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

News from 2018

PRESS RELEASE - Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions To Speak Out In Parallel To The Global Climate Action Summit

August 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2018

 

Media Contact:

Emily Arasim

emily@wecaninternational.org

+1 (505) 920-0153


Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions

To Speak Out In Parallel To The Global Climate Action Summit


SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, Calif. (August 14, 2018) – Women leaders from across the United States and around the world are preparing to advocate and take action this September in parallel to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS).


The GCAS has been called to bring international elected officials together to encourage more action to achieve the aims of the Paris Climate Accord. Global movements for climate justice will also organize before and during GCAS to demonstrate just climate solutions; call for real climate leadership that breaks free from the fossil fuel industry; and ensure that the voices of those most marginalized and impacted by climate disruption and extractive economies are heard.


In the context of the diverse civil society movement rising up in parallel to the GCAS, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International will present the ‘Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change’, a free, public forum to take place Tuesday September 11th from 1:00 to 8:30pm at The Green Room, 401 Van Ness Ave, downtown San Francisco.


During the Women’s Assembly For Climate Justice, international advocates and policy-makers, and grassroots, Indigenous, and frontline women leaders will join together in solidarity to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present the diverse array of visions, projects and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable world.

 

Event topics will include the intersectionality of gender and environment; Indigenous rights and resistance efforts; the just transition to renewable energy; women and forest protection and regeneration; democracy; fossil fuel resistance campaigns; women and agro-ecology/farming/soils; environmental racism; and women’s leadership and calls for action within a climate justice framework.

 

Critically, a declaration of key demands and calls to action from diverse women’s groups and allied organizations will be announced at the WECAN International ‘Women’s Assembly For Climate Justice’, and will then be presented to the formal leadership of the GCAS the following day.

 

A reserved media room will be available at the Green Room throughout the September 11th event for use for interviews and other press needs.


For interested members of the national and international press - portions of this event will also be live-streamed via the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Facebook page.


Speakers to date include the following and many more remarkable presenters: Corrina Gould (Ohlone, Co-Founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, Co-Founder of Indian People Organizing for Change); Her Excellency President Hilda C. Heine (President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands); Honorable Mary Robinson (President of the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, former President of Ireland); Pennie Opal Plant (Yaqui, Mexican, English, Dutch, Choctaw, Cherokee and Algonquin, Founding Member, Idle No More SF Bay and Movement Rights); Annie Leonard  (Executive Director of Greenpeace USA); Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca, Ponca Nation Council-Woman, WECAN Advisory Council Member); Jacqueline Patterson (Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Environmental and Climate Justice Program); Gloria Ushigua (Sápara, President of the Association of Sápara Women, Ecuador); Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network); Neema Namadamu (Founder of SAFECO, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network Regional Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo); Michelle Cook (Diné, Human rights lawyer, Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign); and Antonia Juhasz (Oil and Energy Analyst, Author and Investigative Journalist). Speakers soon to confirm include U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee and acclaimed marine biologist Sylvia Earle.


In anticipation of the ‘Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice’, global women leaders presenting on September 11th shared comments on the importance of women’s leadership in climate solutions, and why they take action as women for climate justice:


"We, as human beings, stand on the brink of destruction. As a Lisjan/Ohlone woman who still lives in our traditional territory of what is now known as the SF Bay Area, I stand on behalf of my ancestors that stewarded our homelands in an almost pristine state for thousands of years. I stand for my children, grandchildren and the next seven generations and beyond, so that they may enjoy a world that can sustain them. I stand for the waters, the earth and those that have no voice. We as a human species must stand now to protect Mother Earth to stop her destruction and the destruction of all living beings." - Corrina Gould (Ohlone), Spokesperson Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Co-Founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, and Co-Founder of Indian People Organizing for Change

"For far too long, the disproportionate harms brought to women and children from the burning of fossil fuels and climate change had been ignored, then overlooked, then pushed to the sidelines. Yet, study after study confirms that the burning fossil fuels and the resulting climate change are uniquely and disproportionately harmful to in-utero development and survival, birth, growth, health, and well-being of children and the lives, health, and well-being of women. While women and children bear the brunt of these harms, their voices are still too-often downplayed or ignored in the search for comprehensive analysis and solutions. That's why we are joining together as women to provide a far more comprehensive analysis of the problem, on-the-ground understanding of impacts, and the real solutions that are already in practice by women throughout the world today and within all of our grasps in the future." - Antonia Juhasz, Energy author, investigative journalist, analyst, specializing in oil; Author of The Bush Agenda; The Tyranny of Oil; and Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.

