Dear Community,
Five years ago in December, after the tragic Bataclan theatre massacre, the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network along with 600,000 people representing movements from around the world, marched through the streets of Paris demanding climate justice, Indigenous rights, gender and racial justice, rights of nature, the end of false climate solutions, and immediate and just action by governments during the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations. At the end of COP21, world governments from 195 nations signed onto the unprecedented Paris Climate Agreement, a global accord calling for countries to undertake efforts to combat climate change and keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels with the aim of 1.5 degrees. Since then, the IPCC report on 1.5 degrees was released, and scientists made it even more clear the severe crisis at hand, and the importance of immediate action and deeper cuts in global carbon emission reduction targets to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption.

Now, on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, with a global pandemic devastating countless communities, climate catastrophes mounting, and corporations and financial institutions incessantly pushing for fossil fuel extraction, we find many elected officials still failing to take urgent and ambitious action to address our global climate crisis.

Since the Paris Agreement, governments have done little to meet emission reduction commitments, or address the root causes of the climate crisis and structural injustice. With our planet on the brink of destruction, scientists warn that societal collapse is imminent if we do not act now. This past weekend, governments marked the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement with the Climate Ambition Summit, which urged nations to present more ambitious climate plans. While some nations announced bolder pledges and action plans, we know that these proposals will not be nearly enough to avert climate disaster.

Like many in diverse global movements, we are not waiting for governments! WECAN is taking action, despite COP26 being postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. This year we've continued engagement at every level from the local, national to international arenas, and we are ready to advocate ever harder for deep systemic change and climate justice. Feminist leadership is critical for pushing forth progressive international climate policy that meets the urgency of this moment.

Please also see the newest updates from the Women and Gender Constituency here.
WECAN marches with the Women and Gender constituency alongside 500,000 people from around the world calling for serious and immediate climate action during COP25 in Madrid, Spain, 2019. Photo Credit: Katherine Quaid/WECAN International
We cannot continue business as usual, nor promote and implement the false solutions (carbon offsets, carbon-trading, geo-engineering, nuclear energy) that the Paris accord perpetuates. Instead, we must put people and planet first and continue to demand our governments truly rise to their claimed 1.5 degrees goal with genuine and just solutions. We also know that meeting the targets in the Paris Agreement is the bare minimum, and that even a 1.5 goal is not enough.

In 2020, despite great challenges and systemic injustices globally, we have seen the power of mass movements rise to fight for community, for Mother Earth, and for each other. We remain steadfast in our hope as the climate justice movement expands, and as we join millions who are advocating for actions and policies that are in alignment with the magnitude of interlocking crises we face. Solutions that center justice for Indigenous Peoples, Black and Brown communities, frontline communities, women, youth, and the Earth are our way forward.

We are beyond grateful for you, our beloved community that has supported us to continue our work through 2020. Please be invited to donate to WECAN and support us into 2021 and beyond.
Please continue reading for recent updates and highlights of WECAN's programs and action alerts for the coming weeks!
December Action Alerts
Stop Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline in Minnesota!
In the final weeks of 2020, the battle to Stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline has escalated. The final permits for the toxic $2.6 billion Line 3 tar sands pipeline were approved. Minnesota's elected leaders failed to stand with water protectors and frontline communities who have been advocating for the end of Line 3 for over seven years. The pipeline is spearheaded by Enbridge Energy, which has already started construction in rural Minnesota, bringing hundreds of out-of-state workers to the area, further exposing Indigenous communities to environmental pollution and now also COVID-19. Additionally, the development of ‘man camps’ for these workers have been directly linked with increased rates of drug use, sex trafficking and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Watch the video above for more information on Line 3 tar sands pipeline!
Tar sands are some of the world’s dirtiest, most carbon-intensive oil. If constructed, Line 3 would have the climate impact of 50 coal plants, and cause more than $287 billion in climate damages globally. Like Keystone XL and the TransMountain pipeline, Line 3 would mean the expansion of the tar sands industry at a time when we urgently need to transition to clean energy. The route for the pipeline would also cut through the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory of the Anishinaabe people, jeopardizing sacred wild rice and more than 200 waterways including the Mississippi River.

We will continue to follow and actively stand with Indigenous frontline resistance that has been fighting this pipeline for years to ensure Line 3 never comes to pass. Can you take action today to stand in solidarity with those on the frontlines to help #StopLine3?

  • Watch and share the recording of the National Digital Rally amplifying the voices and experiences of frontline water and land protectors leading the Line 3 resistance.

