Thursday, July 17, 2014

WEA Partnership with GREEN Foundation Supports Women Farmers in Karnataka

In India, climate change, the steady degradation of natural resources, as well as political and social unrest and inequity, has severely affected the lives of millions of rural poor—a majority of which are women—who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. These barriers help to make women and girls more vulnerable to societal and health dangers, and reinforces patriarchal practices that deny them access to arenas where decisions affecting them are made.

That's why WEA was thrilled to partner with GREEN Foundation last year to recognize the knowledge and expertise of women farmers to promote food security and build community resiliency. Through this partnership and GREEN Foundations amazing efforts on the ground, women farmers in Karnataka were mentored, trained and supported as they shared and built their skills in sustainable agriculture, seed saving, income generation, community organizing, and leadership around climate adaptation.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meet Our Summer Intern!

We don't know what we'd do without all the wonderful interns who have given of themselves to support our work over the past few years.

That's why we're so excited to introduce you to the amazing intern working with us here in Berkeley this summer!  She's a rockstar, and we feel so lucky to have her on board!  If you're in the Bay Area, come by and say hi to Kelsey and the rest of the team!

KELSEY RILEY – General Intern

1. Tell us about yourself – Background / Journey to WEA.  Born and raised in the Bay Area, I have always appreciated the incredible amount of cultural and environmental diversity Northern California has to offer. Even as a child, I knew that I was incredibly lucky to live in such an amazing area with countless opportunities. I grew up volunteering at school events and summer camps, and it has always been my passion to give back to my community. Here in Berkeley I volunteer through a mental health awareness org, as well as a homeless shelter for youth ages 18-25.

I just finished my second year at UC Berkeley and I am majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. A good friend of mine interned with WEA previously and after I heard about her experiences, I knew I had to get involved!

2. What do you do at WEA?  Generally I help with daily operations, whether it be logging donations or writing thank-you cards to our generous donors. In addition I have been working on some graphics to add to WEA’s social media pages, as well as doing research on the Alberta tar sands and their impact on indigenous women and their communities.

3. Share 2 unique/fun/crazy/weird things about you that your co-workers do not know! I enjoy the movie Napoleon Dynamite a little too much! I won a pig-calling contest when I was seven… I am strangely proud of this accomplishment.

4. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the intersections of women, indigenous issues and the environment?  I think that at times it can be difficult to examine the intersectionality between these categories because they each have issues within themselves. We must be able to look at these intersections critically and search for ways in which they bring different identities together in order to make sense of these complex challenges and find ways to actively work on them.

5. Tell us about a woman who inspires you and why.  Emma Thompson. Other than being an Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter, she supports anti-poverty agency ActionAid, is the chair of human rights organization The Helen Bamber Foundation, and works to raise awareness of human trafficking. I deeply admire both her work in film and her philanthropy.

6. Tell us one thing that surprised you at WEA.  How such a small group of individuals can make such an impact in so many ways. WEA is a living, breathing example of women supporting women in a way that brings individuals of all experiences together to empower one another. WEA encourages women to continue being successful leaders within their communities.

7. What do you hope to get out of your time at WEA?  I hope to learn more about the intersections between women and environmental issues, and how women can work together to make differences both in their communities and on a more global scale. I also hope to contribute to hands-on, creative projects that assist the social media presence of WEA as an organization.

Meet the rest of the talented interns that have worked with WEA throughout the years here!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WEA and Fondo Semillas Support Indigenous Women Leaders

In Mexico, the legal system fails to include any specific legislation protecting women's land and property rights. Therefore, Indigenous women's actual control over property has been very limited. Despite the urgency and importance of the situation, there are very few organizations working to improve women’s access to land.

That is why WEA has partnered with Fondo Semillas—the only women’s fund in Mexico—to support Indigenous women leaders who have come together to represent "an unprecedented effort to spark a movement for indigenous women’s land rights in Mexico.”

Meet Silvia (Zapoteca-Chinanteca), one of the courageous grassroots women supported by our partnership, who is working for Indigenous women's land rights in Oaxaca.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Environmental Injustice: Communities on the Frontlines

One of the key concerns in much of WEA's work is around the continued presence of environmental racism and environmental violence in Indigenous communities around the world, and how that presence impacts women in particular.  We see this appear in many ways: the siting of hazardous waste facilities, American corporations' sale and exportation of poisonous pesticides otherwise banned in the U.S., mining and exploitation on Indigenous lands, and much more.

To illustrate this point, here's an infographic specifically highlighting the impact of hazardous and toxic waste facilities, and abandoned or working mines in racially, ethnically and socially underrepresented communities in the United States.