Dear Community,
We hope you are taking care as communities around the world continue to experience uneven impacts of severe climate disasters, ongoing uprisings, and the Covid-19 pandemic. While the systems of capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and colonization persist in harming our communities, we are consistently buoyed by the abundant power and solutions of women and feminists rising for climate action and justice, and organizing for people and planet.

In the United States, it is Black History Month and we are taking this time to further uplift and celebrate Black women’s climate and environmental justice leadership and solutions globally. We honor the legacy and history of trailblazing Black matriarchs like Hazel Johnson, widely known at "the Mother of Environmental Justice"; as well as powerful youth leaders worldwide like, Leah Namugerwa, who is fighting for forest protection and a ban on plastic pollution in her home country of Uganda; Oladusu Adenike, a Nigerian eco-feminist, climate justice activist and founder of I Lead Climate; and Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru, a U.S. environmental justice advocate, who is the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall scholarships, and founder of Black Girl Environmentalist.

These are just a few of the many remarkable women and feminists around the world who are advocating and fighting for current and future generations and a thriving planet. Please enjoy the rest of the newsletter where we highlight upcoming events and share updates on our campaigns and programs.
Womxn Act for Climate Justice
International Women's Day Online Event
Monday March 8, 2021
10:30am PST USA // 1:30pm EST USA // 7:30pm CET Europe
Womxn worldwide are continuing to call for a different path forward in 2021 and beyond as we reweave and forge a path onward in the midst of multiple crises, with global communities confronting the Covid-19 pandemic and intensified climate chaos, racism, gender and economic inequity, Indigenous rights violations, environmental degradation, and much more.

Please be welcome to join us on International Women’s Day, March 8th for "Womxn Act for Climate Justice", a dynamic international network-wide event highlighting the struggles and solutions of womxn climate leaders in the WECAN network. During the interactive gathering, we look forward to sharing inspiring updates from WECAN regional coordinators and allies, as well as exploring some of our plans and vision for 2021 and how you can be involved.

We are committed and steadfast in our collective and ceaseless fight for Indigenous rights, Black liberation, gender equity, rights of nature, true democracies, climate justice, and the protection of this planet we hold so dear. We are inspired by womxn and feminists who are leading resistance movements, building climate solutions, and re-imagining a future grounded in justice and care globally. The small window of opportunity for acting on the climate crisis is already upon us— now is the time for systemic change and building the just and healthy world we seek.

Speakers to date include: Neema Namadamu, WECAN Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation), Environmental Ambassador, WECAN Senior Project Lead/Board Member; Carmen Capriles, WECAN Coordinator for Latin America; Monique Verdin (Houma Nation), member of Another Gulf is Possible, Director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, and WECAN Indigenous Food Security & Sovereignty Program Coordinator; Daiara Tukano, Tukano Indigenous peoples of the Brazilian Amazon, Independent communicator and coordinator of Radio Yande; Karina Gonzalez, WECAN Women Speak Programs Coordinator; Rebekah Sawers (Yupik) and Kari Ames (Tlingit), WECAN Indigenous Representatives in the Tongass Forest, Alaska; and comments and analysis by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director.

Why Womxn? for this event we chose to use the written word Womxn, which has roots in intersectional feminism, to uplift the varied and intersectional experiences of womxnhood globally. This is an inclusive space across identities and the gender spectrum.
WECAN Indigenous Women-led Food Sovereignty and Security Program
Kellyn LaCour-Conant (Clifton Choctaw/Cane River Creole), a participant of the WECAN Food Sovereignty program, working in the garden at Baton Roots & Beauregarden, Iti Humma, Louisiana.
Photo via WECAN International.
In 2020, WECAN launched the Indigenous Women and Femme-led Food Sovereignty program in partnership with Indigenous leaders from the Gulf South. The program engages with Indigenous women to secure and grow food and medicinal herbs for their communities and support a sustainable path toward community resiliency during cascading crises of climate, colonization, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the onset of colonization in the United States, Indigenous women of the Mississippi River Delta have been forced to adapt and compromise their relationships with the water, land, and food. However, against all odds and against great challenges, Indigenous women are demonstrating every day their unique and essential ideas and skills to offer at this turning point in history, as humanity faces a crisis of survival and must make crucial changes and decisions about how we are living with the Earth and each other.

Network members are collaborating with inter-tribal Indigenous peoples and allies to build a network of medicinal and food gardens to revitalize traditional ecological practices, restore and maintain biodiversity, and provide food and financial security. The network will also enhance food security practices and strategies to support circular local economies.
The program spans across the United States Gulf South, along old Indigenous trade routes, within the traditional and contemporary territories of the Chata, the Mvskoke, the Biloxi, the Tunica, the Attakapas-Ishak, the United Houma Nation, the Chitimatcha, the Washa, the Chawasha, the Tchopitoulas, the Bayougoula, and upon the lands that were home to the ancestors of the Nations whose names were erased during the early years of European contact. Additionally, these are the adopted homelands of other Nations who found their way to the southeast in search of sovereignty.