  • Send an email to Wall Street CEOs, Executives and Board Members demanding that they don’t fund the Line 3 and Keystone XL pipelines.

  • Join the Frontlines! On-the-ground organizers are calling for people to join them along the Mississippi River to defend and protect their homelands from Line 3 construction. If you are in the area and able to participate in a safe and healthy manner, please consider joining them. Find a list of COVID-19 protocols here.

Send a Postcard to Include Rights of Nature in the Convention on Biodiversity
WECAN is participating in a new initiative to include Rights of Nature in the international UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD convenes on global policy for Nature, and it is now vital to include policies rooted in Rights of Nature— a framework and legal system based on the recognition and honoring of the Earth’s fundamental and inviolable right to exist, live, thrive, evolve and regenerate.

Please consider sending your national representatives in the CBD a post card calling for the inclusion of Rights of Nature in the upcoming convention. You can find postcards, your representatives, and further information here!

Rights of Nature frameworks challenge the idea that natural communities and ecosystems are property to be exploited endlessly by humans, and instead recognizes the Earth as a living, rights-bearing entity. A Rights of Nature framework requires that those responsible, including corporate and governmental actors, be held fully accountable for negative impacts on Earth systems.

WECAN International Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and has worked extensively within the Alliance to organize and present Rights of Nature Tribunals and other events and actions over the past many years.
Apply to be a WECAN Social Media Intern in 2021!
Thank you to all of you who have reached out to offer support and expertise this year, we greatly appreciate the deep engagement from all of you in our expansive global network. We are excited to announce an opportunity to work with us in 2021 through our Social Media internship!

WECAN is seeking a Social Media Intern to join a dynamic team of global women and femmes working for climate justice, systemic change and women's leadership in climate change solutions. Full details here - applications due December 31.

If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities, please be welcome to reach out to Katherine Quaid, Communications Coordinator here.
Protect the Environmental Authority of Native Tribes in Oklahoma
This past July, many celebrated as the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that much of Eastern Oklahoma falls within Indian reservations. Known as the McGirt decision, it is a victory for tribes with far-reaching implications, including affirming tribal sovereignty over environmental lawmaking. 

However, right now, Oklahoma Governor Stitt (R) is looking to undermine the sovereignty of tribes in Oklahoma by stripping the federally recognized tribes of their environmental authority. 
Casey Camp-Horinek (left), Ponca Nation leader and WECAN Board Member, and supporting organizations, including our friends at Movement Rights, have created a petition calling on the U.S. Congress to:

1. Stop Governor Stitt and refuse to sign any agreement or Act that would strip Oklahoma tribes of their environmental authority

2. Affirm Tribal and Indigenous Sovereignty among the 39 recognized tribes of Oklahoma

WECAN 2020 Highlights
This was a big year for the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network. While we were not able to travel extensively due to the pandemic, we were able to deepen our local on-the-ground and digital organizing, exploring new ways of connecting and further accelerating a women's climate justice movement. Please explore a few snapshots, highlights, and moments from 2020!
Divestment & New Economy
Backed by banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, fossil fuel companies continue to push forward projects, propelling the climate crisis, violating Indigenous rights, and further exposing Indigenous, Black, Brown, and low-income communities to environmental pollution and now also COVID-19. Along with extraction and infrastructure, fossil fuel companies also develop ‘man camps’, which house workers from outside the community and have been directly linked with increased rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
In 2020, WECAN co-organized the sixth Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation with our partner Divest Invest Protect (DIP). The Delegation met with Deutsche Bank to highlight human rights and Indigenous rights violations and call for immediate action toward fossil fuel divestment and support of Indigenous self-determination and a just, clean energy future.

Following the delegation, Deutsche Bank announced a new fossil fuel policy that will immediately end all project-level financing for new oil sands and arctic oil projects. It also announced a process to review all oil and gas companies in its portfolio by the end of year and propose a reduction target, while also reinforcing its commitment to not finance any new coal-fired power plants. Much more action is needed, but we do acknowledge these important commitments.

Also in July 2020, Zurich Insurance announced that it is ending its coverage of the Canadian government's Trans Mountain pipeline. The decision comes after a decade of powerful resistance and advocacy led by Indigenous leaders and communities, and strong campaign pressure and inside engagement by environmental groups over the past years with Zurich Insurance to end its policy with Trans Mountain Pipeline. Special shout out to all the dedicated, hard work of the Insure Our Future coalition, which WECAN is a part of, and the work goes on!

