Climate Justice: Women leading the Fight

Mary Robinson.JPG

Amy Devese-Jenkins, Journalism Undergraduate, University of Roehampton

A few years ago, over a drink, Mary Robinson sat down with friends to talk about her memoir being published; the memoir she now says she didn’t really feel comfortable releasing.

Instead, a discussion transpired in which the 7th President of Ireland was jokingly told to release a book on her passion, Climate Justice.

“I’ll come out of retirement for that book”, she retorted at the time.

Years of activism later, we’re presented with Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. The book, which was published by Bloomsbury last month, looks at how climate change is causing devastating effects all over the world. Within those most affected are the women who are leading the fight to save our planet one step at a time.

Describing herself as a “prisoner of hope”, Mary passionately voices their stories, enabling an empathetic insight into their lives and experiences. Women from all walks of life now have one large thing in common: they are all faced with an undeniable certainty of plight if Western countries continue with their destructive habits.

So what really is happening to our planet? At its current state, the world sits at a raised temperature of 1?. For some temperate countries, such as the UK, this is liveable and seemingly comfortable. However for others, the effects are already taking its toll.

Droughts, flash floods, crops being destroyed and homes being ruined are just some of the devastations these women have had to face.

If the temperature goes up by a further 0.5?, the world will head into a decline. For those, who are already seeing the effects, Mary wants their voices to be at the forefront.

While working on a panel with Oxfam in South Africa, Robinson met with 5 farmers who explained what they had endured due to Climate Change. 4 out of those 5 were women. All of which had horrific stories.

Malawi, a country known for its horrendous flooding, was left without food or clean water. Women began prostituting themselves in order to survive and get food for their children.

In comparison, Alaska has seen whole villages uprooted due to slippage.

Bringing up a story in which victim of Hurricane Katrina, Sharon Henshaw, was turned into an: “accidental activist”, Robinson voices how the victim’s home in East Foley, Mississippi was destroyed, and she was forced to live in a caravan. Henshaw ended up campaigning and giving a testimony at the Copenhagen Conference alongside others who were passionate about our environment.

Mary goes on to state: “Climate change is a man-made problem that needs a feminist solution based on equality and progressive solutions.”

However, it is not simply the victims who are making efforts to reduce the drastic changes the planet is experiencing. Natalie Isaacs, a cosmetics business owner from Sydney, began reducing her carbon footprint when she stumbled upon documentary “The Inconvenient Truth”. She managed to successfully reduce by 20% before starting the ‘One Million People’ project. The project which aimed to get others to reduce emissions now has its own app. Mary herself is an active participant.

To cut the greenhouse gases by the 45% we need by 2030, Mary asks us all to remember that: “we have to be human about the fact we are not heading towards a safe world.”