"In my work over the past 11 years with the Indigenous Environmental Network I've seen the emergence of women rising up to take leadership roles in the fight for climate and environmental justice. It's been an extremely empowering experience for me to see the strength, endurance and fierce love radiating from so many women, who traditionally held more ‘behind the scenes’ roles in societies, who are now standing up, speaking out and fighting back in the protection of Mother Earth. Some of our prophecies talk about a time when the balance must be restored and I believe we're living in that critical time, with women taking the lead to ensure a balance and continuation of life. In my culture, women are the keepers of water as we carry all future generations in the first life of water. I believe it's no coincidence then that we have risen up in large numbers to fight with all our strength and hearts to protect all that is sacred and essential for life - always keeping in mind the generations to come and all those that cannot speak for themselves. Together we are winning and will not stop until the balance is restored and all life is given an equal chance once more." - Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network


“Women, we are the source of life. Women offer power, authority, and intelligence. We are the ancient title holders of these lands and our place has been and should always be at the helm of decision making. We are the survivors of colonialism, patriarchy, racism, and we defend and protect our people and community because this is our duty. In the words of QuiAnna Ray, poet and visionary, “I am my sister’s keeper.” If one Indigenous woman is in the throes of climate change, then we must stand behind, uplift, and defend her.” - Michelle Cook (Diné), Human rights lawyer, and Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign


“Climate change is a global issue and we, the Maman Shujaa (Hero Women) of the remote mountains of eastern Congo, take our stewardship seriously. Generations of slash and burn activities in ignorant support of farming and cattle ranching, have destroyed many square miles of precious planet lung power in this second largest rainforest in the world. We women are reforesting our mountain village areas and educating our children so that the generational abuse of our earth-treasure will cease forever. Trees are life.” - Neema Namadamu, Founder of SAFECO; and Women's Earth and Climate Action Network Regional Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo


“As climate disruption increases globally, women are fervently rising up and speaking out to protect and defend the web of life. From the Standing Rock movement and pipelines resistance camps across North America - to struggles to protect the Boreal, Amazon, and Congo Basin forests - women are standing on the frontlines of global efforts to defend the land, water, and climate, and to revision a healthy world. From renewable energy initiatives, agro-ecology, to policy forums - women are working to change our current destructive and violent trajectory. Moreover, it could not be more important to highlight how violence perpetrated against the Earth is directly connected to violence against women through exploitation and extractivism. This kind of egregious abuse is the result of patriarchal societies, colonization, racism and capitalism, which are all based upon the same systems and ideologies of power over, and exploitation of, women, peoples of color and the land. It is clear that this September the global community needs to address these systems of oppression in an intersectional manner to move towards justice and real climate solutions. We need new worldviews and social constructs of gender and racial equity; respect for human and Indigenous rights; and governance systems that respect the natural laws of Mother Earth.” - Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

“One of the figures I point to a lot when I speak about environmental degradation these days is, ‘by 2050 its expected there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.’ For me, there is none more striking an image of unsustainable and unjust patterns of consumption and production, and the near irreversible impact its having on our planet. I also speak about the increasing violence faced by environmental defenders, grassroots leaders, indigenous peoples, increasingly indigenous women, when they dare to speak truth to these drivers of climate chaos. The vast and intersectional ways in which multiple forms of oppression collide to cause climate injustice, is precisely why we need feminist leadership and vision to enact climate justice. We’re talking nothing short of a revolution in our societies, towards peace and care, for our planet, for one another. I truly believe that revolution is only possible via the freedom from gender norms, patriarchal and colonial systems of oppression. Women and feminist leaders must rise and are rising for climate justice because we know that we need to smash the patriarchy to save the planet.” - Bridget Burns, Co-Director of the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)


"I am hopeful and incredibly inspired by the rise of women and youth leadership across the Amazon rainforest and around the world. The power of indigenous women and youth cannot be underestimated, and as allies we are ever-committed to building bridges of support to further fan the flames of this fire!" - Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch

 

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About The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL

 

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in climate change, climate justice, and sustainability solutions. WECAN International was founded in 2013 as a project of the 501(c)3 Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) organization.

JOIN OUR TEAM: WECAN Seeking Social Media/Web Intern

August 13, 2018

The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is seeking a Social Media/Web Intern to join a dynamic team of global women working for climate justice, systemic change and women's leadership in climate change solutions. 

The Social Media/Web Intern will work as a volunteer, under the guidance of WECAN's Communications Coordinator to contribute to storytelling and advocacy, primarily through weekly social media research, planning and scheduling. Secondary tasks may include creating memes, flyers and visual content, and contributing to the WECAN blog. We are ideally seeking someone equipped with the skills to support WECAN International through basic video editing and production - however this is not a requirement for this role.

Objectives:

  • Keep a regular drumbeat of social media communications (Twitter and Facebook) through weekly social media new-sourcing/research, planning and management
  • Strengthen and build upon WECAN International’s social media strategy
  • Support the messaging of our environmental and climate justice allies
  • Build strategy to increase WECAN International's followers and drive traffic to our website and social media pages
  • Develop and identify innovative messaging ideas
  • Create memes, flyers and visual content
  • Contribute to WECAN blogs (as needed)
  • Launch the WECAN Instagram (as possible)
  • Work on video editing & production (prefered but not required)

Required Qualifications:

  • Excellent writing skills and an enjoyment of writing
  • Highly self-motivated and passionate about climate change
  • Previous experience managing social media platforms for a professional or community organization
  • Creative eye for design and messaging
  • Background and active interest in issues of climate change, climate justice, women's rights, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, global activism, international climate policy and community organizing
  • Willingness to dedicate personal time to expanding understanding of critical climate justice themes and messaging
  • Current enrollment in college or university, Bachelors Degree - OR equivalent work/life experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ability to make 'meme' images, flyers and other dynamic visual content
  • Basic knowledge of video editing and ability to create short videos
  • Previous experience working for an environmentally focused/climate justice non-profit
  • Diverse life experiences and backgrounds

