Change depends on ordinary people who have the courage to say…Enough is enough and no more.
Kumi Naidoo, Director Greenpeace International
Twenty million of the 26 million people estimated to have already been displaced by climate change as of 2010 are women. These numbers are staggering. Women face social, economic and political barriers as a result of natural disasters. They are at the center of their families and communities, putting them and so many others at tremendous risk.
At the recent Social Good Summit in New York, much of the conversation around the global goals revolved around women and climate change.
Women and children are 14 times more likely to die than men during natural disasters.
As mothers and life-givers, climate change impacts us in deeply personal ways, such as the dangerous health effects of carbon emissions on pregnant women and developing babies. In addition, women are victims of poverty more often than men. Studies show women are more at risk than men from harmful effects of toxic pollution. Women are at the epicenter of natural disasters.
In a session focused on women and the global energy revolution at a meeting that took place prior to the Social Good Summit, Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder & President of the Women’s Earth & Climate Caucus, spoke about climate concern and said that “we are not the victims, we are the solution.”
What Can Be Done?
Co-panelist Neha Misra, Co-Founder, Solar Sister agreed, “Women are not victims, women are the change makers.”
Her organization, Solar Sister is an example of taking action to specifically help women impacted by climate change. 1.6 billion people in the world (that’s a quarter of all human beings!) live without the most basic access to modern energy. Seventy percent of these are women and girls. Solar Sister addresses this female face of a lack of access to energy by combining solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network – bringing economic opportunity as well as light and hope.
Climate change is a woman’s rights issue and we can do something. As Osprey Orielle Lake stated, “There’s as much to learn as there is to teach. “ We must act now.
Take Action Challenge
Read or watch the resources about women and climate change below. What natural disasters do you see happening around you? What can you do to help the women impacted in these natural disasters?
- UN Women Watch: Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change
- Kumi Naido on Climate Justice.
- Women On The Frontlines, An Untold Climate Story by Osprey Orielle Lake
Image: Stuart Ramson / United Nations Foundation