Women are essential to climate resilience in the Caribbean heres why

February 7, 2019 by  
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The impacts of climate change are felt most intimately by poor and rural women. Many women rely directly on nature for their income, and their lack of resources prevents them from shifting to alternate jobs or safer locations during disasters. However, the same factors that make women vulnerable — their connection to nature and ties to community — are also the strengths that make women critical and competent leaders in times of crises. In the Caribbean, climate experts are increasingly looking at not only at how they can include female perspectives to alleviate inequalities, but how they can empower women to lead the way toward resilience. Women and climate vulnerability According to a UN Population Fund report , “The poor are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and the majority of the 1.5 billion people living on $1 a day or less are women.” With men leaving rural communities to find jobs in urban areas or overseas, women in the country-side are often the primary — and in many cases the sole — caretaker and breadwinner for their families. Many women lack the freedom, flexibility and mobility to relocate or readjust their lives for work, or for safety when disasters hit. Small islands are on the front lines of climate change The Caribbean region is particularly vulnerable, with small rises in sea level and temperatures having drastic consequences ranging from flooding, severe erosion and massive die-off of coral reefs to consecutive category five hurricanes. Caribbean nations depend on natural resources for their economies — namely agriculture, fisheries and coastal tourism. With so much at stake, Caribbean leaders united to demand world leaders commit to curbing global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, arguing that the agreed upon increase of 2 degrees would be catastrophic. As small islands fight to have their struggles and solutions heard in global debates about global warming, they are also fighting for the muffled, but mighty voices of women. Women, advocates argue, are accustomed to being resilient, community-driven and goal oriented — especially when it comes to the goal of feeding their families. “In climate change decision making, when women are in control in critical large numbers, we see the emphasis placed on the social issues of housing, refugees, food , food security — in a way that doesn’t happen if women are absent,” said Dessima Williams, Grenada’s previous ambassador to the UN and Chair of the Association of Small Island States. Related: The world is close to annihilation according to the iconic Doomsday Clock Natural disasters exacerbate inequalities During natural disasters, limited resources are further diminished. Limited jobs — such as clearing roads and restoring power — are often earmarked for men. Social services, such as child care, are slow to restart, preventing women from returning to work as swiftly as their male counter parts. “Homelessness and overcrowding in damaged homes, reduced income, health problems, lack of transportation, disrupted social services and other disaster effects impact women disproportionately, exacerbating preexisting power imbalances between women and men,” wrote  Dr. Elain Enarson in her book, Women Confronting Natural Disasters: From Vulnerability to Resilience . Women are part of the solution Sustainable development experts argue that a power shift to give women decision-making authority would not only uplift women and their dependents, but societies as a whole. In fact, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s website stated, “Women’s participation at the political level has resulted in greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs, often increasing cooperation across party and ethnic lines and delivering more sustainable peace.” Recognizing the benefits of including women in decision making, the Caribbean region has hosted a number of meetings to spur discussion on including gender perspectives into climate adaptation strategies. “There needs to be dialogue, learning and listening. The power relationships determine how action on climate change is played out and the success rate of projects to deal with climate change,” Vijay Krishnarayan, director general of the Commonwealth Foundation, said at a regional meeting on the intersection of gender and climate change in the Caribbean. Related: Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need? “Much more needs to be done to completely capitalize on women’s potential, requiring methods that encompass their access to education and quality training, to economic resources and financial services, and to new forms of financing,” Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Alicia Bárcena underscored at a High-Level Political Forum at the UN headquarters. The inclusion of women is not unique to the Caribbean, and leaders throughout developing nations have united to recognize the importance of sharing successful solutions across continents and then enabling women’s leadership in implementing localized projects that fit for their own communities. “A lot of women have developed micro-level adaptation approaches, indigenous solutions and traditional knowledge that are not being replicated at the macro level,” said Kalyani Raj, a representative from India during a climate conference in Paris. “We must recognize that women are not just victims, we are powerful agents for change. Therefore, women need to be included in the decision-making processes and allowed to contribute their unique expertise and knowledge to adapt to climate change, because any climate change intervention that excludes women’s perspective and any policy that is gender blind, is destined to fail.” Via Panos Caribbean Images via Shutterstock

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Women are essential to climate resilience in the Caribbean heres why

What business can do to close the financial inclusion gender gap

May 30, 2018 by  
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At our current pace, it will take 18 years for all women to use financial services to save, borrow and protect themselves against downturns.

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What business can do to close the financial inclusion gender gap

Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

May 30, 2018 by  
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Artifical Intelligence can move our planes, trains and automobiles in the right direction.

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Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

May 30, 2018 by  
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The Great Lakes State is a microcosm of not only the Midwestern but also the national utility landscape.

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How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

How is Project Drawdown reversing global warming in 2018?

May 21, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. In this episode: Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, senior writer of Project Drawdown, says that reversing climate change is achievable, but “up to us.”

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How is Project Drawdown reversing global warming in 2018?

Source materiality: How to approach ESG material disclosure

May 21, 2018 by  
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You might not be getting rewarded for all of your sustainability work.

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Source materiality: How to approach ESG material disclosure

17 organizations feeding the world through regenerative agriculture

May 21, 2018 by  
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Re-building resilience, one community at a time.

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17 organizations feeding the world through regenerative agriculture

Climate change is threatening the garment industry

March 27, 2018 by  
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Extreme weather in India is harming worker health and posing risks to women’s rights.

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Climate change is threatening the garment industry

42 people own same wealth as bottom 3.7 billion – new Oxfam report

January 22, 2018 by  
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82 percent of the wealth created in 2017 “went to the richest one percent ” of the world’s people, according to Oxfam . In their recent report entitled Reward Work, Not Wealth , published just as world leaders are preparing to convene for the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, the non-profit organization reveals a worsening inequality crisis in which “the benefits of economic growth continue to concentrate in fewer hands.” The Oxfam report shows that 2017 “saw the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history” – a new one every other day during a year. There are 2,043 dollar billionaires on Earth, and “nine out of 10 are men.” The billionaires’ wealth increased by $762 billion in 12 months – “enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.” Related: The wealthiest ten percent of the population generate half of the world’s emissions While 42 people “own the same wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people,” 61 people own the same wealth as the bottom 50 percent. And “the richest one percent continue to own more wealth than the whole of the rest of humanity.” Economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said in the report, “Sometimes the super-rich call out Oxfam and others for ‘stoking class warfare’ but the truth is that in many societies, including my own, the United States, many of the super-rich have in effect declared war on the poor. The urgent need is to rebalance the tables, defend the rights of the poor, and re-establish fair societies that meet the needs of all in line with globally agreed goals.” Oxfam called on policy makers to acknowledge how the world’s economic system is impacting poor people in the world, and make changes to promote greater equality. They listed such policies as ending the gender pay gap, and protecting women workers’ rights as steps toward that goal. They also said in their statement they estimate “a global tax of 1.5 percent on billionaires’ wealth could pay for every child to go to school .” + Reward Work, Not Wealth + Oxfam Lead image via depositphotos , others via Hermes Rivera on Unsplash and Benny Jackson on Unsplash

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42 people own same wealth as bottom 3.7 billion – new Oxfam report

Episode 70: How to cash in on circularity; L’Oreal’s women lead on climate

April 7, 2017 by  
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On this week’s podcast: L’Oreal banks on women to lead the climate fight; protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline cause international banks to divest.

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Episode 70: How to cash in on circularity; L’Oreal’s women lead on climate

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