Internship Details:

  • This is an unpaid internship - WECAN International is willing to work with your institution to satisfy credit requirements, volunteer hours, etc
  • 5-7 hours per week, scheduled flexibly and to meet your needs
  • This is a remote position which may be carried out independently from any location. WECAN International's Executive Director is based in California, USA on Pacific Time - preference will thus be given to applicants living and working in a time zone that will facilitate easy communication between team members
  • Interns are expected to have their own reliable computer and internet access
  • Minimum commitment is 4 months, though the ideal candidate will be available for 6 months
  • Start date is flexible but ASAP in late September/early October

All applications are due by September 18th, 2018 - please send a cover letter and resume to: emily@wecaninternational.org for consideration.

PRESS RELEASE - Visionary ‘Living Forest’ Proposal To Be Launched by Kichwa People of Sarayaku in Ecuador

July 20, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY

July 19, 2018

CONTACTS:
Samai Gualinga (Sarayaku): +593 984-850-138 or samaigualinga@gmail.com
Kevin Koenig (Amazon Watch): + 415-726-4607 or kevin@amazonwatch.org
Emily Arasim (Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network): +1 505-920-0153 or emily@wecaninternational.org 
Jade Begay (Indigenous Environmental Network): +1 505-699-4791 or jade@ienearth.org

Visionary ‘Living Forest’ Proposal To Be Launched by Kichwa People of Sarayaku in Ecuador

Proposal for New International Category of Forest and Rights Protection to be Presented to Government Officials and International Dignitaries

What: The Kichwa Pueblo of Sarayaku will officially launch its Kawsak Sacha, (Living Forest) proposal in Ecuador this July 2018, with a four day exhibition and conference in Quito that will showcase Sarayaku's way of life, culture, and vision, and will involve a formal presentation to the Ecuadorian government and international dignitaries. 

With Kawsak Sacha, Sarayaku proposes a new international category for the permanent protection of native land, free of natural resource extraction, and based upon the interconnected relationship indigenous peoples have with their forests, water, and spirits. 

The launch is timed to coincide with the anniversary of Sarayaku's historic victory at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which found that the Ecuadorian government violated the community's rights when pursuing oil drilling activities without their consent.

Key Events: 

  • Press Conference: July 23, 10 am Pabellón del Hábitat (Parque Arbolito), Quito
  • Exhibition: July 25-28, 10am – 9pm Pabellón del Hábitat (Parque Arbolito), Quito
  • Declaration Launch: July 26, 5pm (Teatro Capítol on Av. Gran Colombia), Quito
  • Film screening + Discussion: July 27, 5pm Children of the Jaguar followed by discussion: “Six Years after the IACHR Judgment: Achievements and Challenges.” 
  • Pabellón del Hábitat (Parque Arbolito), Quito

Full schedule here

Who: Over one hundred representatives of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, including leaders, elders, women, youth, along with national indigenous representatives and special guests from around the world.

Interviews and Multimedia: Representatives of Sarayaku will be available for interviews at the press conference and throughout the four-day exhibition. Photos and video can also be made available upon request.

Background: Currently, no international designation for conservation exists that recognizes the unique relationship between Indigenous peoples and the forest. For Sarayaku, the systems of natural protected areas created thus far by the Ecuadorian state and international organizations, which do not result in full consultation or the participation of indigenous peoples, are not a solution, and in fact degrade and violate basic indigenous rights to autonomy and sovereignty. 

Sarayaku's successful efforts to stop oil activities on their lands have kept an estimated 100 million barrels of oil in the ground, essentially a de-facto no-go-zone beneath 330,000 acres of standing primary, roadless rainforest. Yet their land is not permanently protected, and continues to be a focus of possible new drilling plans. Meanwhile, Sarayaku leaders have received threats for their adamant opposition to oil extraction. 

Kawsak Sacha, if recognized and upheld by Ecuador or other international entities like IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), could serve as a new way to protect indigenous managed forests - an essential defense mechanism to keep the Amazon from turning from a carbon sink to a carbon source at a time when the world must keep two-thirds of  all fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. 

Sarayaku is known as the Pueblo del Medio Día, which roughly translates into 'People of the Zenith'. This comes from a prophecy of their ancestors, who saw a future where many of their indigenous brothers and sisters would give up when faced with the onslaught of threats - oil and mining extraction, agro-business, logging, rubber tappers, and missionaries. Their elders saw that Sarayaku would remain strong, like the sun at its noonday zenith. The Kawsak Sacha Living Forest Proposal provides hope for the Amazon and the world - a concrete solution for protecting forests and the climate while respecting and implementing indigenous  rights and life plans. 

