Celebrating Activists on International Women’s Day

Celebrating Activists on International Women’s Day

Celebrating Activists on International Women’s Day

Women have long been at the forefront of social and environmental justice battles. From protecting Indigenous sovereignty to fighting for gender equality, trans rights, food security, or climate and racial justice, women are tirelessly resisting oppression and promoting peace and solutions worldwide.  We know that climate change isn’t fair game for everyone;  and gender imbalances in decision-making can exacerbate the problem, making decisions that don’t really consider what women and gender minorities have to offer – their needs, skills, and insights. And guess what? They’re the ones getting hit hardest by climate change too.  

As a mom and organizer with Greenpeace, I often find myself looking out at the world’s struggles with a mix of exhaustion and determination. The challenges sometimes seem overwhelming to even fathom a peaceful future for my children. Still, I’m steadily re-inspired and grateful for the compassionate people around me demanding AND doing better. Small steps or large leaps, each action reinforces our collective power. I try to instill this value in my children, hoping one day they’ll witness and understand it as they navigate the world.

Today it’s International Women’s Day, and I want to shine a spotlight on some of the committed activists whom I’ve had the privilege to work with here in Toronto. This is just a tiny (yet mighty!) sampling of the larger network of stellar Greenpeace women out there.

As we reflect on the progress made in fighting against gender-based marginalization and the exploitation of nature, it’s also crucial to acknowledge the work that still lies ahead. As we look forward to the next decade, women everywhere have some big dreams for the future of women and our planet. They’re talking about smashing gender norms, tearing down oppressive systems that hold people back, and making sure everyone – regardless of gender, race or where they live – has the same opportunities to thrive on a healthy planet. Sounds great right?! 

Each of these activists has a unique journey that led them to Greenpeace and the environmental movement. Whether it’s a love for nature, a deep-rooted passion for social justice, or a burning desire to protect the planet for future generations, their motivations are as diverse as their backgrounds!

Here’s what these women had to say … 

“I grew up in Trinidad, a Caribbean island that’s vulnerable to extreme weather. Hurricanes are a yearly reality for the Caribbean region, and now they’re both more frequent and powerful. And there’s no place to outrun a hurricane on an island. So I’m determined to fight for the inhabitants of not just the Caribbean, but all those who live in at-risk climate disaster areas. 

What initially drew me to Greenpeace is the awesome change we make in the world. But what inspires me most is the very strong duty of care we have for our volunteers. As a volunteer myself in different groups, it’s important to feel fully supported when you’re freely donating your time, energy, and dedication. And Greenpeace sets a high bar for this; we love our volunteers and don’t take them for granted.

I’d love for women to stop feeling guilty about not doing more as individuals to live a green lifestyle. Maybe you need to use plastics, drive a gas car or can’t recycle… and that wracks you with guilt. Please stop! Let’s not forget who the real culprits are – the fossil fuel companies, and their bankrollers, especially Canada’s big 5 banks. Shifting the narrative to individual responsibility (and guilt) is something these culprits are extremely good at. Let’s not buy into their brainwashing. Shift your energy away from individual guilt and channel it towards action against those who continue to destroy our planet while making obscene profits doing so.”

“I came of age during a time in Australia full of success for activism. Tree-sitters saved old-growth rain forests from logging, indigenous Australians achieved greater land rights, and government policy banned the use of dangerous chemicals which were eating a hole in the ozone layer. As someone who has experienced multifaceted segregation, along racial, gender and class lines, it seemed like a time when different types of people were uniting for the common good. Now, we’re in very different times. The world is more polarised than ever, but I still maintain optimism that we can be united once more because I’ve seen it happen and know what is achievable when it does. I’m looking forward to seeing women be part of a movement that unites instead of divides because we share so much more than just our experiences of marginalization.”

“My journey with the environmental movement began with a simple realization: our planet is in crisis, and it’s up to each of us to do our part to protect it. Greenpeace provided the platform and community to amplify my voice and make a tangible difference in the fight for a more sustainable future. Looking ahead, I hope to see greater inclusivity and empowerment for women within environmental leadership roles. By fostering diversity and inclusivity, we can unlock the full potential of our collective efforts to address the pressing environmental challenges we face”

“I was brought to Greenpeace when the various climate events of 2023 got me searching for a fight worth joining. I have wanted to do something about the environment for many years but have many climate doomers in my family and frankly didn’t know where to start.  On International Women’s Day 2024, I would like to see more recognition and support for the victims of sexual violence (women and children, Israelis and Palestinians)  during the Israeli-Hamas war.”

So, on this International Women’s Day 2024, let’s celebrate the resilience, courage, and determination of women everywhere who continue to lead the charge for a more joyous world based on a healthier, livable relationship with the earth.

We need you, and we thank you!

“In nature, nothing exists alone.”

Rachel Carson ,Read More  Greenpeace Canada  

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