Category Archives: Women

Indigenous women unite to protect the environment in Indonesia

Indigenous women from the Indonesian island of Lombok make traditional handicrafts using supplies from the forest. Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS

Indigenous women from the Indonesian island of Lombok make traditional handicrafts using supplies from the forest. Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS

Indonesian women from the Mollo territory are known for weaving beautiful, intricate fabrics from dye they harvest in the surrounding forests. When mining corporations barged in and began ravaging the land for marble, the women refused to sit idly by as these companies ripped out forests, dumped tons of toxins into their rivers and mutilated the iconic Mutis Mountains. In the IPS article “Women Warriors Take Environmental Protection into Their Own Hands,” reporter Amantha Perera writes:

I felt they were raping my land, I could not just stand aside and watch that happen, said Indonesian environmental activist Mama Aleta in the article Women Warriors take Environmental Protection into their own Hands. We wanted to tell the companies that what they were doing was like taking our clothes off, they were making the forest naked by [cutting down] its trees.

Mama Aleta and several other women walked from village to village, explaining the situation to others in the Mollo territory, inspiring them and encouraging them to take a stand. Nearly 150 of them united, sitting and weaving in front of the mines in silent protest. The companies lasted another year before they were forced to abandon their four mines in the area.

Nearly 3000 miles away, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, another group of women rallied to protect their forests from commercial timber plantations. In the same article, Perera writes:

The women then went to the local police station – accompanied by children, men and elders from the village – and began to pluck and eat the fruit from guava trees in the compound, announcing to the officers on duty that they wanted only trees that could provide for the villagers.

On another occasion, when police showed up to arrest women leaders in the community, including Bhagat, they announced they would go voluntarily – provided the police also arrested their children and livestock, who needed the women to care for them. Once again, the police retreated.

Now the women patrol the forest, ensuring that no one cuts more wood than is deemed necessary.

Bhagat believes that her gender works to her advantage in this rural community in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district.

“If I were a man, I would have been arrested and thrown in jail by now,” she told IPS. “Because we women stand together, police are reluctant to act like that.”

So why are these “Women Warriors” so profound, so necessary in the fight against climate change? The answer could fill a thousand pages, but, in short, women are an “extremely vulnerable” population in the fallout of climate change. The burden of climate change falls heavily on these women, who play vital roles in the survival of their communities, families, farms, livestock and culture. In addition, women’s roles have historically been undervalued, so by protecting their environments, they are harnessing their collective voices to make an impact on a global scale.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Women

Spoken word on Palestine: “We teach life, sir.”

The following video was sent to us via a great friend and long-time volunteer for GJEP. Razeef Ziadah is also a friend of one of our board members.

Our friend and volunteer from VT said, “This poem made me think of your [GJEP’s] work.”

RAFEEF ZIADAH is a Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist. Her debut CD Hadeel is dedicated to Palestinian youth, who still fly kites in the face of F16 bombers, who still remember the names if their villages in Palestine and still hear the sound of Hadeel (cooing of doves) over Gaza.

 

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by | July 26, 2014 · 3:20 PM

Why are so many white men trying to save the planet without the rest of us?

Note: Good question.  Anne Petermann, GJEP’s executive director, documented some of this dynamic at the 2011 UN climate negotiations in her article entitled “Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the Big Green Patriarchy.”

-The GJEP Team

By Suzanne Goldenberg, May 8, 2014. Source: The Guardian

The future of the environmental movement isn't pale and male. But its current leadership is. Photograph: Alex Milan Tracy / Demotix / Corbis

The future of the environmental movement isn’t pale and male. But its current leadership is. Photograph: Alex Milan Tracy / Demotix / Corbis

Americans are regularly told that climate change is happening here and now, in real time, and that nobody will be left unscathed. Just this week as a corporate-backed disinformation campaign continued to fuel lobbying against climate science and on behalf of a failed vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House released a landmark climate change report, underlining that “[c]ertain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of colour.” According to the even more landmark IPCC report, that goes for the developing world and rich countries alike.

Just the other day, the National Wildlife Federation announced its new president – a white male “whiz kid”. Last month, the Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, replaced its female chief executive with a white man. Last November, the National Parks and Conservation Association replaced its veteran leader with another white male. The Union of Concerned Scientists is due to announce its new leader as early as next week. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to be a woman. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Women

Women leading resistance to eucalyptus plantations in Brazil

Note: In the US, South Carolina-based ArborGen is awaiting a decision from the US Department of Agriculture to sell billions of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees annually for planting across the southeast US.  The approval of this invasive, water thirsty and highly flammable tree species would be devastating for the southeast, a region expected to see more and more drought due to climate change.

Sign the petition demanding an immediate ban on the release of GE trees here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

-The GJEP Team

Protestors denounce pact to transform rural region of Brazil into a “eucalyptus desert

March 2014. Source: MST via World Rainforest Movement

Photo: WRM

Photo: WRM

On March 8, 2014, peasant farmers from organizations including the MPA, MST, MMC, Quilombolas, the Union of Rural Workers of Mucuri and Montanha and Fetaes, along with youth activists and other social movements, took to the streets of Montanha, in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, to denounce the pact between large landholders, the public administration and multinational corporations like Fibria (formerly Aracruz Celulose) to transform the region into an “enormous desert of eucalyptus”. During the political rally held in the town’s central square, some 1,000 women handed out eucalyptus outside the town hall and the headquarters of public offices as a form of protest. The participants in the rally also paid tribute to fellow peasant farmers Saturnino Ribeiro and Valdício Barbosa, who lost their lives in the struggle for land in this region. After a march, two truckloads of food were distributed to neighbourhoods on the periphery of Montanha.