Quotes:

“Sarayaku has fought off oil companies for 35 years. We have expelled companies from our territory, taken our legal case to the Inter-American Court and won. So this experience has well positioned us to present our Living Forest Proposal to the world. We, indigenous peoples, fight for our existence, not our extermination. We want our rights to be respected! Our proposal is a collective and unified effort of our people- men, women, children and elders- responding to the voice of the forest. Our proposal is not only for Sarayaku, but for all humanity and all life on the planet. We’ve had to travel long distances from our territory, leaving our children and way of life, to bring forth a message and proposal for life to the world. We are all responsible for creating and sharing consciousness with our children and future generations. This is what we must do to survive. But we don't just want to survive and exist; we want to thrive.” -- Mirian Cisneros, President of Sarayaku

Quotes from international allies present at the launch: 

“For nearly two decades, Amazon Watch has been a close ally and supporter of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku because we recognize their visionary leadership in protecting rights, forests, and the climate. Against all odds, they have resisted oil extraction on their territory and won, giving hope for respect for indigenous peoples rights everywhere. Now, Sarayaku is sharing a holistic and indigenous-led model for permanent protection of their sacred forest and all of our collective future. We urge the Ecuadorian government and the international community to heed Sarayaku’s call for permanent protection of the Living Forest.” -- Leila Salazar-López,Executive Director, Amazon Watch

“The Kichwa of Sarayaku have been unyielding in their defense of their inherent rights and protection of not only the physical nature of the forest and their pristine ecosystem, but for the consciousness and creative principles of the living spirit of the forests. Our relatives, the Kichwa peoples of Sarayaku have demonstrated their solidarity with Indigenous peoples of the North, from UN climate meetings, to Standing Rock, and most recently with their attendance at the 17th Protecting Earth Indigenous Conference held in the forested coastal region of North America. The Sarayaku have been true allies in our fights to protect the sacredness and territorial integrity of Mother Earth and all life. It is without hesitation that the Indigenous Environmental Network stands with the Kichwa People of Sarayaku as they launch the Kawsak Sacha(Living Forest) proposal to permanently protect their ancestral homelands. Their campaign is timely as Indigenous peoples from the South to the North are rising up to unite to restore balance from a changing climate, protect the world’s remaining cultural and biodiversity, and to stand with one voice to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” -- Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network 

"The Living Forest Proposal represents many years of work and advocacy, and embodies countless generations of ancestral knowledge and vision of the people of Sarayaku. The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network commends and expresses the deepest support of and solidarity with this Proposal. In the context of the global struggle for just climate solutions, Indigenous rights, biodiversity protection, an end to fossil fuel extraction, this Declaration - directly from Indigenous leaders in the heart of Amazon Rainforest - is not only important, it is transformative and groundbreaking. WECAN International joins with international organizations calling on the Ecuadorian government to respect the directive of the people of Sarayaku, as they call for protection of their territory and present a tangible vision for a Living Forest and a thriving future for people worldwide." -- Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

More Information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE - Calls For Justice Raised By Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation During Meetings With Fossil Fuel Funders

May 03, 2018

       

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2018

 

CONTACT:

Emily Arasim - emily@wecaninternational.org, +1(505) 920-0153

Michelle Cook - divestinvestprotect@gmail.com

 

Calls For Justice Raised By Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation

During Meetings With Fossil Fuel Funders

 


ZURICH, Switzerland (May 3, 2018) Over the past week, the third Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe was present in Switzerland and Germany - working to expose harms and injustices, and engage in high-level meetings with Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank, and Swiss government officials, during which Delegates demanded adherence to the standards of Indigenous rights and human rights law, and meaningful action to divest funds from the fossil fuel companies pushing unwanted extractive development in Indigenous territories, while further endangering the global climate.


The Spring 2018 Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe was comprised of both frontline community leaders, and tribal officials who serve or have served in official capacities for their Tribal Nations, including - Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada); Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer); Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); and Monique Verdin (Member of South Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative) - along with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International Executive Director and Delegation organizer). [Full speaker biographies available here].


Building off of the successes and steps taken by the first two Divestment Delegations, Indigenous women leaders spoke their truth as women living and working on the frontlines in impacted communities during meetings with banks, officials, media, and Swiss and German community members. Delegates shared stories, data, and calls for accountability focused on the dire social and environmental impacts of projects including Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines, Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline, and Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline.


Face to face meetings with both Deutsche Bank and UBS bank officials were held, as women leaders followed up on previous demands and discussions, and continued to make impassioned calls for divestment of funding from fossil fuel development, and respect for Indigenous rights to free, prior and informed consent as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  


As part of the Delegation’s work in Zurich, an action was held outside of the Credit Suisse and UBS headquarters in the city’s financial district, during which Indigenous women Delegates and local women from Swiss Klimaseniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection) raised a Tipi structure, and spoke out for Indigenous rights and urgent climate action. The direct-action was a response to a promise made by Delegates to Credit Suisse during 2017 meetings, that if meaningful action was not taken by the bank, Indigenous women would return to their doorstep with their messages and symbols of their homelands.


Following the action, the representatives of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe delivered a memorandum of demands and their analysis to Credit Suisse, before entering into a meeting with Swiss government representatives, including officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labor and Economics.


