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Watch it back - Women Resisting Climate Change in the Global South - Webinar

Posted by Meaghan Carmody on May 27, 2020 at 12:27 PM

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If you missed it, don't worry. We're recording all of our webinars so you can watch them in your own time.

Watch the webinar here at the link, or in the video below:

This webinar was co-organised by the Galway Feminist Collective and Friends of the Earth Ireland.

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by climate change, there is increasing awareness in the Global North that communities from the Global South will be most impacted by the effects of climate change. We increasingly recognise that those same communities are often on the front line of resistance to extractive projects that threaten the environment and exacerbate the impact of climate change, particularly: mining, mass hydroelectric infrastructure and biofuels. Women across these communities often put their safety, freedom, livelihoods and lives on the line to protect the environment and Mother Earth.

To discuss these issues, and the roots of climate change in historical and modern-day colonialism, we were joined by Lolita Chávez, Guatemalan human rights defender and leader of the Council of K’iche Peoples, and Zeinab Ghadhamfar, the environmental legal officer for the Save Lamu community organisation, part of the network African Women Unite Against Destructive Extractivism (WOMIN), to share their experiences and the risks faced by their communities, and women in particular, when resisting extractivism and protecting the environment.

 Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic is a Maya K’iche indigenous educator and human rights defender from Guatemala. She is leader of the Council of K’iche’ Peoples in Defense of Life, Mother Nature, Earth and Territory (CPK) and member of the TZ'KAT Network of Ancestral Healers of Community Feminism, an indigenous led organisation that supports women activists and human rights defenders involved in community struggles. She was forced to leave Guatemala in 2017 due to threats against her life and has yet been unable to return. In 2017 she was one of three finalists chosen by the European parliament for the Sakharov Human Rights Award and in 2018 she received the Ignacio Ellacuría Award from the Basque government for her work in defending the land of the K'iche people against exploitation.

Zeinab Ghadhamfar is the environmental legal officer for the Save Lamu community organisation, she is involved in visiting remote areas around Lamu to talk about the impacts of the coal plant. With a background in law her passion is working with communities and saving her local area of Lamu from the destruction of a coal plant. Save Lamu is part of the resistance against a coal power plant in Lamu county, Kenya. The proposed plant is a threat to the communities’ health and their livelihoods. The coal plant could potentially displace 120,000 people living in Lamu County. Human rights defenders involved in the campaign have faced police harassment and arrest. The campaign has had a recent legal victory as the environmental tribunal revoked the license to construct the power plant because of inadequacies in the environmental impact assessment and the public participation process. However, the company has appealed the decision. The site is also a UNESCO world heritage site including a mangrove forest which would help to protect the community from the impacts of climate change. Save Lamu is part of the deCOALonize campaign; a movement committed to stopping the development of coal and coal-related industries for a clean and sustainable energy future in Kenya and the region. It is also a member of WoMin, an African gender and extractives alliance, which works to advance an African post-extractivist eco-just women-centred alternative to the dominant destructive model of development.

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