chaos this work is vital to our collective survival.
With all of this in mind, we encourage deepening connections with Mother Earth and our communities, uplifting acts of resilience and resistance, singing from the balconies, creating inspiring art, and organizing digital moments and movements that accelerate global climate justice. We knew in our bones this time was coming, and now we must act in solidarity more than ever, continuing to build a powerful movement founded on principles of justice, love, and a fierce dedication to our planet and each other.
For the Earth and All Generations,
Osprey Orielle Lake
Founder and Executive Director
Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International