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Climate Change Stepping Up

Published on February 8th, 2018 | by Carolyn Fortuna

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Women’s Marches Produce Climate Change Leadership

February 8th, 2018 by  


The 2018 Women’s Marches brought together hundreds of thousands of women and men to empower the global community to support the rights of people everywhere. Among the issues on the forefront, climate change activism rings strong among the Women’s March participants. Powerful women leaders, CEOs, and innovative change-makers are rising up on behalf of everyone who seeks to reduce carbon emissions and protect the world from the impacts of climate change.

Tamika Mallory, co-chair of last year’s historic protest and co-president of the Women’s March board, said that shifts in the Women’s March leadership voices are providing strength for more individuals to speak up about issues that affect them and their communities. “We’re looking at all the communities that we seek to engage and work with, and we’re trying to figure out how to deepen those relationships and ensure all the stakeholders are at the table,” she said.

A unifying principle of the Women’s March movement is the pursuit of environmental rights. The group believes that every person and every community in the US and world has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. They hold firm that that our environment and climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed — especially at the risk of public safety and health.

Women for Climate Science Lead the Way for a Just Transition to a Renewable Energy Future

Women's Marches

Posters courtesy of Women for Climate Justice

The climate movement is a collective of organizations engaged in activism related to the issues of climate change. As a subset of the broader environmental movement, its scope, strength, and activities have inspired greater awareness of the need for individual responsibility and self-awareness of our carbon footprints.

As part of the Women’s Marches 2018, the diverse Women for Climate Justice initiative affirmed their broad opposition to the Trump presidency and his platforms, and their message was clear. Joining together as women for the land, the water, and all life, Women for Climate Change demand full respect for climate science and immediate action on solutions to this global crisis. They argue that if today’s children and all future generations are to live in a healthy, just, and thriving world, then people must bond together as part of a collective effort to encourage allies across the world to organize in their home regions.

Women for Climate Change are speaking out to the US administration and all governments and entities which threaten the earth and our communities. As people standing on the frontlines of climate change who are gravely concerned about the impacts of global warming, they recognize the devastating actions of legislative policies that promote climate skepticism, advancement of fossil fuels, an extractive economy, racism, bigotry, and sexist oppression.

The Women for Climate Justice group pledge to continue to reject the rule of the fossil fuel industry. To do so, they’ve organized, marched, and committed to vote in the important upcoming 2018 elections. They demand that the US government immediately work toward a just transition to a renewable energy future.

They’ve produced a toolkit that was updated in 2018 by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). The original 2017 toolkit was created with additional collaboration with Sierra Club, 350NYC, Grassroots Global Justice, World March of Women-US chapter, Climate Justice Alliance, INOCHI-Women for Safe Energy, Idle No More SF Bay, Climate Wise Women, MADRE, and other leading women’s rights and climate change activists.

Women are Stepping Up to Climate Change through Women’s Marches

Stepping UpIn the latest episode of the new podcast series Stepping Up, producer Claire Schoen tackles the question of how climate activists — young and old — engage in acts of protest in today’s era. “Climate change is a difficult topic to tackle. People are tired of hearing about it. And they are scared,” Schoen says.

The new 10-part podcast series features climate advocates who are taking a stand in unique ways. From an evangelical doing the Lord’s work by saving the planet to climate clowns with red noses who use their street venues to spread the word, today’s climate change activists don’t look like traditional lobbyists. They’re figuring out new ways to act — and act out — about climate change issues. Schoen has been creating award-winning multimedia stories about the environment over the past 30 years. Previously, she produced the RISE podcast series, which examined the effects of sea level rise and extreme weather events on coastal lands and communities.

“My hope is that listeners of this new podcast will learn to care and identify with the people they meet, will find connections to their own lives, and will be inspired to step up their own game,” Schoen says.

Climate Change is Not Gender Neutral

There is a gender gap in agriculture in low-income countries between the resources and rights available to men who work the land and those available to women who do the same. On average, women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force and produce 60 to 80% of food crops in poorer parts of the world. Often unpaid or low-paid laborers, they cultivate field and tree crops, tend livestock, and grow home gardens. Most of them are part of the 475 million smallholder families who operate on less than 5 acres of land.

Women have less access to a range of resources, from land rights and credit to education and technology. Even though they farm as capably and efficiently as men, inequality in assets, inputs, and support means women produce less on the same amount of land. Closing this gender gap can improve the lives of women, their families, and communities while addressing global warming. Women and girls around the world are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to social constructions of gender and resulting pervasive inequalities.

Because of this, women and girls are essential in the fight to reverse the anthropogenic effects of global warming.

One initiative speaks to the ways that women and girls can be activists in the fight against climate change. Project Drawdown’s “Women and Girls Sector” offers powerful ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through enhancing the rights and well-being of women and girls. The consequences could improve the future of life on this planet and spur greater leadership toward humanity’s overall resilience.

If all women smallholders receive equal access to productive resources, their farm yields will rise by 20 to 30%; 100 to 150 million people will no longer be hungry. When agricultural plots produce well, there is less pressure to deforest for additional ground, avoiding emissions.

“We are the leaders we have been waiting for.​” 

— Women’s Marches 2018 slogan, part of the Power to the Polls national voter registration campaign

women's marches

Together We Rise is an edited book describing the first Women’s March on Washington, D.C.

Women’s March issues also include women’s rights, human rights, access to healthcare, social justice, and safety and economic security.

Photo by carlyhag on Foter.com / CC BY


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About the Author

Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She's won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. She’s molds scholarship into digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+



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