Atlantic sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2000 years,

“The climate crisis is not gender neutral,” he says. Katharine K. Wilkinson , co-editor of the anthology < a href = "" rel = "noopener noreferrer" target = "_ blank"> All we can save: truth, value and solutions for the climate crisis , a book of essays and poems written entirely by collaborators. “It arises from a patriarchal system that is also entangled with racism, white supremacy and extractive capitalism. And the uneven impacts of climate change make it more difficult to achieve a world with gender equality.”

In front of this reality, the world needs to take a feminist approach to tackling the climate crisis, he adds. . That includes a collective mission to change who is leading the way to crisis solutions and what the focus will be.

An injustice multiplier

“The intersections of climate, justice and feminism include the disproportionate impact of climate change and the entire climate continuum on women,” she says Jacqueline patterson , director of NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program . “We also add the lens of race, of course, and the additional risks that are unique to BIPOC women and, more specifically, black women.”

Climate change developed in an unjust world, and is now exacerbating the vulnerabilities and inequalities experienced by women, particularly those who live in rural areas or the Global South and those who are black, indigenous or other people of color. Patterson reflects on this injustice in the essay “At the Intersections,” which appears in the collection. All We Can Save . She begins with an anecdote about the first time she saw racism, misogyny and poverty collide with environmental issues as a Peace Corps volunteer in her father’s homeland of Jamaica. Later in her career, as a human rights activist working internationally to combat HIV / AIDS and gender injustice, Patterson learned the story of a woman who left her native Cameroon because the crops in her community had dried up, just to become a victim of rape. and then contracting HIV at the border of the country. “These stories made me cry,” he writes. “There is a pandemic of devastating impacts at the intersection between violence against women and climate change.”

These days, in his environmental justice work with the NAACP, Patterson is committed to ensuring that communities in “terribly desperate circumstances, communities you don’t even think about,” like those without running water or electricity, by For example, they are not left out of the climate conversation. “And that means not just including them, but deliberately prioritizing them and ensuring their voices are heard at all levels. She asks,” How do we make sure we don’t continue the evils? of the past in terms of assuming the tide will lift all the ships? ”

“A feminist climate renaissance”

According to Wilkinson, these injustices of the climate crisis also highlight a leadership crisis. What we really need, her and All We Can Save co-editor Ayana Elizabeth Johnson , marine biologist, writes, is a “ feminist climate renaissance . “Without this, a just and livable future becomes impossible.” Research shows that leadership and equal participation of women result in better results for the political climate, reduced emissions and protection of the earth, “adds Wilkinson.

In fact, many of today’s most influential climate leaders are women. On the international stage, Christiana Figueres, as president of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was the architect of the historic Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, which in its preamble noted the need to empower women in climate decision-making. Celebrities like Jane Fonda have drawn attention to the climate crisis through civil disobedience and fire drill friday inspired, of course, by the activism of the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and the powerful Fridays for Future movement that she started. Government officials are also climate leaders. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently declared a climate change emergency and committed her country to becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Meanwhile, in the United States, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the visionary behind the Green New Deal < a href = "" target = "_ blank" rel = "noopener noreferrer">, a plan for the country to move away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy future. And in recent years, groups like Sunrise Movement, directed by Varshini Prakash , have done critical work in inserting the climate crisis into American public discourse.

Wilkinson and Johnson see four main characteristics shared by leaders like these. First, they prioritize change over being in charge. “We need to overcome ego, competition, and control, all those patriarchal, supremacist, hierarchical things that get in the way, burn a lot of energy, and keep us from collaborating,” Wilkinson says.

Feminist climate leaders also tend to have a deep commitment to justice and equality. You also need emotional intelligence. “This is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, and we are not going to solve it with our prefrontal cortex alone,” Wilkinson says. “We need to get to this as complete human beings. And that means the pain, the uncertainty, the anger, the anxiety, but also the really fierce love.”

Finally, feminist climate leaders recognize that building Community is a prerequisite for building a better world. The community has incredible wisdom, while “individualism falls short on good ideas and certainly a sense of purpose and joy,” Wilkinson says. Cultivating that sense of community in the broader climate movement is often a first step, especially when allies from disparate groups come together. As Gulf Coast Center for Law & amp; Policy Founder Colette Pichon Battle advises Before diverse Women’s groups can be together on the front lines, they must heal relationships and reconcile the unjust social dynamics that exist between their diverse communities.

The good news is that women are specially prepared to take on this social situation. and environmental healing work. “Women have had to develop coping and parenting skills in order to see the survival of our families,” says Patterson, adding that caring for a family in the most extreme circumstances has been built into the DNA of black women. that carry the trauma of slavery. “Women just have to do it,” he says.

For her part, Wilkinson says she sees evidence of the growth and power of the feminist climate ecosystem every time she turns around. Leaders of the youth climate justice movement embody these characteristics, and a growing number of women are getting a seat at the national table (including the former NRDC president Gina mccarthy , another collaborator of All We Can Save , who now directs national climate policy from the White House). “There are many signs that this galloping herd is getting bigger, faster and stronger. And that gives me a lot of courage,” says Wilkinson.

Power and Joy

For your non-profit organization All We Can Save Project , Wilkinson and Johnson have developed a 2030 vision for women climate leaders to have the power to create transformative change and experience deep joy in their work. Their community approach to solving the climate crisis prioritizes the collective uplifting of the spirits of others and helps build momentum; both serve as an antidote to the sadness that can sometimes consume the lone weather warrior . “We are really interested in this idea of ​​power and joy,” explains Wilkinson. “Power is what you need to make change happen. And frankly, joy is what you need to keep showing up every day.”

With climate feminists at the helm, more resources and investments could be obtained for transformation. the climate work that cisgender and trans women and non-binary leaders are already doing – developing solutions, researching and writing, organizing the community – often at night or on weekends. These leaders and their teams can also serve as role models and mentors for emerging climate feminists of all genders and ages.

And, of course, men can be climate feminists too. “There is a really important role for men and I think it starts with listening,” says Wilkinson. “And when we consider the basic approaches to climate leadership, things like compassion, connection, creativity, collaboration, caring, commitment to justice, all of that is open to people of any gender.” She notes that men in positions of power, whether they control funding or platforms or run an institution, may be more intentional in helping to change the face of climate leadership. They can extend invitations to more women and others of diverse backgrounds to pitch ideas and lead projects, or they can step back and let others make decisions and set the vision.

This collaborative work is increasingly urgent. “Even now, in the eleventh hour of climate action, many people in power are denying, blocking and delaying, or making empty promises about what they are going to do,” says Wilkinson. “It’s absolutely devastating. But I think the tide is turning. I think we will win.”

He adds that the former and first president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, sums up the situation perfectly with the slogan < un podcast de href = "" target = "_ blank"> Mothers of Invention : “Climate change is a man-made problem, with a feminist solution!”

Published with permission of Defense of natural resources Council .

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