Climate Change and Women

A collaborative event between CWO and Free the Planet from Tuesday, February 16th.

What is Climate Change?

  • Greenhouse Gas Effect
    • Greenhouse gas emissions increase due to burning fossil fuels
    • CO2, Methane, CFCs (H2O even!)


  • Atmospheric CO2 Spike
    • Flux of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere over natural cycles
    • Humans are creating CO2 at higher rate than ever. Exacerbating these fluxes (causing larger, more intense CO2 spikes)
    • Not only are we releasing CO2 and other GHG’s… these gasses stay in the atmosphere for a long time and influencing climate.envirograph
  • Impacts of Warming Climate
    • Sea level rise
    • Snow & ice cover decrease
    • Changing precipitation patterns
    • Increased intensity/frequency of extreme weather—floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes
    • Drops in agricultural and fish yields
    • Spread of disease
    • Ocean acidification
    • Also…
      • Positive feedback loops
      • Often, an increase/decrease in one causes an increase/decrease in the other

Who does Climate Change impact?

  • Variable effectsvulnerabilitymap
    • Variable effects geographically!
    • Many areas are more vulnerable than others
    • Bangladesh is ranked as the most vulnerable to climate change impacts in 2011.. due to:
      • extreme levels of poverty
      • high dependency on agriculture
      • high risk of drought
      • highest risk of flooding
    • Impacts the already disadvantaged
      • Climate change and environmental degradation will most greatly affect the least powerful people in society
      • Climate change will exacerbate existing social inequalities, including gender inequality
      • “Gender inequality is showing up… in climate change, Dr. Amber Fletcher”
  • Impacts on Women
    • Extreme Weather
      • 2007 Study: Impact of Catastrophic Events on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy
      • First, biological and physiological differences between men and women may at times disadvantage women in their immediate response to the disaster
      • Second, social norms and role behavior may lead to a behavior of women that increases their vulnerability in the immediate course of the disaster.
      • Third, disasters may lead to shortage of resources of basic need as well as a temporary breakdown of social order, in which case the competition between individuals becomes fiercer and existing forms of gender discrimination become exacerbated and new forms of discrimination can emerge.
    • Food and Water Security

What can we do?

Badass Women

  • Rachel Carson
    • 40’s-60’s,born in Springdale (allegheny river), went to Chatham, concerns about DDT (no singing birds in spring) ‘62 silent spring, super inspiring EPA ecofeminism, death in ‘64(56)
  • Wangari Maathai
    • Kenyan born, school in Kansas originally then here for a masters in Biology! ‘’66, inspiring work in pittsburgh for environmental restoration, back Nairobi for PhD and founding of green belt movement 1977, teaching women how to plant trees and sustainable agriculture, politically active unbowed,  death 2011(71)

Consider these questions that we discussed at the event:

  • As an individual, what is the most effective way you can make a difference to improve gender inequality or address your environmental impact? Do you believe your actions at home can make a difference in the global community?
  • How can we get women more involved in environmental decision-making?
  • Women are not the only groups disproportionately affected by climate change. What other minorities and groups also face challenges due to socioeconomic inequalities?

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