November 12, 2019

Five things you can do for environmental justice

"Our dream is to reach more women. Transformation is urgent and necessary, and we want to create a great ecofeminist movement with the power to transform the world." 

- Agua y Vida: Mujeres, Derechos y Ambiente (Water and Life: Women, Rights and Environment)

Here in Europe we are not at the frontlines of the struggle for environmental justice. We don’t need to organise urgent actions to defend our lands against unexpected agreements made by our governments, nor do we need to come together with allied organisations at short notice to jointly denounce violations in our territories. Yet even when we are not able to join demonstrations or direct actions to oppose the predatory corporate practices that lead to environmental injustices around the world, there are simple actions we can take from afar.

Agua y Vida has come up with some suggestions for all of us:
  1. Research before you buy. Follow the supply chain to find out where big corporations extract the raw materials for their prod­ucts. Investigate what kind of agreements they have made with governments in order to extract these materials, and whether their activities result in the pollution of land and water in comm­unities. If you disagree with the ethics or actions of a particular company, you can buy a different product that has been created more equitably and sustainably.
  2. Choose your food with care. Is the food you eat the product of destructive farming that uses fertilisers, pesticides, routine antibiotics and genetic engineering? Overconsumption of food in many countries is driving land ­­­grabs and deforestation in the Global South, contributing to climate change, destroying crucial ecosystems and exacerbating social inequalities. Lands that belong to local communities are confiscated by private investors, companies, governments and the national elite. Indigenous women are sometimes forced to abandon their ancestral lands and to either relocate to cities or clear forests in order to be able to continue farming. Take a good look at what you eat each day and inform yourself. Could you consume food that has less impact on the lives of communities in the Global South?
  3. Travel thoughtfully. How do you travel in your daily life, or when you go on holiday? Could you make greater use of public transport? Could you fly less? The problem is not only CO2 emissions, but also the targets that are set for the use of agrofuels. Intensively grown agrofuels like corn, soy and canola are putting major and increasing pressure on our lands, forests and food production. Providing food crops for a hungry world should take precedence over feeding cars and planes with agrofuels.
  4. Make a political impact. Change also happens when individuals attempt to directly influence governmental actors or policies on climate change. Does the party you vote for have a comprehensive plan to do something about the climate crisis? If not, seek out a party that lobbies for the binding implementation of human and environmental rights.
  5. Above all, don't forget to share the stories of women’s groups working on the frontlines as widely as you can so that more and more people know about them. Perhaps reading about one of the struggles of our sister organisations can help someone you know to better understand what is happening around the world.

 

And of course, remember that you can always donate to Mama Cash to help us to support groups like the ones we have introduced you to in recent weeks. Your donation will enable these women– who often put their lives on the line in their fight for future generations – to continue their brave struggles.

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