Mary Knight of the Zonta Club of Quaboag submitted a fascinating summary of a session she attended that perfectly aligns with our mission, climate change and it’s impact on women (and minorities). Nia Keith of Mass Audubon was the speaker:
Nia started out acknowledging that indigenous people were stewards of the earth, understood their dependency on the earth and its inhabitants, and looked to ensure abundance for the future.
She then defined climate change as a rapid change of global climate patterns that THREATEN HUMAN AND NATURAL SYSTEMS, caused by human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But, the effects of climate change can be mitigated through large-scale actions and policies that support (1) natural climate solutions, (2) reduce or eliminate greenhouse gases, and (3) ADDRESS SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DISPARITIES.
The impacts of climate change are NOT EQUAL.
Climate change disproportionately impacts individuals with MULTIPLE VULNERABLE IDENTITIES, for example, poor communities of color, or women of color. Intersectionality is a way of examining issues to understand how characteristics such as race, ability, age, gender, class, and geography intersect with each other and interact with power structures to create and reinforce power, privilege, disadvantage, and discrimination
Extraction and exploitation of natural systems result in SACRIFICE ZONES – communities in proximity to the pollution produced by intensive and concentrated industry. Due to redlining, low property values, and other social factors, these communities have historically consisted of low-income and/or minority populations.
PROJECT DRAWDOWN (https://drawdown.org/) is an example of a paired climate solution and diversity movement:
(1) Support and protect nature
(2) Eliminate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions
(3) Create a just and equitable society – check out the Black Farmers Movement (https://www.blackfarmers.org/) and the Sunrise Movement (https://www.sunrisemovement.org/)
Climate activism is a spectrum, ranging from individual efforts to collective engagement.
1st level: Educate yourself and have conversations (talk and social media) with friends, family, and an expanded network – people working in food security, public health, greenspace, transportation, clean energy, etc.
Idea: Host a Climate Cafe – invite people to learn about something – have snacks and conversation with cue cards or trivia – maybe at a brewery??
2nd level: Climate Action – join an advocacy group, provide financial support, lobby elected officials, get involved in a local initiative.
Idea: Visit https://www.mass.gov/municipal-vulnerability-preparedness-mvp-program – what’s happening in YOUR community for planning and implementation of climate action
3rd level: Frontline – organize a rally, support a strike or boycott, divest from polluting companies, etc.
Idea: Become a Climate Championship (https://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/policy-advocacy/climate-champions-program)
208 South Great Road | Lincoln, MA 01773
Sandy Carroll for Mary Knight