As one of the central actions of the Spring 2018 Delegation, women leaders also attended the Credit Suisse Annual Shareholders Meeting. Each woman took the floor and shared powerful testimony in front of some 1,200 Credit Suisse executives, employees, and shareholders, exposing exactly how the bank’s money has contributed both historically and currently to egregious violations of Indigenous rights, human rights, and the health of the global climate.

 

The Delegation’s powerful remarks were featured on Swiss national television, and a full recording of the Credit Suisse annual shareholder meeting is available here, with testimony by the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation beginning at minute 1:51:28.


A special evening forum was also held in Zurich [full video here], providing a platform for Indigenous women delegates to address the public, and build important collaborations with European climate, Indigenous, and women’s rights organizations and activists.


Despite purportedly high ethical and human rights standards, Germany and Switzerland are home to several of the world's largest financial institutions supporting extraction projects across Indigenous territories in the United States and around the world, making these two countries the focus of this and the previous two Divestment Delegations.


The third Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe was facilitated by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International in partnership with Indigenous women leaders and their directives, as part of an international movement which is pursuing institutional divestment as a strategy to advocate for change from banks and investors, and protect the climate, and rights and lives of Indigenous communities and others experiencing the impacts of fossil fuel development.


Members of the media are encouraged to reach out with all questions and interview requests. Photos from the third Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe are available for download here.

 

“We are incredibly honored, humbled, and thankful for the reception, recognition, welcoming, and the compassion shown by the good people of Switzerland who have heard our cries for justice and accountability for Swiss investments in Indigenous territories in the U.S. and Canada. I observed, however, that the banks and financial institutions often do not reflect the contemporary heart or values of the Swiss people in my opinion. The world and our nations must work together to capture and make accountable to the people, the financial systems which were created to serve and secure humanity’s resources for our collective future and wellbeing.” explains Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer)


“By meeting with these financial institutions who have invested in companies and projects that impacted my community, they are able to hear and see first hand how their investments were complicit in human, Indigenous and environmental abuses. There is nothing more powerful than the truth.” explains Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)


“Our drinking water and Lakota way of life is threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline and the unethical corporation Energy Transfer Partners. Until our families are safe, we will continue to hold corporations and the financial institutions who fund them accountable. Where is your money going? We are downstream of your decisions. Make a difference and divest.” explains Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota)


“I found it incredible how detached the people are at these big financial institutions, how unaware they are of the realities of the projects they are investing in. This divestment trip really highlighted this. As I spoke of the Orca Whales being threatened by tanker traffic and our water being contaminated by more tar sands pipelines, the guy at the bank said, ‘get to your point’, and ‘ask a question...if you have one!’. Aghast, I exclaimed, ‘Stop funding these corporations that are violating Indigenous rights and are a huge threat to our environment!’. Being accompanied by beautiful, strong leaders from Standing Rock and South Louisiana and Navajo Nation was powerful. I’m sure these Bankers will remember for some time.” explains Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada)

 

“I travelled all the way to Switzerland to better understand how shortsighted investments threatening our Houma Bayou territories in south Louisiana are linked to the protection of the sacred inlet waters of the Tseil Waututh Nation and to the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota in the watershed upriver from my homelands. Our delegation of women spoke our truths from the frontlines, connected to each other by pipeline projects, as we met with bankers in blue suits in big buildings where international investments fuel collaborations with corporations invested in violating human and Indigenous rights and the rights of our Mother Earth. Paths of resistance, against pipeline companies Energy Transfer Partners and Kinder Morgan, led us to the doorsteps of Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse to petition these institutions to divest from bad business practices gambling with false promises of profit over the generational respect of water quality, people lives and their ways of life.” explains Monique Verdin (Member of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative)


“The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is honored to have the opportunity to organize the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation with the directives of strong women leaders standing bravely for fossil fuel divestment, for the water and climate, and for the health and survival of their Indigenous Nations and all people. As a group of diverse Indigenous women living and working in impacted lands including British Columbia, the Gulf Bayou, and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, the Delegates faced intensive meetings where we addressed institutionalized environmental racism, and fiercely advocated to bring about direly needed changes to financial and political systems. It is far past time for financial institutions to be accountable, and for justice to be served in all cases of violation of the land and lives of Indigenous peoples due to the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry. The work of the Delegates is a pivotal contribution to the ongoing global struggle to transition off of fossil fuels, and there is no doubt that the women have had an impact on the bank and government officials whom they looked in the eye and demanded morality and action from.” explains Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

 

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About The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

www.wecaninternational.org  @WECAN_INTL

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in climate change, climate justice, and sustainability solutions. WECAN International was founded in 2013 as a project of the 501(c)3 Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) organization.

PRESS RELEASE - Indigenous Women’s Delegation To Europe Continues Push For Fossil Fuel Divestment By Major Banks

April 16, 2018

       

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16th, 2018

 

CONTACT:

Emily Arasim (general inquiries) – emily@wecaninternational.org, +1(505)920-0153

Michelle Cook (general inquiries) - divestinvestprotect@gmail.com

Osprey Orielle Lake (urgent inquiries in Europe) – osprey@wecaninternational.org, +1(415)722-2104

 

Indigenous Women’s Delegation To Europe

Continues Push For Fossil Fuel Divestment By Major Banks


SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, California (April 16, 2018) – Infused with the spirit of their ancestors and unwavering determination to seek accountability and justice, an Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation will travel to Switzerland and Germany from April 20th to 28th, 2018.