The main themes of the protest were: Agribusiness is the strategy used by patriarchal capitalism in the countryside! We must denounce it and unite in struggle! Stop violence against women! Agrarian reform is the only viable way to produce healthy food for workers!

Observations on eucalyptus and women in Mato Grosso do Sul

By Mieceslau Kudlavicz, March 2014. Source: World Rainforest Movement

“It is the rural women’s movements that have been at the forefront of massive public actions aimed at fighting back against the big corporations in the agri-food sector (pharmaceutical laboratories that produce transgenic seeds and toxic agrochemicals) and defending biodiversity.” (SILIPRANDI, 2013, p. 239)

Numerous events reflect the growing protagonism of women in the economy and, more recently, in political debate. In Brazil, one of the most visible examples of this political struggle was the action undertaken by the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC), a member organization of La Via Campesina, in 2006, when close to 2,000 women occupied the Aracruz Celulose eucalyptus seedling production laboratories in Rio Grande do Sul. The aim of this action was to denounce the expansion of the “green desert” created by industrial eucalyptus plantations and the resulting expulsion of peasant communities. It was an act in defence of peasant agriculture as a promoter of biodiversity and foundation of food sovereignty. In this way, these women defended seeds for life, in the sense that “seeds are the beginning and the end of peasant farming production cycles. They are a collective creation that reflects the history of peoples and their women, who have always been their creators and the ones primarily responsible for their protection and improvement” (Martins; Stedile, 2011). Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Women

Women’s roles, rights and responsibility in natural resources: Some reflections from Mekong Region

By Premrudee Daoroung, March 2014. Source: TERRA

Photo: WRM

Photo: WRM

In Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar it remains common until today that the wife will be the one who ‘owns’ the land of the paddy or upland rice fields. . Women therefore can be the ones fully responsible for maintaining those resources for the next generations.

To explain the rights and role in natural resources of women in Southeast Asia can be complex. In Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar – where groups identified as ‘Tai’ ethnic and also other many ethnics live closely with natural resources in their subsistence agriculture livelihood – we often learn that women are playing key roles in owning land, for example. It is part of a culture where men move in to a woman’s family after they married, and help in the rice field of their in-laws, before the woman’s family gives some land to them. It remains common until today that the wife will be the one who ‘owns’ the land of the paddy or upland rice fields, whether the land is with formal land certification or not. The husband or men in the family in many communities accept the fact that the women are the ones who own the property of the family. Women therefore can be the ones fully responsible for maintaining those resources for the next generations. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Water, Women

Breaking: Via Rail blockade by First Nations halts Montreal-Toronto trains

March 19, 2014. Source: CBC News

A group of protesters have gathered at a railroad crossing near Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve to demand justice for murdered and missing indigenous women. (Photo: Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

A group of protesters have gathered at a railroad crossing near Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve to demand justice for murdered and missing indigenous women. (Photo: Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Protesters near the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve in southern Ontario have blocked the Montreal-Toronto Via Rail line to draw attention to missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The blockade is at Marysville, Ont., between Belleville and Kingston.

Via Rail’s media relations manager Jacques C. Gagnon said Marysvilleis a popular site for railroad blockades.

“We had hints since late last night that there would be a blockade,” Gagnon said.

Train service between Montreal and Ottawa is still running. However, service between Toronto and Ottawa has been halted. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Women

Guatemala: Anti-mining resistance celebrates two years of struggle

By Rob Mercatante, March 11, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

La Puya started, as many great movements do, with a single act of civil disobedience.

A woman, concerned by the sudden arrival of a gold mining operation in her community, decided to park her car sidewise across a dusty, rural road in order to stop a convoy of massive mining machinery in its tracks. Others quickly joined her, taking a stand in defense of their water supply, farmland, health, and environment.

This impromptu roadside gathering of community members became, essentially, a human roadblock, preventing tractors, dump trucks and other equipment from entering the Tambor mine site. Over time, the roadblock grew into the resistance movement known as “La Puya.”

La Puya – against all odds – celebrated its second anniversary on March 2.

“We never thought when we started this movement that we would make it to the two-year mark. For us, it is truly a victory and an example for many others,” said Álvaro Sandoval, community leader at La Puya.

Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Women

Taking the mic: Why structural & environmental racism matter

By Rebecca Hall, February 4, 2014. Source: Peaceful Uprising

There is a phrase used again and again when people bring up something uncomfortable about the environmental movement. We are told that we are being “divisive.” The people who make themselves vulnerable by vocalizing their concerns, or worse–their dissent, are vilified and told they are “fracturing” the movement. Why is pointing out where there’s room for growth so threatening? But more importantly: can you fracture something that was broken to begin with?

On January 25th, thousands of people gathered at the Utah State Capitol to protest the state’s horrible air quality. On the surface, this event was a great success. The turnout was amazing, with the front grounds of the capital flooded with people. Behind the scenes, something was happening that needs to be addressed: the lack of frontline voices, specifically those most impacted by multiple oil refineries in the Wasatch Front.

Peaceful Uprising threw our support behind the Clean Air, No Excuses rally, because air quality in the Salt Lake valley is the worst in the nation, and has at times this year surpassed pollution in Beijing. We supported the rally because in our work to stop tar sands and oil shale mining, we are demanding that Tesoro and Chevron stop their current refining of Canadian tar sands, and that Salt Lake pass a moratorium on all tar sands refining in the future. Salt Lake’s oil refineries and industry polluters must be held accountable, and stopped, if clean air is to be attained. Most importantly, however, we supported the rally because frontline communities, those marginalized and neglected folks so often made invisible, are disproportionately impacted by pollution and extraction. It appeared that the clean air movement in Utah was just that–a movement, and a movement that invited, supported, and included the voices of all those involved and affected. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Pollution, Women