We are honored to be coordinating this program with WECAN Project Leader, Monique Verdin (Houma Nation), a member of Another Gulf is Possible, and director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, read her full bio here.
Dr. Tammy Greer (United Houma Nation) shares some of the herbs and medicines from her garden in southern Mississippi. Photo via WECAN International
Financial Institutions Workshops
Throughout the month of March, WECAN is co-organizing and facilitating several high-level workshops for international financial institutions that will focus on policies and practices regarding Indigenous rights, deforestation, fossil fuel extraction, and how financial institutions can align with the Paris Climate Agreement and, in fact, exceed it (with the critical understanding that the Paris Agreement is fully insufficient to meet the scale of the crisis and does not address climate justice).

The workshop engagements will offer valuable insights on the significant impact of extractive industries on local and Indigenous communities. Several key issues will be considered including the links between financing for deforestation-risk commodities and climate change, the impact of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure in Indigenous communities, the operationalization of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the impacts on women and girls in extraction zones, and how sustainability and human rights policies are necessary to meet and exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement.

We are working with several partners and are honored that the workshops focused on Indigenous rights will be Indigenous women-led with the leadership of Divest, Invest, Protect and the Indigenous Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program (IHRDCAP) currently housed at the University of Arizona School of Law.
Escazú Agreement Campaign:
Protecting Nature and Securing the
Rights of Women Land Defenders
in Latin America and the Caribbean
The Escazú Agreement is a groundbreaking multi-lateral accord that can help protect women land defenders under attack for defending their water, forests and communities, as well as help preserve biodiverse ecosystems across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Last year, the regional accord was officially ratified, and countries are now starting the process for the Agreement to enter the implementation phase.

WECAN has been advocating for the Escazú Agreement for the past four years, and we are excited to move to phase two of our Escazú Agreement campaign in 2021, ensuring that the solutions, experiences, and leadership of women land defenders are centered in the process of implementation. At the end of February, we will be convening a group of women policy makers, activists, and frontline land defenders to discuss next steps and strategies.

In 2020, WECAN convened a productive and inspiring online discussion with powerful women leaders from Latin American and the Caribbean to discuss the importance of The Escazú Agreement. The speakers (pictured below) highlighted the connections between women land defenders, human rights, forest protection, and community resilience. If you would like to learn more about The Escazú Agreement, please be welcome to watch the full recording of the event via Youtube or Facebook.
Latin America is one of the deadliest regions in the world for environmental land defenders. Combined with entrenched colonial and patriarchal policies, individuals threatened are often times Indigenous peoples and Women Environmental and Human Rights Defenders (WEHRD) fighting for the protection of their communities and territories. Despite threats and violence, frontline and Indigenous women frequently act as the backbones of their communities, knowledge keepers of biodiversity and forests, and leaders in resistance efforts to defend their lands. They are also the inspiration for alternative actions and solutions. With proper implementation, the Escazú Agreement will secure the rights of land defenders and human rights activists as they work to protect the environment and their communities from further harm.
WECAN Tongass Hub, Alaska
Fighting for Food Sovereignty & Forest Protection
Wanda Culp (Tlingit), activist, artist, and WECAN Tongass Coodinator picks berries that grow as part of the ancient ecosystem of the Tongass Forest in Alaska. Photo by Emily Arasim/WECAN International
WECAN continues to fight for the protection of the forest and in support of Indigenous rights in Alaska's Tongass Forest. In 2021, we are continuing the ongoing lawsuit targeting the past Administration’s elimination of Tongass National Forest protections. Additionally, WECAN Indigenous Women Tongass Representatives are also tackling food sovereignty and land management issues in their communities.

Decades of colonial policies have led to a complex and misused land management system in Alaska, which has led to deforestation and the destruction of Indigenous territories critical for hunting, gathering, and customary and "subsistence" practices. “Subsistence” practices are the cultural food assurance actions and methods derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and expertise created within well-established regions and territories across Alaska.

At the beginning of February the WECAN Tongass hub, led by Wanda Culp (Tlingit) WECAN Tongass Coordinator, submitted a proposal to the Federal Subsistence Board in Alaska calling for a total restructuring of policies and practices regarding federal and state land management, food sovereignty and security, Indigenous connections to the land, and forest protection. The proposal states in part:
"As Indigenous Women, we represent the air, land, and sea through our deep cultural connections to our land and waters— and our words provide the missing grassroots Voice from our Indigenous point of view. Our Tribal Voice and total involvement is missing from the current federal land management regime... WECAN Tongass Indigenous Women’s PROPOSAL and CONCEPT stems from the Indigenous point of view with the intent of creating order and uniformity into laws that directly affect our lives, future and destinies."
For many Indigenous communities, subsistence is synonymous with culture, identity, survival and self-determination. To continue mismanaging the local region and opening the Tongass forest to further industrial scale logging, would not only be detrimental for the forest, but also decimate salmon populations, negatively affect local economies, destroy important carbon stores, and will mean cultural genocide for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian whose life-ways are deeply interwoven with the Tongass, their traditional homelands.