Through the Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation (IWDD) program, founded by Divest Invest Protect and co-directed with WECAN, we met with Zurich Insurance face-to-face in 2017, sharing testimonies from the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and calling for the company to immediately end insuring all tar sands pipelines, including Trans Mountain.
“Coup of the 50ft Woman” was designed by Vanessa Bowen with Lee Francis IV of Wordcraft Circle with concept work from Michelle Cook. The image depicts Indigenous Women's Divestment delegation member Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation) holding a coup stick over Frankfurt city skyline and Deutsche Bank corporate headquarters. Thanks to the Indigenous Human Rights and Corporate Accountability Program for graphic design support!
We celebrate this win and are advocating for other insurance companies to also take action.

We also met virtually with representatives from the Equator Principles Association and the Principles for Responsible Banking along with other finance campaign organizers for productive engagement sessions. In 2021, WECAN will be implementing more strategies to advocate further for financial institutions to truly align their goals with the climate targets laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement and to call for full respect of Indigenous rights.
Women for Forests
Global forests are on the cusp of ecological collapse, due to deforestation, and industrial-scale logging, mining and extraction that are destroying irreplaceable ecosystems, further driving the climate crisis, record-setting fire seasons and environmental degradation. In the face of violence against land defenders, the coronavirus, and forest destruction, diverse groups of women are rising.

Even with many hardships, WECAN's Women for Forests Program flourished this year as we worked to protect the old-growth forests in Alaska and the Amazon and expand reforestation efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

WECAN Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, WECAN participants carry trees from the local nurseries to the Itombwe forest for planting. Photo credit: WECAN International
In the DRC, in addition to education and advocacy work to stop illegal timber harvesting and promote old growth forest conservation, the women of WECAN DRC continued their successful tree nurseries growing over 25 local tree varieties, and are currently in planting season in over 12 communities in the Itombwe region. We also initiated a food sovereignty component to the program this year, and local women are now caring for gardens to increase food security in the area, which is located near two displacement camps and experienced political unrest in the country.

We are very grateful for the powerful leadership of Neema Namadamu, WECAN DRC Coordinator.

WECAN Tongass Rainforest, Alaska
The WECAN Tongass Delegation during a virtual Tongass Lobby Day meeting with lawmakers in Washington D.C. to protect their forest homelands. Photo credit: WECAN International
In Alaska, the WECAN Tongass Hub continues to fight for the protection of their forest homelands in the Tongass National Forest. Tragically in October, the Trump Administration approved the opening of the forest to further logging and development. We will continue to organize at the local and national level and pursue all possible forms of action, including litigation, to defend the Tongass-- learn more about our fight for the Tongass here.

Stay tuned as we continue this fight into 2021, this is far from over!
Amazon Rainforest

To defend the Amazon rainforest, we must support Indigenous women who are the backbones of their communities and leading resistance efforts to protect their forests, with significant wins. This year, Indigenous women's calls to action have included aid in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the novel coronavirus, Indigenous communities throughout the Amazon have been gravely impacted by COVID-19. Amazonian communities face multiple threats as the pandemic spreads across the forest, including increased violence, high levels of morbidity and mortality, a lack of access to healthcare and protective equipment, food scarcity, lack of income and environmental catastrophes including increased deforestation, oil spills, fires and floods.
In May, an unprecedented coalition of Indigenous communities and international organizations, including WECAN, came together to bring much needed relief to frontline communities in the Amazon severely affected by COVID-19.

Since then, over $1,219,338 has been dispersed to Amazonian communities across 9 countries, providing emergency resources and services to approximately 54,350 Indigenous people. Rapid response grants support urgent COVID-19 prevention and care; food and medical supplies; protection and security for Forest Guardians; food sovereignty and much more! To learn more, please watch the recent report back here!

