By Marnese Jackson-Wilford
Wednesday, September 23, 2015: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and Climate Justice Alliance sponsored a call forced on Women, Gender, and Climate. East Michigan Environmental Action Council is a part of both coalitions. The exciting line-up of speakers was Colette Pichon-Battle from the Gulf Coast Center for law and Policy, Kandi Mossett from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Sara Mersha from Grassroots International. The goals of the call were for all the organizations to come together to the fight for climate change and to empower women to fight. “No Climate Justice without Women Justice” was the overarching theme of the phone call. This call was exciting because it is the campaign to the Paris and beyond for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC COP21. This call was key in fighting for Climate Justice and Gender Justice and reclaiming the role of women in the climate justice movement.
The purpose of the phone call was to build around what women do in organizing for climate justice. Another goal is to get members connected to the road to Paris and beyond and to commit to a national day of action on October 14, 2015.
Kandi presented a treaty that they will present at the Rights of Nation Tribunal happening December 4 and 5 in Paris, France. This Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative. It gives people from all around the world the opportunity to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth — destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases, encourage.
I reflected on the phone call and how the injustices of the world are interconnected. A powerful moment was when Kandi Moffett expressed emotionally about how they are fighting against the fracking bomb in the North Dakota, Montana and Canada. She explained that women are under attack from the men who are brought into the communities to work in the fracking camps. There are young teenagers who are transported in vans to these male-dominated work camps to prostitute themselves. Many end up being raped and not even paid for their sexual services. Some girls do not have a choice, in the case of a four year old little girl who was found on her way back from the one of the man camps and was reported sexually assaulted. This symbolizes how mother earth is being raped, and it is directly reflective upon the women and children who have to deal with the consequences of fracking and other injustices against women. The sad part that this is allowed in the U.S. because we are infatuated with greed, lust and control and women, specifically, are at the brunt of these injustices. I really valued this part of the call because I am an advocate for women rights. I learned the connections between environmental justices involves women's economic justice and the abuse against women and females.
I valued the fact the call enlightened me about what women are doing on the grassroots level and that there are women who are building coalitions around climate justice nationally and internationally. Women and youth are at the forefront of these struggles around our natural resources, including climate justice. I do not think society as whole sees the impact of the struggles women and how gender injustice, racial injustice and economic injustice are all intertwined within climate injustice and environmental injustices.