As we continue to deepen our work in the Tongass, we know it is vital to uplift the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples who have lived as part of the forest since Time Immemorial.
In 2020, the third WECAN Indigenous Women's Tongass Delegation met virtually with Congressional offices in Washington D.C. to advocate for the protection of the Tongass National Forest and our global climate.
For more background and updates on our WECAN Women for Forests Tongass campaign, please see our website here!
Line 3 Campaign
Take Action for Indigenous Rights
and the Global Climate
As part of the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition (STMP), WECAN is joining our allies and frontline leaders to launch the Defund Line 3 campaign. Line 3 is currently being constructed in Minnesota on Indigenous lands without consent from local tribes, public officials, and without necessary permitting. If built, the tar sands pipeline will release 193 million tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere every single year. That’s as much as the twelve largest power plants in the United States combined.

Indigenous leaders and groups are on the frontlines risking their lives for the protection of their communities and homelands. In the last two months, more than 100 people have been arrested in Anishinaabe territory in Northern Minnesota. Brave Water Protectors have been putting their bodies on the line to stop the construction. As Tara Houska, the founder of the Indigenous-led resistance camp, Giniw Collective, put it in a recent interview, Water Protectors have been taking action because they are “protecting the sacred with their bodies and their freedom.”
Art by Jackie Fawn
As part of the STMP Defund Line 3 campaign, we are calling on financial institutions to divest from Line 3. On March 31st, 18 major banks ― including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, TD Bank and CitiBank ― have a $2.2 billion loan to Enbridge, the corporation behind Line 3, that is due for renewal. In other words, banks have a decision to make: Either they walk away from Enbridge, or they renew that loan and choose to fund the colonial, White Supremacist, carbon bomb that is Line 3.

Take action today at the buttons below and stand with frontline water and land protectors!
COVID-19 Support for Indigenous Communities
WECAN is honored to collaborate with our partners on two emergency response funds to support Indigenous communities in North and South America who are in urgent need due to COVID-19.

As 2021 continues, the crisis of COVID-19 continues to worsen for many Indigenous communities throughout South and North America, threatening the lives of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities, who are also experiencing the brunt of COVID-19, deforestation, extraction, and the climate crisis.

Indigenous communities are vital defenders of the living Earth, and they are standing up to protect human rights, Indigenous sovereignty, healthy communities, cultural knowledge, biodiverse ecosystems, water, forests, and our climate. This is a critical time to stand with courageous Indigenous leaders and support their calls to action.
Protect the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund
WECAN joined our colleagues at Indigenous Environmental Network, Movement Rights, T.E.J.A.S. and others for the Protect the Peoples Emergency (PPE) Partnership Fund. The partnership has created a distribution chain to supply COVID-19 Emergency Personal Protection Equipment, masks and supplies to Native Nations’ medics and communities most in need.

This all-volunteer partnership has so far distributed 100,000 masks and other PPE to over 40 communities here on Turtle Island and to our relatives further South including the Yaqui and Tohono O’Odham communities of Mexico, and the Huni Kui of Brazil. There are larger relief efforts out there and all help is needed. We believe our Partnership fills a critical gap for grassroots Indigenous communities that still can’t get the supplies they need to protect their people.
Amazon Emergency
In 2020, 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 $1.2 million 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!

If you'd like to learn more about public health and Indigenous led initiatives responding to COVID-19, please listen to this podcast by the American Anthropological Association.
Feminist Green New Deal
WECAN is honored to collaborate with brilliant feminist leaders and organizations from around the world, as part of the Feminist Green New Deal coalition. In 2019, WECAN 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. We continue to amplify and build out tools necessary to enact the FemGND at the international and national scale, and secure rights-based policies and programs. As part of the FemGND we also support events to deepen our knowledge on feminist climate solutions and economies, and we would like to invite you to join us for a dynamic upcoming event.
The United Frontline Table, Grassroots Global Justice, and the Feminist Green New Deal Coalition, invite you to join the upcoming teach-in event, "Feminist Economy for People and the Planet", on February 23 at 3:00pm PST // 6:00pm EST, USA Time.

RSVP today:

During this vibrant panel, visionary grassroots leaders will discuss the principles of a feminist economy, the transformative implications for the care economy, and how to apply feminist economic principles to collective organizing for care and climate. We hope you can join us for this exciting event!
Please stay tuned as we continue to uplift the leadership and solutions of women worldwide fighting for climate justice and the defense of the planet for current and future generations.
For the Earth and All Generations,

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