Despite rights violations and dangers to the health of the global climate, some of Europe’s most powerful banks and financial institutions continue unethical financing of fossil fuel projects. The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation is highlighting human rights and Indigenous rights violations, requesting divestment and accountability from companies responsible for these harms.  

The Delegation of Indigenous women leaders from across North America and allies will engage with political leaders, representatives of financial and insurance institutions, civil society groups, and members of the media to share stories, data, and calls to action for immediate movement towards fossil fuel divestment, and a transition to a just, clean energy future.

While obstacles are many, previous delegations have illuminated the power and potential for successful results, as Indigenous women leaders meet eye-to-eye with representatives of the entities responsible for immense cultural and ecological devastation in their home regions.

Spotlighting destructive projects such as Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines, Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline, and Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline, advocacy efforts are aimed at accountability and divestments by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and other companies that are endangering rights and neglecting Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.   

There will be a special event in Zurich, during which Swiss elder women activists will formally welcome the Delegation to Switzerland, strengthening alliances and solidarity between women’s networks, and between nations to bring well-being to the world.  

Spring 2018 Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegates comprise both frontline community leaders, and tribal officials who serve or have served in official capacities for their Tribal Nations, including - Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada); Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer); Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); and Monique Verdin (Member of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative) - with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International Executive Director and Delegation organizer). [Full speaker biographies are available here].

Efforts are centered in Switzerland and Germany, two countries which house several of the world's largest financial institutions supporting dangerous extraction projects across Indigenous territories in the U.S. and globally - despite purportedly high ethical and human rights standards.

The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation is facilitated by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International in partnership with Indigenous women leaders and their directives, as part of a growing movement pursuing institutional divestment as an effective strategy to hold banks and fossil fuel related companies accountable to Indigenous rights and protection of land, climate and water. Coverage of previous delegation efforts is available via Cultural Survival, Yes! Magazine and top news outlets in Norway and Germany.

Members of the media are encouraged to reach out for in-person, phone, and email interview requests. A public event will be held in Zurich on April 26th with short films and panel discussion.

"Kinder Morgan investors need to know there is great uncertainty in the TransMountain pipeline expansion project. I am traveling with the Delegation to share the immense risks we are asked to bare and how committed we are to oppose this project.” explains Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada)

“Everyday we live wondering when the day will come that our people will not have access to drinking water -- pipelines leak.  We are trying to plan for that day. In the midst of poverty and a legacy of oppression, we fight to live, to love, and to ensure our sovereignty.  When the businesses and banks you invest in, are funding the poisonous Dakota Access pipeline flowing under the Missouri River, so are you. Know where your money is going.” explains Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota)

“States in the U.S. are imposing laws and severe punishments to criminalize those who protest harmful resource extraction. Despite, the abuses which occurred at Standing Rock, many of these banks continue to sign on and renew their financial commitments to the companies involved . Our goal is clear, there must be justice and accountability for banks and corporations. Due to legacy of colonial laws in the United States which fail to recognize and adequately protect indigenous rights we must humbly appeal to the international community for their intercessions. Indigenous peoples are in danger, we need Europeans to act, to divest, to organize within their respective nations to make their banks accountable for indigenous human rights abroad. We  need Europe to stand and fight alongside us. Together in unity, acting as one,  in the spirit of mutual aid and defense, we will achieve peace and security for our climate and collective future.” explains Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer)

“Our Delegation's presence puts a face to the indigenous communities and lives who have been displaced, abused, and adversely affected by extractive industries throughout the world. We are here to call for accountability for the destruction of our way of life and rights violations that at occurred with the Dakota Access Pipeline and other ongoing pipeline projects funded by European financial institutions such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank." explains Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)

"I come from a place just south of "Cancer Alley", just north of the "Dead Zone.” This is in Louisiana and it used to be known as Balbancha in our language. My Houma ancestors have inhabited the Yakne Chitto (Big Country) for thousands of years. We are surrounded by a web fossil fuel pipelines, a culprit responsible for contributing to some of the most rapid land loss in the world, in an area with a unique and high level of biodiversity. Yet,  the risks and vulnerabilities have not deterred Energy Transfer Partners or Phillips 66 in their ultimate pursuits to push dirty crude through precious territories. It is with a heavy heart but also hope, that I am journeying with the delegation across the sea to remind and re-warn the European banks funding and facilitating the pipelines about the devastating damage, bad practices and false promises of these companies. They are gambling with the sacred waters and life source for the Houma Nation, indigenous communities, and everyone tied to the Mississippi River Watershed , from North Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and they must be held accountable." explains Monique Verdin (Member of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative)


“Divestment from dirty fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure demonstrates a commitment to our collective future and the web of life. What is needed from financial institutions now is a show of leadership and dedication to ecological sustainability, and human and Indigenous rights, as we face the unprecedented challenges of a world plunging into climate chaos. Indigenous women have long bore the brunt of extractive industries, and despite this, shine powerfully with solutions to the harms that come from these destructive practices. Banks need to listen to Indigenous women and adhere to their demands, which are founded on requests for basic respect for obtaining free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities, as required under international law. WECAN International stands with the representatives of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation and is calling for justice and accountability from financial and insurance institutions engaged in fossil fuel extraction. Business as usual cannot continue. Now is the time to move forward towards a clean and healthy future for all.” explains Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

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About The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

www.wecaninternational.org @WECAN_INTL

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in climate change, climate justice, and sustainability solutions. WECAN International was founded in 2013 as a project of the 501(c)3 Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) organization.

