Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance

Divest, Invest, Defend

Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland members outside of Norges Bank before meeting with Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global. Left to right: Wasté Win Young, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle, Michelle Cook, Autumn Chacon, Tara Houska and Osprey Orielle Lake.

Education, advocacy and action for divestment of financing from the companies and institutions funding fossil fuel extraction and the associated infrastructure projects around the world is an effective, tangible, and ever-strengthening strategy for resistance and Earth and community protection being used by people’s movements worldwide.

In the context of the global Fossil Fuel Divestment movement, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network is working to ensure that Indigenous and frontline women have the opportunity to speak for themselves directly to the institutions, governments and policy makers that are impacting their communities and territories. We have found this to be not only an effective strategy for gaining advocacy results, but also a vital and empowering process for women as they reclaim spaces to seek justice and speak truth to power.

Given the severity of the climate crisis and existential threat to all of humanity, we are also highlighting with great significance and respect that 80% of biodiversity remaining on earth is in Indigenous lands and territories. Thus respecting Indigenous knowledge and life-ways and Indigenous rights, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent is not only morally the right thing to do, but also paramount to any effective sustainability strategy.

WECAN is also advocating for investment in a just transition to renewable energy. In light of the intensifying climate crisis, dependency on oil and oil extraction is a bad investment; financial institutions have an opportunity to invest in renewable energy, which has become increasingly cost effective and necessary as climate change escalates. This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should immediately conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it. Investment in sustainable technology now has a place in the emerging low carbon economy and there is no time to lose in making the transition. 

Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland

In key aspects of the DIVEST, INVEST, DEFEND campaign, we are very honored to be working in ongoing collaboration with Michelle Cook, a leading Diné/Navajo human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock.

We are also thankful for other Indigenous women allies who participated in the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland including, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota living and working on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation); Wasté Win Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); Tara Houska (Anishinaabe, tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders); Autumn Chacon (Diné/Navajo writer and performance artist); and Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock).

Read about the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland here via EcoWatch

View photos of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland here 

Divest, Invest, Defend – Aims and Goals:

  • Protect the climate and defend human, Indigenous and nature rights through education, advocacy and action that challenges financial institutions and injustices.
  • Partner with grassroots, frontline and Indigenous women leaders for strategic campaigns and targeted delegations to call for divestment and stop pipelines, fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction at the source.
  • Defend Indigenous and nature rights, and Indigenous human rights including, Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
  • Stand up for and with Water Protectors and defenders of the land.
  • Advocate for investment in sustainable renewable energy and new banking structures.
  • Highlight the power, and role of women protecting water, land, climate and communities.
  • Create spaces for dialogue regarding banks and governments and human rights and Indigenous rights.
  • Give voice to the impacts of extractive industries on women and children.

Divest, Invest, Defend - Calls to Action: 

  • Divestment and accountability to human rights, Indigenous rights, nature rights, women’s rights.
  • Investment in a just transition to renewable energy.
  • Implement of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Affirm of the rights of nature as stated in the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
  • Strengthen the protection of Indigenous lands, territories, and natural resources.
  • Call for banks and Nation States to respect human rights, inherent tribal sovereign rights, and Indigenous treaty rights.

Solidarity Actions With Our Allies

Following the CitiBank Divest action in NYC - Indigenous organizers including Kandi Mossett, Casey Camp Horinek, and Aru Apaza stand together with allies

In April 2017 during the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, WECAN was honored to stand with our allies during an Indigenous-led direct action at the Citi Bank shareholders meeting in New York City. WECAN took part in the rally outside - while Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation Council-Woman and WECAN Advisory Council Member) and Kandi Mossett (Indigenous Environmental Network) took part in the shareholders meeting and raised powerful calls for defunding of the fossil fuel projects violating Indigenous rights, human rights and rights of Mother Earth across the US and around the world.

Click here to hear Kandi and Casey de-brief after the meeting

Click here for divestment action coverage via Reuters

A banner reading 'Divest, Defund, Decolonize' hung outside of a Citi Bank shareholders meeting during a non-violent direct action and meeting held by Indigenous leaders in New York City, April 2017