WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOW is excited to celebrate Earth Day this year! Today is a day to appreciate all that our planet provides us and to recommit to protecting it and all the people who live and depend on it. We must take action to stop the escalating climate crisis that threatens to destroy our planet.
Climate change is a global problem that directly affects our daily lives. Extreme weather conditions, environmental pollution, and food accessibility impact our families and communities. But not all communities are impacted equally. Data shows that factors like race, gender, and economics can determine who bears the brunt of this rapidly intensifying disaster and women, especially women of color will struggle the most.
The U.S. is no stranger to public health crises due to environmental misconduct – from the Flint water catastrophe that left poor, mostly Black families without water and dangerously high levels of lead in their blood, to Indigenous women whose breast milk is poisoned by pollution. And when extreme weather events occur, like the recent tornado in Alabama or the flooding in Hawaii, women, especially trans women, are afraid to sleep in evacuation centers. As an intersectional feminist organization, NOW knows that the climate crisis disproportionately affects women, low-income people, and people of color. Any policy tackling this enormous issue must amplify the voices and needs of such impacted communities.
Globally, climate change threatens to stunt – or even reverse – any progress towards gender equality in the developing world. For instance, economies have to adapt to changing landscapes, and men, who are still expected to be the primary breadwinners in many parts of the world, leave their families in search of work. As a result, many women must drop out of the workforce or school to care for their families. Environmental justice is gender justice, economic justice, and racial justice.
We applaud Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the bill they introduced on Monday, the Green New Deal for Public Housing, which will improve the quality of water and electricity in public housing, as well as create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. Clean water, clean air, and clean jobs are basic human rights. Impacted communities should be first and front-of-mind, and Green New Deal policies like this one are the way forward to implement a just transition to a more sustainable and equitable country.
NOW is pleased to see progressive climate advocates like Secretary Deb Haaland in positions of power. With a Native woman finally leading the Department of the Interior, our government can start protecting both the rights of indigenous tribes across the country and our beautiful land from continued exploitation. Activists around the world are working to end the climate crisis like Amariyanna Copeny aka Little Miss Flint, Greta Thunberg, Leah Namugerwa, and Helena Gualinga. These young women are the future and inspire us every day.
Tonight, as part of our 100 Days of a Feminist Agenda series with Black Women’s Blueprint, join us for our climate justice conversation that will explore climate justice as a feminist issue and highlight climate activism. The event, “Katrina, Maria, & Sandy: Climate Justice is a Feminist Issue,” will feature powerful environmental activists Tamara Toles O’Laughlin and Iakowi:he’ne’ Oakes. It begins tonight at 5 pm EDT. You can register here.