Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Small-scale organic farming can feed the world

In our work, we've seen the incredible contributions women farmers continue to make in their communities when small farms and home gardens, and their caretakers, are uplifted and respected.  This is also something we're seeing in the news more and more each daybut it's not a new idea.  Obviously, small farmers have known this simple truth for years, and apparently, so has the United Nations.  

In a 2013 report by the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled “Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world, UNCTAD urges us all to make some big changes in our agricultural practices.

"Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system."
Read the full article from TECHNOLOGYWATER here, and the Trade and Environment Review 2013 report here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weathering the Storms Together: Grassroots Women’s Response to Climate Change

WEA shares our thoughts on women, climate change and more in Earth Island Journal's online edition.

"Tomorrow, September 29, is Global Women's Climate Justice Day of Action. As nations prepare for the UN COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, women across the world will tell their stories, demonstrate their solutions, and demand that our world leaders take meaningful action on climate change. As the late Dr. Wangari Maathai said, "...not only are women bearing the brunt of environmental and development setbacks — they are also a powerful source of hope in tackling climate and other environmental threats, and their voices must be heard." 
On this day of action, we have a chance to remind our global community that when we invest in women, we invest in food and economic security, community health and protection of land and our precious natural resources. Join us as we deepen the conversation: how can we powerfully stand with the leadership of grassroots women leaders who are on the forefront of struggle and transformation? Because when grassroots leaders can share best practices, access resources, and take collective action, they build a foundation that communities can stand on to weather storms together."

Read the full article here.  And we'd love to hear how women in your life are driving solutions to change!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The SDGs: Landmark achievment, or a step backward?

Photo by: UN
"The 2030 agenda for sustainable development is being hailed as a landmark achievement for women’s rights and gender equality. But the adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) this weekend, featuring celebrity-studded side events and thousands of observers, threatens to overshadow – and perhaps even undermine – the 20th anniversary of a much more significant global agenda for women’s rights: the Beijing declaration and platform for action.

...The objectives of Beijing were consistent with a recognition of the deeply structural nature of the inequalities experienced by women. By openly challenging austerity programmes and the impact of macroeconomic policies on women, the platform acknowledged that the neoliberal, “trade not aid” model of development was – and is – failing the majority of the world’s women. Despite the intervening impact of two global financial crises, rocketing wealth inequality, growing fundamentalisms, and a steadily worsening climate crisis, the SDGs fail even to match the Beijing agreement’s level of ambition, let alone build on it to meet our current challenges."
The Guardian takes a look at how the Sustainable Development Goals--to be adopted this weekend in New York--measure up to previous global attempts to address a myriad of issues such as gender equality.  Read more here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

In the News: How Climate Change Impacts Women the Most

Photo by: Rucha Chitnis
"Climate change directly impacts the ability of women to achieve their own human rights and increases gender inequalities," Eleanor Blomstrom, program director for the Women's Environment and Development Organization, told VICE News.

Despite the greater threat to women, their needs are often neglected in sustainability planning, said Nisha Onta, a gender and climate change expert with the women's rights organization WOCAN. Under UN climate change guidelines, for example, developing countries are expected to submit plans for how they will adapt to a changing climate. But those plans are often made without incorporating plans for addressing gender inequality, like the fact that a lower-class woman in Bangladesh might not be allowed to use a new water pump, which is seen a important tool for managing changing precipitation patterns.

"The needs and reality of women are lacking and the work of women is kind of taken as a given," Onta told VICE News. "[Developers say,] 'We will go in and we will have water, we will make water accessible.' How are you going to do that? Women are going to collect this water. Have they been consulted? Do they have time?"
Read more about the differentiated impacts of climate change, and how the UN hopes to address this with it's Sustainable Development Goals in this great article from VICE News.