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

WECAN Rising For Fossil Fuel Divestment & A Just Transition to Renewable Energy

Education, advocacy and action for divestment and defunding 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.

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, International (WECAN) is dedicated to working with a variety of strategies and partnerships as part of the global Fossil Fuel Divestment movement, with a focus on highlighting the power and role of women protecting water, land, climate and communities, as we create opportunities for advocacy, action and dialogue with financial institutions, insurance companies and governments.

With other global women leaders, we are organizing for strategic campaigns and targeted delegations to call for divestment; to stop pipelines, fossil fuel infrastructure, and extraction at the source; and to give voice to the impacts of extractive industries on women and children.

Particularly, it is WECAN's aim to ensure that Indigenous, grassroots and frontline women have the opportunity to speak for themselves directly to the financial institutions, insurance companies, governments, policy makers and other institutions 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 powerful 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 significance and respect that 80% of biodiversity remaining on Earth is in Indigenous lands and territories. Respecting Indigenous knowledge, ways of life, and Indigenous rights, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the right to say no to continued extraction, is thus not only the morally the right thing to do, but also paramount to any effective sustainability strategy.

Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland outside of Norges Bank before meeting with Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, Spring 2017. 

Left to right: Wasté Win Young, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle, Michelle Cook, Autumn Chacon, Tara Houska, with Osprey Orielle Lake, Delegate Organizer

In light of the intensifying climate crisis, dependency on fossil fuels and their extraction is a bad investment - and financial institutions have an opportunity to invest in renewable energy, which has become increasingly cost effective and necessary as climate change escalates. 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.

WECAN is also advocating for investment in a just transition to a democratized, decentralized clean energy future with the voices of frontline communities, Indigenous peoples and women highlighted in all decision-making in this transition. This is what is best for all of our communities, and this is a necessity in the fight for a livable world for future generations.

WECAN joins allies from the San Francisco Bay Area gathered at a December 2017 direct action at Wells Fargo, demanding divestment and cancellation of the Keystone XL and other tar sands pipelines

It is becoming increasingly clear that divestment is having an impact - and that if we stand together, we do indeed have the collective power to demand accountability from the institutions financing pipelines and fossil fuel extraction projects, and instead build an Earth-centered, just transition to renewable energy for all.

Learn more about several of our WECAN Divestment advocacy and action programs below that have lead to signicant divestments, policy changes, investigations and international media visibility.

DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT

DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT is a critical, intersectional and Indigenous-led divestment campaign seeking to protect the climate and defend human, Indigenous and nature rights through education, advocacy and action that challenges financial institutions and injustices. The DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT campaign is organized as a partnership between Michelle Cook, a leading Diné (Navajo) Indigenous human rights lawyer, and the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, International (WECAN).

Through this and other programs, WECAN is honored to engage with allies to support the power and role of Indigenous women leaders protecting their territories and communities as we create opportunities for advocacy, action and dialogue with financial institutions and governments.

Click here to learn more about the DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT program

Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations To Europe
 

As part of DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT programming, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network WECAN is honored to ongoingly organize and facilitate a series of Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations to Europe, in partnership with Indigenous women leaders and their directives.
 
In Norway, the advocacy of the Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation was essential in pushing DNB bank to sell their $331 million dollar credit line to DAPL, following strong advocacy efforts from many groups, and an independent investigation in which DNB affirmed the violation of Indigenous rights and failure to properly consult the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
 
The Delegations have bore some critical results and there is much follow-up work to be done. The Delegation has been invited back by Norwegian Parliamentarians to support further efforts to include Indigenous rights in the guidelines of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund. Reuters reported on the Delegation's divestment meeting with the Council on Ethics to the Norwegian Sovereign Fund held on October 3rd 2017, after the Council stated that it is now reviewing allegations that Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company behind Dakota Access Pipeline and many others, may be breaching the fund’s investment guidelines related to the environment, human rights and other issues. On November 21, 2017 the executives of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund recommended to the Norwegian Parliament that all gas and oil investments be removed from the fund. In December of 2017 DNB and UBS, several of the banks the Delegation met with and sent evidence to regarding rights violations, chose not to renew ETP’s credit facilities with their institutions.
 
 
    
(Left) Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation representatives and allies outside of Credit Suisse on Indigenous People's Day, following a delegation meeting with the bank   Right) Tara Houska and Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle on national television in Norway speaking out for divestment
 
#EquatorBanks Act Initiative
 
WECAN International is a partner in the #EquatorBanksAct campaign, launched in August 2017 by a global coalition of environmental and Indigenous leaders to demand that the Equator Principles Association take immediate action to revise their guidelines - under which 91 of the world’s largest and most prominent banks continue to violate Indigenous rights, and ignore basic standards of environmental sustainability and the need to address the urgency of climate change.
 

The Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States, the Belo Monte mega-dam in Brazil, and the Agua Zarca hydro project in Honduras, which murdered Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was seeking to prevent, are but three examples of projects financed by banks under the Equator Principles. The Equator Principles Association met in Brazil in October 2017 to evaluate their work, and agreed to commit to revising their Equator Principles guidelines, as demanded by social movement leaders. WECAN will continue to monitor and engage in their progress and take a stand for action and accountability.

Other Solidarity Actions With Our Allies

    
Standing for fossil fuel divestment at the Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco. WECAN Executive Director speaking at the action - Photos via Jane Richey
 
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network has been involved ongoingly since the organization's inception in non-violent direct action and advocacy to oppose pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, with an increased focus in divestment as a strategy over 2016 and 2017. Several important actions have taken place in our organizational base in the California Bay Area, including a December 2017 action organized by the Sierra Club at the Wells Fargo’s headquarters in San Francisco, demanding divestment from Keystone XL, Line 3, Dakota Access and other dangerous fossil fuel projects.
 
 
Following a 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 - and - click here for divestment action coverage via Reuters.