If you would like to support communities in the Amazon as they work to protect the forest while combatting COVID-19, donate here.
Indigenous communities in Ecuador receive necessary supplies through the Amazon Emergency Fund, in response to COVID-19. Photo: Amazon Emergency Fund
Indigenous women from the Amazon lead an historic march in Puyo, Ecuador on International Women's Day, 2016. Photo Credit: Emily Arasim/WECAN International.
We are also honored to be supporting and uplifting the work of the Mujeres Amazónicas Defensoras de la Selva (Amazonian Women Defenders of the Jungle) in the Ecuadorian Amazon where communities have been hard hit by climate disasters and COVID-19. Currently we are supporting their leadership team as they work in their communities and territories, gathering women in assemblies, and carrying out workshops to strengthen their knowledge about their rights as Indigenous women, and as Indigenous people collectively in relation to the land. Their goal is to strengthen women's leadership and role within their communities, as well as enable more women to participate actively in the decision making processes to protect the Amazon.
On the Ground Actions
Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director demands financial institutions stop funding climate chaos during the occupation of a Chase Bank branch in Washington D.C. on January 10 in parallel to Jane Fonda's Fire Drill Fridays. Photo via Ken Cedeno/Greenpeace
In January, before COVID-19 calls to shelter in place, Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director joined dozens of protesters to occupy and shut down a Chase Bank branch for over two hours in Washington D.C., kicking off the "Stop The Money Pipeline" (STMP) campaign. This past year we have been working with the STMP coalition to demand banks, asset managers and insurance companies stop funding, insuring and investing in climate destruction. Learn more here!
Justice for George Floyd youth-led, non-violent march in Oakland on June 1. Photo: WECAN International
Throughout the summer, WECAN joined tens of thousands taking to the streets to confront and eradicate police violence and deep rooted historic inequality and anti-Blackness in the United States and globally. In taking action, WECAN contributes funds to Black-led organizations and joined protests from Oakland to Virginia, demanding an end to institutional racism that continues to kill and harm Black communities. This work must continue!
Food Sovereignty & Security Program
As the cascading crises of climate and COVID-19 continue, food insecurity is on the rise, and it is more important than ever to ensure communities globally have access to fresh and healthy food and medicines. This year WECAN launched a new program led by Indigenous women of the Houma Nation and inter-tribal partners from the Bvlbuncha Collective in the Gulf South of Turtle Island (USA) to secure and grow food and medicinal herbs for their communities, and to support a sustainable path toward community resiliency.

Through Indigenous garden networks, Indigenous women are preserving and propagating plant knowledge, and developing food sovereignty, community and local economies by returning to seeding adaptive practices rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. They are also inspiring solutions to modern-day challenges, including climate adaptation. This WECAN program is led by the brilliant leadership of Monique Verdin (Houma Nation).
The Feminist Green New Deal
In 2019, WECAN International co-convened a coalition of women’s rights and climate justice organizations in recognition that feminist analysis must be part of our discourse on a Green New Deal. After 6 months of ongoing dialogues, The Feminist Coalition for a Green New Deal (FemGND), was borne from collective generation.

As part of the The FemGND Steering Committee, WECAN knows that we have much work to do to achieve Climate Justice and Gender Justice within the U.S. and as part of international climate policy.

In 2020, as a coalition, we've continued to amplify and build out tools necessary to enact the FemGND at the international and national scale, and secure rights-based policies and programs that recognize the global implications of US climate action and inaction. Throughout the year we have participated in collective dialogues and workshops promoting the tenants of the FemGND, co-created policy tools as part of the coalition, and published a response to the US election outcome. Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, was also featured, along with other colleagues, in an article published recently in the academic journal "Gender & Development", addressing the Feminist GND Coalition's organizing and principles, authored by Tara Daniels and Mara Dolan. Please read the article here!
We have also engaged in international discussions to bring awareness to the FemGND and progressive climate policies in various countries. Thanks to our colleagues at WEDO and other groups, we co-convened the Global Feminist Frameworks for Climate Justice Town Hall, and most recently, Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, participated in an online dialogue about the FemGND (pictured right) with Diem25, a pan-European, progressive movement that is organizing for a Green New Deal for Europe. Watch the entire dialogue, aired December 11, here!
We are honored to collaborate with brilliant feminist leaders from across the world, and look forward to continuing this work further in 2021.
WECAN Advocacy and Solutions
International Webinar Series
Speakers from Latin America and the Caribbean discuss the important of ratifying the Escazú Agreement during WECAN's event, "Ratifying the Escazú Agreement: Women for Human Rights and the Defense of Nature" in September 2020. Watch a recording here.
This year we launched “A Just and Healthy World is Possible: WECAN Advocacy and Solutions Series,” an ongoing webinar program lifting up women's climate leadership to support next steps as we continue to collectively build a powerful movement founded on principles of justice, love, and a fierce dedication to our planet and each other.

We held 7 online dialogues, engaging tens of thousands of people worldwide, and amplifying the expertise and experiences of women in response to the cascading crises of COVID-19, the climate crisis, fossil fuel extraction, racism, capitalism, colonization, and patriarchy. Connecting with thousands worldwide, we discussed topics including

  • And much more-- be welcome to explore all the webinars, recordings, and event resources here!
We are very grateful to be doing this work alongside so many powerful and inspiring women leaders, feminists and climate justice organizations. We wish you safe tidings and good wishes into 2021!
For the Earth and All Generations,

Women's Earth and Climate Action Network
(WECAN) International Team