JOIN OUR TEAM: WECAN Seeking Programs Coordinator

March 01, 2018

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is seeking a part-time Programs Coordinator to join a dynamic team of global women working for climate justice, systemic change and women’s leadership in climate change solutions.  The Programs Coordinator will work remotely, under the guidance of WECAN International’s Executive Director, to contribute to event, campaign and program management; volunteer coordination; and varied support of WECAN Internationals global projects and efforts to support women for climate justice through media and storytelling, international policy forums, on-the-ground projects, advocacy campaigns, direct action, and much more.


Key Responsibilities:

  • Research, planning, management and administrative support for varied WECAN programs, campaigns, and projects.

  • Coordination of the Women Speak research database, including:

    • Managing the global volunteer research/writing team

    • Overseeing and contributing to the final content writing, editing and data management process

    • Outreach to introduce Women Speak to global organizations, universities and other institutions

  • Support for WECAN event planning and volunteer management.

  • Support for WECAN partner and network outreach and relationship building (in collaboration with WECAN Communications Coordinator, as needed).

  • Support for communications regarding campaigns and programs including media and story-telling (in collaboration with WECAN Communications Coordinator, as needed).

  • Other flexible collaboration with WECAN’s Executive Director and Communications Coordinator.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree

  • Previous work experience with an environmental/climate justice, women’s, human rights or other social justice focused non-profit or NGO organization.

  • Highly self-motivated and able to work independently.

  • Excellent organization and attention to detail; ability to juggle many tasks at once.

  • Communications background, superb writing and editing skills, and an enjoyment and ease in quick turn around with writing efforts.

  • Developed background in the current climate justice/environmental landscape.

  • Significant knowledge and experience with at least some of the topics and campaigns central to WECAN’s work, including: environmental and climate justice, women’s rights, rights of nature, Indigenous rights, environmental racism, fossil fuel resistance, forest protection, just transition and divestment, and grassroots movement building.

  • Willingness to dedicate personal time to expanding understanding of critical climate justice themes and the WECAN frameworks and focus areas.

  • Enjoyment of working with others and ease with working collaboratively

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Spanish language proficiency

  • Women of color and women of diverse life experiences are encouraged to apply.

Position Details:

 

  • This is a part-time position, requiring 15 hours per week (flexible weekly schedule). For special events, weekly hours may be extended to 20 hours per week.
  • This is a remote position which will be carried out from the Coordinators home location. All candidates must be located in the US or Canada. **Please note this is an update, our sincere apologies to International candidates, we will no longer be able to accept your applications.**
  • Compensation, to be discussed.
  • Start date is flexible, but ideally as soon as possible in April.
  • Employees are expected to have their own reliable computer and internet access.
  • The Programs Coordinator will be expected to commit a minimum of 1 year to this position, however the ideal candidate is interesting in engaging in the long-term with WECAN International.

Applications will be accepted through - Friday April 13, 2018

Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. 

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Please send a cover letter, resume, and reference contact to: emily@wecaninternational.org

PRESS RELEASE - International Organizations Call For Accountability Following Attack On Amazonian Land Defender Patricia Gualinga

February 08, 2018

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 8, 2018

 

Media Contact:

Emily Arasim - emily@wecaninternational.org; +1.505.920.0153

Moira Birss - moira@amazonwatch.org; +1.510.294.2041

 

International Organizations Call For Accountability

Following Attack On Amazonian Land Defender Patricia Gualinga

 

Patricia Gualinga - Photo via Emily Arasim/Women's Earth & Climate Action Network

 

BAY AREA, California (February 8, 2018) – Following recent death threats and acts of hostile intimidation towards Patricia Gualinga Montalvo, an Indigenous Kichwa leader from Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest - over 50 prominent global organizations and individuals working for human rights, women’s rights, environmental and climate justice, issued a statement of solidarity and a call for accountability.

 

The collective statement signed by global organizations including Amazon Watch, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Witness, Frontline Defenders, Urgent Action Fund for Women, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Sierra Club, and Cultural Survival expresses deep concern regarding the attack targeting Patricia on January 5, 2018, during which an unknown man attacked her home in Puyo, Pastaza province, Ecuador, throwing stones at the windows while yelling death threats against her. The attack broke windows and the assailant yelled directly at Patricia Gualinga and repeatedly threatened her with death.

 

This attack occurs in the context of the national debate about the future of oil and mining concessions in Ecuador. Amazonian Indigenous women and the affected communities have repeatedly expressed their rejection of these projects, promoted by the government without their free, prior and informed consent.

