Include women and indigenous peoples in the fight against the climate crisis
“What dominates our society – patriarchy, colonization, racism and capitalism – is actually based on the exploitative power of women, land and people of color,” said Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Director Executive of WECAN International, during COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).
She was speaking at a special session hosted by the UN in which grassroots, frontline and indigenous women leaders, as well as representatives of international climate justice organizations, gathered to discuss struggles and solutions for climate justice.
Feminists and women can make a significant difference when it comes to “changing the current emergency,” said Orielle Lake. “We need to accelerate the leadership and visibility of women, especially indigenous, black, brown and grassroots women. “
Women leaders are still under-represented in international decision-making spaces, but it is women and girls who are disproportionately affected by climate change and “face greater risks and burdens because of its impacts. , especially in situations of poverty, ”according to a joint statement issued in Glasgow by the Scottish government and UN Women.
Orielle Lake asserted that no “significant action” to tackle climate change will take place if women’s struggles and leadership roles are not addressed.
These are women who “have promoted innovative climate solutions to fight the crisis” for their communities, but also “for the health of our territories,” she added.
“What is happening [climate change] is not only unfair, but utterly insane: we have to stop it, ”she said.
She called for action to “keep global warming below 1.5 ° C and at the same time defend the rights of women, indigenous peoples and nature”.
To do this, governments must respect the efforts of women around the world, she said. She explained that gender inequality will only get worse, as those most affected by poverty and, therefore, by the climate crisis, are mainly women and indigenous peoples.