 

Global leaders who have added their voice to the letter in solidarity with Patricia also note the growing trend in attacks, murder and intimidation against human rights and Indigenous land defenders worldwide. Last week, Global Witness and The Guardian released new data documenting that at least 197 people were killed in 2017 as a result of their work to protect the land and water, and expose the unjust practices that are threatening the health of their communities.

 

With these critical points in mind, the statement calls on the Minister of Interior and Ombudsman to implement protection measures to safeguard the integrity of Patricia Gualinga and her family that are in consultation with her and in accordance with her wishes; Urges the Minister of Interior to publicly recognize her legitimate work, and the work of all people who defend rights related to land, territory and the environment; and calls on the Attorney General to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack, by making the results public and bring the material and intellectual perpetrators to justice.

 

The statement will be delivered to Ecuadorian government officials including President Lenin Moreno, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Attorney General, to demand an end to impunity in cases of persecution of defenders in the Ecuadorian Amazon such as Patricia.

 

Gualinga is from Sarayaku, and has helped lead community efforts to protect their ancestral Amazon territory from industrial extraction, including winning a historic case against the Ecuadorian government before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She is recognized nationally and internationally for defending the rights of Indigenous peoples against oil companies, and for amplifying the call to keep fossil fuels in the ground in the Amazon and across the globe.

 

“If the intent to attack and threaten me was to instill fear to paralyze me, it failed. Following this incident, I am more motivated than ever to stand strong and work to defend the rights and territories of Sarayaku and all of the Amazon threatened by extraction. I’m grateful for the immediate solidarity of Indigenous Amazonian women who are also facing threats, as well as local, national and international allies who are standing with us to demand justice and accountability. We must stand together to protect the Living Forest and Mother Earth for our future generations and all life,” explained Patricia Gualinga following the recent attack.

 

“Unfortunately, the attack against Patricia is not an isolated incident: threats and harassment of indigenous women leaders occur regularly in Ecuador, as they do against indigenous leaders of all genders. We call particular attention to the cases of Bosco Wisum, José Tendentza and Freddy Taish, assassinated indigenous leaders whose deaths have not been fully investigated by the Ecuadorian justice system. As in the case of Patricia Gualinga, many of the indigenous Earth Defenders who have been attacked in Ecuador have opposed oil, mining, or other natural resource extraction on their territories. Throughout Latin America and around the world, those who defend land rights and nature are targeted with physical violence, intimidation, and criminal prosecution, and Ecuador is no exception,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch [full statement from Amazon Watch here]

 

“The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network refuses to stand idly by while the life of Patricia Gualinga is threatened, and we are demanding accountability and justice for her. Ms. Gualinga’s selfless and dedicated work to prevent oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon has and continues to protect immense cultural and ecological diversity, and has inspired hundreds of others around the world to find their own voice to stand for the Earth, climate, forests and their communities. Patricia Gualinga has stood for us all countless times, and today we raise our voices to make clear that she does not stand alone. The international community is watching diligently, and we will not allow for continued impunity in attacks against any land defenders, particularly Indigenous women, who are putting their bodies on the line around the world every day to fight for a livable future for all people,” said Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International

 

For Further Information:

 

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TOOLKIT - 2018 Women's March, March As Women For Climate Justice

January 12, 2018

We invite women/feminist leaders and allies across the U.S. and around the world to freely use this toolkit to inspire and support your independent organizing to march with ‘Women for Climate Justice’ messaging during January 2018 Women’s March events in your community.

** Click here to DOWNLOAD the 'Women for Climate Justice at the 2018 Women's March' Toolkit **

JOIN OUR TEAM: WECAN Seeking Project Researcher

January 08, 2018

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is seeking a volunteer Project Researcher to join a dynamic team of women working for climate justice, systemic change and women’s leadership in climate change solutions. The Project Researcher will work remotely, under the guidance of the WECAN International Executive Director, to carry out pointed research in various topic areas, with a focus on the ‘WECAN Rising For Fossil Fuel Divestment & A Just Transition’ program. 

Required Qualifications:

  • Confident and thorough research skills
  • Strong note taking and analytical skills
  • Highly self-motivated and able to work independently
  • Great organization and attention to detail
  • Developed background and active interest in several key areas such as climate change, climate justice, women’s rights, social justice
  • Willingness to dedicate personal time to expanding understanding of critical climate justice themes and WECAN frameworks and focus areas
  • Bachelors degree, current university enrollment OR equivalent experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Background in human rights or Indigenous rights
  • Previous experience working with an environmental or social justice focused non-profit organization
  • Diverse backgrounds and life experiences

Position Details:

  • This is a remote, volunteer position which may be carried out independently from any location
  • 6-10 hour per week commitment
  • Researchers are expected to commit a minimum of 5 months, though all researchers involved will be invited to continue to contribute for as long as they wish after the close of their initial research period
  • This is an unpaid position - WECAN is willing to work with institutions/schools to satisfy credit requirements, volunteer hours, etc.
  • Researchers are expected to have their own reliable computer and internet access
  • The start date is flexible, but as soon as possible in February.

**Applications will be accepted through January 30th, 2018.

Please send your resume and cover letter to: emily@wecaninternational.org**